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Synthetic Biology in Cambridge


Funding, job and studentship opportunities in synthetic biology both within Cambridge and externally.

Opportunities by Category

Funding Opportunities: internal and external grant funding opportunities and other sources of funding.

Job Opportunities: a list of current and past postdoc, lecturer and senior academic roles as well as roles in Cambridge-based companies and other members of the SynBio SRI network.

Internships: placements outside of academia in industry, policy organisations and other environments. 

Postgraduate studentships: PhD studentships, Masters courses and other postgraduate placement opportunities.

Undergraduate placement opportunities: if you are looking for a summer placement or Part II or Part III project, we can signpost to relevant synthetic biology labs based on your interests. Please email .

Opportunities with the SynBio SRI

If you are interested in biological engineering and particularly novel forms of IP, open source technologies, regulation of emerging biotechnologies, responsible research and innovation, public engagement and related topics then we have internal opportunities:

  1. Knowledge Transfer Internships: We are investigating open source approaches to biology, from promoting off-patent technologies to developing new legal tools for material transfers to reviewing potential business models. Internships could be practical e.g. building software solutions or research-driven via literature reviews, surveys and interviews.
  2. Policy Internships: Current policy foci include topics such as gene drive, de-extinction and conservation,sustainable agriculture and the circular economy. Internships in this area would typically involve developing briefing papers and planning policy fora with key individuals and organisations.
  3. Public Engagement Internships: We are developing low-cost protocols and open educational materials for use in schools and with adult groups. Interns would lead the development, documentation and design of public engagement activities. 

We do not currently have funding for internships, but if you don't have your own source of funding (e.g. PIPS), we are happy to help seek and apply for funding with you.

All Opportunities

PhD position available working in the lab of Prof. Nigel Minton at the University of Nottingham, in collaboration with FOLIUM SCIENCE. Engineering bacterial endospores for drug delivery.

PhD position available working in the lab of Klaus Winzer at the University of Nottingham, in collaboration with Deep Branch. Developing sustainable protein feed alternatives.

PhD position available working in the lab of Matt Loose at the University of Nottingham, in collaboration with Oxford Nanopore Technologies. Developing DNA sequencing technologies.

Protein Scientist position available at biotech startup Nuclera, Cambridge. Developing biopolymer synthesis technologies. Would suit newly qualified PhD graduate.

Research Associate position available exploring scientific practices, ethics, commercialisation, automation, sustainability, regulation and policy in synthetic biology. Under the supervision of Prof. Philip Shapira at the University of Manchester.

Research technician position available at biotech startup Deep Branch, Nottingham. Working in carbon recycling and sustainable animal feed production. Suitable for BSc/MSc.

Position available as a Metabolic Engineer at British American Tobacco, Southampton. Covers areas of synthetic biology, plant biology, metabolic engineering and computational biology.

$10,000-10 million funding for projects that harness the power of data science to help people and communities thrive.

£500,000 fellowship for early-career researchers in engineering. Projects should positively impact or contribute to the sustainable economic or social development or welfare of a country or countries on the development assistance committee list.

£2-16 millon funding for ambitious projects that will advance the fonteers of bioscience by using innovative approaches, methods or technologies.

Post-doctoral researcher position available at Microsoft Research. Developing new and augment existing machine learning methods for applications in the life sciences (e.g., in medical image analysis or drug design and manufacturing).

Post-doctoral senior research associate position available in the lab of Prof Natalio Krasnogor, Newcastle University. Working on engineered information processing in cells.

Opportunity for a highly experienced and established scientific leader to lead molecular biology and genetic engineering at biotech startup Bit Bio.

Opportunity for a PDRA or graduating PhD student looking to apply their Molecular Biology expertise to join the “tech meets bio” revolution.

Post-doctoral research associate position in the lab of Prof Erwin Reisner at the University of Cambridge. Developing strategies for the integration of electroactive microbes in bespoke photoelectrodes (ERC) and the coupling of bacteria to synthetic light absorbers.

Post-doctoral research associate position in the lab of Prof Tom Ellis at Imperial College London. Working on creating novel grown composite materials through a combination of microbial synthetic biology methods and protein polymer design approaches.

£100,000 prize available for early career researchers with international impact. Eligible research areas for 2020 include biological sciences and mathematics and statistics. This is a restricted call and no more than three nominations will be put forward by the University.

Up to £300,000 to support researchers wishing to undertake independent research and gain leadership skills.

Up to £1M to support for researchers wishing to establish their first independent research group.

Round 2, Phase 1. Up to £60,000 available for projects that have the potential to transform lives in developing countries. Phase 1 provides funding for discovery: enabling businesses to gain insights into local market feasibility for the innovation prior to prototyping.

£25,000-£2M for game-changing and commercially viable innovative or disruptive ideas. All proposals must be business focused. 6-36 month projects which can be be applied to any part of the economy, including science and engineering.

80% of full economic costs provided for projects lasting up to 18 months. No specific budget, but projects must demonstrate impact within the project lifetime. Apply any time.

This weekend will be an opportunity create, test and validate your Innovation in Food Security venture idea or application with industry experts. You can get inspiration from your peers and mentors, learn the basics of building a business and how to collaborate with others in a team environment.

4-year funded PhD programme in Bioprocess Engineering Leadership: Complex Biological Products Manufacture based at UCL.

4-year funded PhD studentships in agri-food based across the University of Reading, Cranfield University, the University of Surrey, Queen’s University Belfast, Aberystwyth University, and Brunel University London.

The main responsibilities are:
Analysing a range of data using a range of bioinformatics techniques and approaches. Development of novel software solutions for the Beacon Research Community. Writing manuscripts and involvement in the development of research output. Training and knowledge exchange.

Postgraduate internship with a precision microbiome editing company harnessing SynBio. The role will be Cambridge based with the possibility of visiting our offices in London. No salary, but CC Bio are keen for the candidate to become a valued member of the team.

Our Biological Computation group in Cambridge is developing theory, methods and software for understanding and programming information processing in biological systems. Our research currently focuses on three main areas: Molecular Programming, Synthetic Biology and Stem Cell Biology. We need someone who can develop and apply computational methods to help us transform our experimental data into a mechanistic understanding of biological processes, helping create the foundations of a platform for programming biological systems.

Isomerase is an innovative, growing biotechnology company based at Chesterford Research Park near Cambridge, UK. It was founded in 2012 and has particular expertise in synthetic biology, bioengineering and the discovery and development of the next generation of microbial natural products and peptides.

Isomerase is an innovative, growing biotechnology company based at Chesterford Research Park near Cambridge, UK. It was founded in 2012 and has particular expertise in synthetic biology, bioengineering and the discovery and development of the next generation of microbial natural products and peptide


The Synthetic Biology Interdisciplinary Research Centre provides a hub for anyone interested in Synthetic Biology at the University of Cambridge, as well as commercial partners and external collaborators.

We promote interdisciplinary exchange in the field of synthetic biology through a regular event series and by funding projects at the intersection of biology, engineering, computing and design. Find out more about SynBio IRC events and opportunities below.


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