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Opportunities Overview

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

I2CELL Seed Award from the Fourmentin-Guilbert Foundation

The Fourmentin-Guilbert Foundation, a French non-profit organization, is launching a €250,000 seed award to support an experimental research project exploring the algorithmic processing of information in biological systems.

I2CELL Seed Award from the Fourmentin-Guilbert Foundation - Read More…

PhD Studentship in Computational Synthetic Biology - Fostering Bio-design Automation through Standards

Synthetic biology aims at engineering bio-computing devices in living organisms. Key to this endeavour is the computer-aided design of biological systems, which is not yet robust enough to design fully predictable genetic circuits. To this end, we need standards. Foremost among emerging computing standards is the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL), an open standard for the representation of in silico biological designs. This PhD project will focus on the research and development of novel design methods for synthetic biology based on SBOL. SBOL is being developed by an international community, for which the supervisors are Editor and Chair. This standard provides a data format that can capture information of complex systems in unprecedented level of detail, leading to the potential automation of synthetic biology workflows.

PhD Studentship in Computational Synthetic Biology - Fostering Bio-design Automation through Standards - Read More…

[Apply by 1 April 2019] Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Summer Course in Synthetic Biology

Applications are now open for the 2019 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Summer Course in Synthetic Biology. This course focuses on how the complexity of biological systems can be combined with traditional engineering approaches to result in new design principles for synthetic biology. The centerpiece of the course is an immersive laboratory experience in which students work in teams to learn the practical and theoretical underpinnings of synthetic biology research. Broadly, the course explores how cellular regulation (transcriptional, translational, post-translational, and epigenetic) can be used to engineer cells that accomplish well-defined goals.

[Apply by 1 April 2019] Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Summer Course in Synthetic Biology - Read More…

[Apply by 13 Feb 2019] Postdoctoral Research Scientist (Engineering Complex Traits in Plants)

The Earlham Institute (EI) is seeking a skilled Postdoctoral Research Scientist to join the laboratory of Dr Nicola Patron to work on a collaborative project to engineer plant responses to nitrogen availability.

[Apply by 13 Feb 2019] Postdoctoral Research Scientist (Engineering Complex Traits in Plants) - Read More…

[Apply by 1 March 2019] Synthetic Biology Future Science Fellowships in Australia

The CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Fellowships scheme is funded through the CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform (SynBio FSP). The scheme aims to attract outstanding national and international early- to mid-career post-doctoral researchers (equivalent to Academic Levels A and B, or in exceptional circumstances, Level C) to expand Australian research capacity in synthetic biology. A key element of the SynBio FSP is establishment of a collaborative community of practice extending across CSIRO and Australia, and linking into international efforts in the field.

[Apply by 1 March 2019] Synthetic Biology Future Science Fellowships in Australia - Read More…

[Apply by 31 Jan 2019] Postdoctoral Scientist (Genomics) Designing Future Wheat Programme at the Earlham Institute (Norwich)

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Scientist (Genomics) to join the Laboratory of Anthony Hall in the Designing Future Wheat Programme at the Earlham Institute, based in Norwich, UK. The Earlham Institute (EI) is looking for a highly motivated Bioinformatician or Computational Biologist to join an exciting project in conjunction with the Hall and Swarbreck groups to analyse the wheat pangenome and pantranscriptome. The candidate will work independently, with other group members and national and international collaborators to develop computational tools and pipelines to analyse these large datasets.

[Apply by 31 Jan 2019] Postdoctoral Scientist (Genomics) Designing Future Wheat Programme at the Earlham Institute (Norwich) - Read More…

[Apply by 6 Feb 2019] Postdoc position with Citizen Sense "AirKit" in Cambridge Dept. of Sociology

The Department of Sociology in the University of Cambridge is seeking to appoint a full-time Post-Doctoral Research Associate to join the European Research Council (ERC) Proof of Concept funded research project 'AirKit', directed by Professor Jennifer Gabrys. The project is based within the Citizen Sense research project (https://citizensense.net) in the Cambridge Sociology Department. The Research Associate will contribute to the consolidation, testing and further development of an air quality monitoring toolkit for use by diverse communities. The Research Associate will contribute to the planning, coordination and hosting of events, and will conduct collaborative research to contribute to project publications for academic, policy and public audiences.

[Apply by 6 Feb 2019] Postdoc position with Citizen Sense "AirKit" in Cambridge Dept. of Sociology - Read More…

[Apply by 15 Jan 2018] Post-doctoral researcher to develop local manufacturing facility for molecular biology enzymes in Kumasi, Ghana

A position is available for a highly motivated post-doctoral researcher to develop a local manufacturing facility for molecular biology enzymes in Kumasi, Ghana. The project aims to overcome barriers in accessing these important research tools and build capacity to underpin emerging bioeconomies. The successful applicant will join the Biolab Team at Kumasi Hive, collaborating closely with the Open Bioeconomy Lab at the University of Cambridge. The project will focus on implementing and optimising protocols for affordable manufacturing and purification of DNA polymerases and other enzymes. The position will start in Feb 2019.

