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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

[Accepting applications until filled] OpenCell seeks

OpenCell has established biotech labs in 70 shipping containers in Shepherd’s Bush London. This is a non-conventional way of providing ultra low-cost biotech labs for startups. OpenCell is managing and building more labs and need someone to join the team who wants to rethink how the lab is designed. This is a unique way to interact with early stage business and applied biotechnology. Consisting of a small team from diverse backgrounds, the OpenCell community is always looking for unusual solutions to difficult problems.

[Accepting applications until filled] OpenCell seeks - Read More…

[Apply by 22 April 2019] EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in BioDesign Engineering recruiting 5 PhD students

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in BioDesign Engineering aims to train the next generation of leaders at the interface of biology, engineering and data science. The CDT will have an integrative training programme that covers experimentation, automation, coding, data science and entrepreneurship applied to the design, realisation and optimisation of novel biological systems for diverse applications. The CDT is being led by Imperial College with the University of Manchester and University College London as partners. All students will undertake the MRes in Systems and Synthetic Biology at Imperial College in their first year, with an extended project at the lead-supervisor institution, followed by a 3 year PhD registration in that host institution. Our aim is to build an inclusive cohort of students with diverse skillsets from life sciences, engineering and physical/computational backgrounds. We therefore encourage applications from students that reflect this diversity.

[Apply by 22 April 2019] EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in BioDesign Engineering recruiting 5 PhD students - Read More…

[Open until filled] Postdoc Synthetic Biology/Biochemistry at University of Minnesota

The Schmidt-Dannert Laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry and the BioTechnology Institute University of Minnesota (USA) has open postdoc positions for synthetic biologists/biochemist with a background in molecular biology, genetic/protein engineering or biochemistry. Postdoctoral positions may start immediately and will be for up to three years, following the successful completion of a one-year probationary period.

[Open until filled] Postdoc Synthetic Biology/Biochemistry at University of Minnesota - Read More…

BBSRC Follow-on Fund Synthetic Biology Highlight [10 July - 9 Oct 2019]

BBSRC Follow-on Funding (FoF) supports the translation of research into practical application, including commercialisation. The aim of the programme is to help researchers maximise the societal and economic benefits of their research. The FoF is a proof-of-concept programme to support bioscience innovation and provide funding where further work on an idea will take it through to a stage at which the route to application is clear, which may include a spin-out, licensing opportunity or the creation of a social enterprise. The programme enables researchers to conduct activities essential to preparing a robust business plan and to secure, where appropriate, further funding and support to progress the project. The FoF aims to bridge the funding gap between BBSRC-funded research and the point at which other non-BBSRC funding becomes available. By supporting early-stage projects, it also seeks to reduce the risk for future investors. The FoF should not duplicate other sources of public and private funding.

BBSRC Follow-on Fund Synthetic Biology Highlight [10 July - 9 Oct 2019] - Read More…

[Apply by 30 April 2019] Development Engineer at Synoptics, Cambridge

Synoptics is a Cambridge-based company producing hardware and software for the life sciences sectors. We are looking for a bright and enthusiastic software developer to work on both new and existing software packages, working with various cameras and bespoke hardware. Our products are mainly written in C# (.Net 2.0 to .Net 3.5) utilising our range of .Net components (written in C++).

[Apply by 30 April 2019] Development Engineer at Synoptics, Cambridge - Read More…

Two-year Wellcome Trust Junior Interdisciplinary Fellowship opportunity at the University of Cambridge (Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology)

We are seeking a posdoctoral chemist, chemical engineer or materials scientist who wishes to gain experience in the application of their research to solve problems in the basic biological and biomedical sciences. They will develop open technologies to increase access to biological research tools for scientists in low-resource contexts. The ideal candidate will have prior experience with hydrogels and nanocomposite materials.

Two-year Wellcome Trust Junior Interdisciplinary Fellowship opportunity at the University of Cambridge (Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology) - Read More…

[Open until position filled, priority to applications submitted before 4 April 2019] Programme Leader Track in the Division of Protein & Nucleic Acid Chemistry, MRC, Cambridge

The PNAC Division of the MRC LMB invites applications for a tenure-track Group Leader position. We seek an outstanding colleague whose work will complement current research themes in the Division, which include molecular mechanisms of infection and immunity, signalling, DNA repair and replication, synthetic biology, and chemical biology.

[Open until position filled, priority to applications submitted before 4 April 2019] Programme Leader Track in the Division of Protein & Nucleic Acid Chemistry, MRC, Cambridge - Read More…

[Apply by 7 May 2019] Up to £8.5 million available to support interdisciplinary proposals seeking to work across the food system to reduce the global double burden of malnutrition

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Collective Programme, is pleased to announce investment of up to £8.5 million to support interdisciplinary proposals that seek to work across the food system to reduce the global double burden of malnutrition. This programme aims to consolidate existing evidence and synthesise new evidence for sustainable, multidisciplinary approaches that address the challenge of chronic global malnutrition. This will encompass both under-nutrition (too few calories) and over-nutrition (too many calories), both of which are associated with inadequate micronutrient intakes, otherwise known as the ‘Double Burden of Malnutrition’.

