First listed on: 02 August 2022

CSIRO Postdoctoral Fellowship in Molecular Recycling of Waste Plastics


Acknowledgement of Country

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The Opportunity

  • Do you have a PhD in organic chemistry, polymer chemistry or chemical engineering?
  • Interested in helping develop low energy, scalable processes for molecular recycling of waste plastics?
  • Join CSIRO's Advanced Materials & Processing Manufacturing Program for this exciting postdoctoral role

CSIRO Early Research Career (CERC) Postdoctoral Fellowships provide opportunities to scientists and engineers who have completed their doctorate and have less than three years of relevant postdoctoral work experience. These fellowships aim to develop the next generation of future leaders of the innovation system.

CSIRO Manufacturing’s Advanced Materials & Processing Manufacturing Program is seeking to appoint a CERC Fellow to develop a continuous-catalytic process for depolymerising polymers.

Plastics have been revolutionary in numerous sectors, and many of the positive attributes of modern life can be attributed to their use. However, plastics are often treated as disposable commodities, which has led to an ever-increasing accumulation of plastic and plastic by-products in the environment, and an unacceptable growth of microplastic and nanoplastic pollution. This environmental crisis is being addressed, by developing recycling methods to deal with the legacy of plastic waste. However, effective solutions, are still to be forthcoming. In this context, we must develop methods in which given plastics might be recycled with minimal material loss, the lowest energy cost, and the least potential for polluting the environment - turning waste material into a valuable resource.

In this project we aim to develop low energy, scalable processes for molecular recycling of waste plastics based on catalytic depolymerization. The processes to be investigated are catalytic hydrogenolysis, electrocatalytic depolymerization and oxidative scissioning. There will be scope for the CERC Fellow to develop new processes that align with the direction of the project.

The CERC Fellow will be guided by a multidisciplinary team including supervisors and co-supervisors and have the opportunity to network with other researchers in CSIRO and members of the BOTTLE Consortium.

Your duties will include:

  • Examining processes for recycling of waste plastics by continuous, low energy, (electro)catalytic depolymerization.
  • Collaborating on the development of catalysts, and fluid dynamics modelling and evolutionary design of catalytic static mixers in continuous flow hydrogenolysis/hydrolysis reactors.
  • Refinement of computer design workflow and improving experimental validation of 3D printed static mixer designs.
  • Exploring depolymerization via oxidative, hydrogenolytic or mechanochemically induced scissioning by reactive extrusion or catalytic static mixer technology.
  • Carrying out innovative, impactful research of strategic importance to CSIRO that will, where possible, lead to novel and important scientific outcomes.

Location: Clayton, Victoria
Salary: AU$89k - AU$98k plus up to 15.4% superannuation
Tenure: Specified term of 3 years
Reference: 87106

To be considered you will need:

  • A doctorate (or will shortly satisfy the requirements of a PhD) in a relevant discipline area, such as organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, or chemical engineering. Please note: To be eligible for this role you must have no more than 3 years (or part-time equivalent) of postdoctoral research experience.
  • Experience and knowledge in polymer chemistry (polymer synthesis, polymer modification, polymer depolymerization, polymer characterization).
  • Skills and experience with characterization techniques used in organic and polymer chemistry. Such techniques may include but are not limited to, NMR, IR, mass spectrometry, Raman, UV, light scattering (ELS, DLS), SEC, HPLC, GC, microscopy, rheological and electrochemical characterization.
  • High level written and oral communication skills with the ability to represent the research team effectively internally and externally, including the presentation of research outcomes at national and international conferences.
  • A sound history of publication in peer reviewed journals and/or authorship of scientific papers, reports, grant applications or patents.

For full details about this role please view the Position Description


Applications for this position are open to Australian/New Zealand Citizens, Australian Permanent Residents or Australian temporary residents currently residing in Australia and be able to commence in the role by 31 January 2023.

Appointment to this role is subject to provision of a national police check and may be subject to other security/medical/character requirements.

Flexible Working Arrangements

We work flexibly at CSIRO, offering a range of options for how, when and where you work. 

Diversity and Inclusion

We are working hard to recruit people representing the diversity across our society, and ensure that all our people feel supported to do their best work and feel empowered to let their ideas flourish. 


At CSIRO Australia's national science agency, we solve the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology. We put the safety and wellbeing of our people above all else and earn trust everywhere because we only deal in facts. We collaborate widely and generously and deliver solutions with real impact. 

Join us and start creating tomorrow today!

How to Apply

Please apply on-line and provide a cover letter and CV that best demonstrate your motivation and ability to meet the requirements of this role.

Applications Close

31 August 2022, 11:00pm AEST


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