[Apply by 15 Jan 2018] Post-doctoral researcher to develop local manufacturing facility for molecular biology enzymes in Kumasi, Ghana - Read More…

[Apply by 3 Feb 2019] Software Sustainability Institute Fellowship Programme

BECOME AN AMBASSADOR FOR GOOD SOFTWARE PRACTICE IN YOUR RESEARCH DOMAIN. Our Fellowship Programme funds researchers in exchange for their expertise and advice. Each Fellow is allocated £3,000 to spend over fifteen months. The funding is flexible to support activities that are beneficial to both the Fellows’ and the Institute’s aims: for instance, to fund travel to conferences, to setup and run workshops, to organise software sustainability sessions at domain conferences, or to host, organise or teach training events.

[Apply by 3 Feb 2019] Software Sustainability Institute Fellowship Programme - Read More…

[Apply by 26 Nov 2018] Fully-funded four-year bioscience PhD studentship: Rewiring Plant Gene Regulatory Networks

Plants have the ability to alter their growth and development in response to changes in their environment. They do this by altering the expression levels of large suites of genes. Previous work has shown that a small network of genes may be responsible for coordinating large-scale changes in gene expression in response to the detection of pathogens. To develop crops with the ability to deliver high yields in changing environments, we need to advance our understanding of how these networks function and how variations in sequences of the key genes that coordinate these networks affect plant responses. This project will investigate the role of candidate key controllers in a pathogen-response network, using a novel approach of designing synthetic genetic controllers to rewire the network. Our aims are to understand how the network is coordinated and to provide insights into how to breed or rationally engineer plants resilient to stress. The student will be based in the Patron Lab (Earlham Institute, Norwich) and will work in close collaboration with the Denby Lab (University of York) and the Morris Lab (John Innes Centre, Norwich). This exciting, collaborative and multidisciplinary project will employ a range of techniques including molecular plant biology, synthetic biology, genome engineering, systems biology and modelling. It would be suitable for a biologist with, or eager to acquire, computational skills. Training will be provided in all areas.

[Apply by 26 Nov 2018] Fully-funded four-year bioscience PhD studentship: Rewiring Plant Gene Regulatory Networks - Read More…

[Apply by 30 Nov 2018] Colorifix - Computational Synthetic Biologist

Colorifix is a startup bringing novel, sustainable and environmentally friendly processes to the textile dyeing industry to eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals, and also give large savings in water and energy use. Colorifix has been recognised by winning awards in both synthetic biology and fashion with our technology on public display in the Victoria and Albert museum’s Future of Fashion section of the Fashioned from Nature exhibition.

[Apply by 30 Nov 2018] Colorifix - Computational Synthetic Biologist - Read More…

[Apply by 30 Nov 2018] Colorifix - Synthetic and Microbial Biologist

Colorifix is a startup bringing novel, sustainable and environmentally friendly processes to the textile dyeing industry to eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals, while saving on water and energy. Colorifix has been recognised by winning awards in both synthetic biology and fashion with our technology on public display in the Victoria and Albert museum’s Future of Fashion section of the Fashioned from Nature exhibition.

[Apply by 30 Nov 2018] Colorifix - Synthetic and Microbial Biologist - Read More…

[Apply by 31 Oct] Research associate sought to develop open toolkit for molecular biology enzyme production

Are you a highly motivated post-doctoral researcher who wants to increase global access to research and teaching using molecular biology techniques? Join the Open Bioeconomy Lab at the University of Cambridge to create an open source toolkit for local manufacturing of enzymes for molecular biology research in low-resourced contexts, including low and middle income countries and community labs. The project aims to overcome barriers in accessing these important research tools and build capacity to underpin emerging bioeconomies. You'll join an exciting interdisciplinary community with scope to travel for knowledge exchange activities in Africa and Latin America.

[Apply by 31 Oct] Research associate sought to develop open toolkit for molecular biology enzyme production - Read More…

[Apply by 20 Sept 2018] University of Toronto PDF for Engineering Applications in Synthetic Biology

The Pardee (www.pardeelab.org) and Sinton Labs (www.sintonlab.com) at the University of Toronto are seeking a postdoctoral fellow with expertise in engineering devices for biological applications. The proposed project aims to develop a novel fluid-handling device to manipulate synthetic biology reactions, control temperature and perform optical monitoring. This position is unique as it emphasizes the confluence of engineering design principles with an understanding of biological systems in order to develop accurate, automated, and commercialization-ready units. This exciting position provides the opportunity to engage with both the design and development stages of the device, as well as with its practical implementation for scaling clinically relevant gene circuit-based reactions.

[Apply by 20 Sept 2018] University of Toronto PDF for Engineering Applications in Synthetic Biology - Read More…

[Apply by 20 Sept 2018] University of Toronto hiring postdoctoral fellow (synthetic biology and human health)

The Pardee Lab (www.pardeelab.org) at the University of Toronto is seeking a postdoctoral fellow with research experience with molecular biology, biochemistry and microbiology. Our lab specializes in cell-free synthetic biology, which uses freeze-dried biochemical reactions to operate genetically encoded tools outside of the lab in a biosafe format. Our efforts have led to the development of synthetic gene network-based diagnostics (e.g. Ebola and Zika viruses) and a portable platform for the on-site manufacture of protein-based drugs (e.g. vaccines, antibodies). We are now advancing these technologies in new directions and are looking for a postdoctoral fellow that shares our passion for innovation, practical applications and ultimately commercialization of new biotechnologies. The selected candidate will develop synthetic biology applications for human health as part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers.

[Apply by 20 Sept 2018] University of Toronto hiring postdoctoral fellow (synthetic biology and human health) - Read More…

Job openings for Anaerobic Microbiology team in Paris, France with Eligo Bioscience

Eligo Bioscience is a VC_backed biotech startup, cofounded by professors and scientists from MIT and Rockefeller. The company is developing next-gen therapeutics for precision microbiome engineering and bacteria-associated diseases. Our technology is based on the delivery of genetic circuits to the microbiome via engineers phase particles.

Job openings for Anaerobic Microbiology team in Paris, France with Eligo Bioscience - Read More…

[Apply by 8 Oct 2018] Research Assistant/Associate to investigate rapid coliform identification using low-cost optical microscopy

Applications are invited for a research assistant/associate working at the University of Cambridge together with a University spinout, to develop low-cost solutions to identifying contaminated water for refugee camps in the developing world. The post holder will work between the groups of Dr Mark Holmes and Professor Jeremy Baumberg at the Departments of Veterinary Medicine and Physics and with WaterScope (www.waterscope.org )

[Apply by 8 Oct 2018] Research Assistant/Associate to investigate rapid coliform identification using low-cost optical microscopy - Read More…

[Apply by 16 Oct 2018] International Flexible Interchange Programme (I-FLIP)

BBSRC invites applications for projects of up to 12 months in duration, which involve international people exchanges (Interchanges) between UK academic institutions and user organisations that operate within countries on the DAC list (see external links). Users of research can include private businesses, third sector organisations (for example, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), or public bodies including government departments, local government, and regulatory authorities). The International Flexible Interchange Programme (I-FLIP) aims to increase and accelerate the uptake and impact of previous BBSRC funded research through facilitating knowledge exchange activities that deliver direct tangible and demonstrable benefits to users. I-FLIP will provide funding to directly address challenges faced by developing countries by supporting the movement of people between the UK academic base and user organisations in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs).

[Apply by 16 Oct 2018] International Flexible Interchange Programme (I-FLIP) - Read More…

Cambridge Glycoscience seeking synthetic biologist for R&D programme

Applications are invited from talented and passionate scientists for a position leading Cambridge Glycoscience’s synthetic biology R&D programme. Cambridge Glycoscience is a food technology start-up. Our mission is to tackle the greatest public health crisis of modern times - excessive sugar consumption. We do this by creating functional, nutritional, and economic substitutes for sugar that function across the food industry, using cutting edge synthetic biology approaches. We operate across the value chain from lab bench and industrial production all the way to the kitchen and consumers. We have strong connections to the University of Cambridge’s Biochemistry Department.

Cambridge Glycoscience seeking synthetic biologist for R&D programme - Read More…

[Apply by 1 Oct 2018] Rice University seeks multiple faculty members working in synthetic biology

As part of the Vision for the Second Century (V2C2), which is focused on investments in research excellence, Rice University seeks multiple faculty members, preferable at the assistant professor level, starting as early as July 1, 2019, in the areas of Synthetic Biology. Successful candidates will lead dynamic, innovative, and independent research programs supported by external funding, and will excel in teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels, while embracing Rice’s culture of excellence and diversity.

[Apply by 1 Oct 2018] Rice University seeks multiple faculty members working in synthetic biology - Read More…

Innovate UK launches £400k competition to woo more female innovators [Apply by 3 Oct 2018]

Innovate UK has launched a £400k funding competition to help identify and encourage more female entrepreneurs and has urged Cambridge and East of England women to get involved. The vision is to get more women involved in shaping the future face of innovation to the broader benefit of the economy.

Innovate UK launches £400k competition to woo more female innovators [Apply by 3 Oct 2018] - Read More…

[Apply by 16 Sept 2018] Centre for the Study of Existential Risk: Postdoc Position in Bio-Risk

The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) invites applications for a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in bio-risk. CSER's approach to the study of extreme and existential risks emphasises interdisciplinarity and engagement with policy and technology communities.

[Apply by 16 Sept 2018] Centre for the Study of Existential Risk: Postdoc Position in Bio-Risk - Read More…

[Apply by 13 August 2018] Contractor for Microsoft Research Cambridge, UK

The biological computation group at Microsoft Research, Cambridge is building a platform for programming biology by developing the software, hardware, and biological tools required to improve the workflows for engineering biological systems. In our biological wet lab we are performing synthetic biology experiments in order to understand how genetic devices function in bacterial cells. We are looking for an experienced biological laboratory technician to perform biological experiments and support the work of a team of world-leading researchers and engineers.

[Apply by 13 August 2018] Contractor for Microsoft Research Cambridge, UK - Read More…

[Apply by 8 July 2018] Summer internships available! Biomakespace biology and engineering programmes

Biomakespace is a not-for-profit social enterprise establishing a community laboratory for lifelong learning, curiosity driven research, entrepreneurship and public engagement at the interface of biology and engineering. We are offering 10-week paid internships in our Biology and Engineering Programmes to help build the foundations for our work and get involved with technical projects, public engagement, training and business development in this innovative environment. The successful candidate will be highly motivated and proactive with excellent communication skills and have some experience in a biology lab or engineering workshop respectively. Interests in informal science education, maker spaces, open science, DIY science and public engagement are all desirable.

[Apply by 8 July 2018] Summer internships available! Biomakespace biology and engineering programmes - Read More…

[Apply by 10 July 2018] Post Doc Researcher - Platform Design and Development at Microsoft

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral research position based at Microsoft Research Cambridge, UK, to work on a platform for biological modelling and automated laboratory experimentation. The successful applicant will extend computational methods being developed in the Biological Computation group and collaborate with scientists in leading academic institutions. The goal of the project is to accelerate biological research by integrating automated liquid handling, data tracking and computational modelling, to increase biological understanding through iterative cycles of modelling and experimentation. This methodology will be applied to research on understanding the formation of bacterial biofilms.

[Apply by 10 July 2018] Post Doc Researcher - Platform Design and Development at Microsoft - Read More…

[Apply by 1 July 2018] Ensembl Plants Project Leader at EMBL-EBI

The EMBL-EBI is seeking a project leader to join the Non-vertebrate Genomics Team at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), located on the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus. The appointee will be responsible for the development of the Ensembl Plants resource.

[Apply by 1 July 2018] Ensembl Plants Project Leader at EMBL-EBI - Read More…

[Appy by 11 June 2018] Research Associate - CRISPR Genome Editing Development at CRUK CI, University of Cambridge

At CRUK Cambridge Institute, we perform world leading science which focuses on positively impacting cancer patients' lives. In the Pre-Clinical Genome Editing team, our mission is to make meaningful advances to understand and treat cancer. We use cutting edge technologies to create authentic models of disease for study, and to gain novel biological insight. As a Postdoctoral Research Associate, you will expand the capability of our specialised Genome Editing team, allowing us to develop novel technologies and to deliver a broad spectrum of User-driven projects. You will aggressively drive the innovation and application of Genome Editing technologies in translational research. A key focus will be to establish and translate emerging or novel technologies to an in vivo setting, prototyping and working up new methodologies in vitro, and building upon our functional genomics capabilities.

[Appy by 11 June 2018] Research Associate - CRISPR Genome Editing Development at CRUK CI, University of Cambridge - Read More…

[Apply by 29 June 2018] Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Awards

Entries are now open for the Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Awards, supporting and celebrating inspirational young people from all over the world who have initiatives, products or services that tackle the planet’s biggest sustainability challenges.

[Apply by 29 June 2018] Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Awards - Read More…

Venture Creation Weekend: BIOTECH AND HEALTHCARE 1-3 JUNE

Do you have an idea for a biotech or healthcare venture that you’d like to develop? Would you like to work on that idea with a group of like-minded peers? Are you interested in joining a startup team? The next Venture Creation Weekend (VCW) offers an exciting opportunity to translate your idea, application or innovation into a real venture with the support of mentors from AstraZeneca and industry experts from the Cambridge ecosystem.

Venture Creation Weekend: BIOTECH AND HEALTHCARE 1-3 JUNE - Read More…

[Apply by 28 May 2018] Call for applications! Second Latin American Summit of Young Leaders in Biotechnology

Allbiotech is looking for young Latin American biotechnologists between 18 and 35 years to submit their application to be part of the Second Latin American Summit of Young Leaders in Biotechnology. We are going to select the 100 most outstanding applications to attend the Summit, which will be held in Guanajuato, Mexico in November 2018.

[Apply by 28 May 2018] Call for applications! Second Latin American Summit of Young Leaders in Biotechnology - Read More…

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