[Apply by 7 May 2019] Up to £8.5 million available to support interdisciplinary proposals seeking to work across the food system to reduce the global double burden of malnutrition - Read More…

[Apply by 30 March 2019] Hardware Engineer for Cytera CellWorks, London

Designing systems that grow human cells means creating elegant multidisciplinary solutions that interweave mechanical, electronic, and fluidic systems. We are looking for an exceptional individual who has demonstrated an ability to design from scratch hardware solutions combining mechanical and electronic systems, while keeping in mind short-term and long-term manufacturing strategies. Someone who'd be willing to continuously learn the new knowledge needed to design hardware for non-typical use cases.

[Apply by 30 March 2019] Hardware Engineer for Cytera CellWorks, London - Read More…

[Apply by 30 March 2019] Bioengineer for Cytera CellWorks, London

We are looking for an exceptional individual who has demonstrated an ability to bring together deep biological expertise with novel engineering solutions. Someone who'd learn the new skills needed to break down a tough problem into a solvable one.

[Apply by 30 March 2019] Bioengineer for Cytera CellWorks, London - Read More…

[Apply by 29 March 2019] Turing AI Fellowships

The Alan Turing Institute is launching this first call for Turing Senior AI Fellowships and Turing AI Fellowships in partnership with the Office for AI and UKRI. Fellowships will cover a broad view of AI, including applications of foundational disciplines across mathematical sciences, statistical sciences, computational sciences and engineering. Consideration may also be given to AI work that interfaces with the life sciences, social sciences or humanities. Fellows will be expected to collaborate as appropriate across disciplines, and will have the opportunity to collaborate with academia, industry, government and the third sector.

[Apply by 29 March 2019] Turing AI Fellowships - Read More…

[Apply by 3 April 2019] Research Associate/Fellow- Synthetic Biologist/Metabolic Engineer at University of Nottingham

The Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SBRC) at the University of Nottingham is seeking creative and motivated metabolic engineering scientists and/or synthetic biologists to work on developing gas-fermenting microbial chassis for sustainable bioproduction of chemicals and fuels.

[Apply by 3 April 2019] Research Associate/Fellow- Synthetic Biologist/Metabolic Engineer at University of Nottingham - Read More…

ECM High Tech Recruitment Experts seeking Molecular Biochemist/Synthetic Biologist

Are you completing your PhD or post-doc, and looking to make your first steps into industry? We’re looking for an Applied Scientist to work on multidisciplinary projects, providing expertise (both theoretical knowledge and practical lab skills) in molecular biochemistry, conjugate-fluorescence chemistry and enzymology.

ECM High Tech Recruitment Experts seeking Molecular Biochemist/Synthetic Biologist - Read More…

[Apply by 1 April 2019] Research Associate in Mammalian Synthetic Biology at The University of Edinburgh

A fixed term postdoctoral appointment is available within the School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh to work on the automatic (re)design of synthetic promoters, primarily for mammalian cells, focusing on the control Chimeric Antigen Receptors expression. As part of this project, the successful candidate will develop a microfluidics-based platform to perform high-throughput cell screening and will liaise with the Edinburgh Genome Foundry to build, and automatically model, large libraries of synthetic inducible promoters.

[Apply by 1 April 2019] Research Associate in Mammalian Synthetic Biology at The University of Edinburgh - Read More…

[Apply by 3 April 2019] Postdoctoral Research Associate in Synthetic Biology at University of Oxford

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate to work under the supervision of Dr Michael Booth on a research project funded by OxSyBio for a period of 12 months in the first instance. The project involves the development of light-activated synthetic cells for drug delivery into mammalian cells.

[Apply by 3 April 2019] Postdoctoral Research Associate in Synthetic Biology at University of Oxford - Read More…

Deep Learning Researcher at Microsoft Research, Cambridge

Microsoft Research Cambridge (UK) is looking for exceptional Researcher candidates in deep learning. Microsoft AI and Research works with the world's best researchers, moving with the current of technology as it rapidly evolves. Together we share the motivation to seek innovative solutions to the world's toughest challenges and improve the lives of people everywhere. The successful applicant would be expected to develop a program of research in deep learning methods, enabling new applications in processing of images, text or other structured data. This is an exceptional opportunity to drive ambitious research while collaborating with product teams in one of the largest software companies in the world.

Deep Learning Researcher at Microsoft Research, Cambridge - Read More…

Computational Biology Internship at Microsoft Research

Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK is leading the way in applying techniques from diverse fields such as biology, machine learning, human-computer interaction, systems, security and programming languages to explore new domains of research in areas such as healthcare, cloud computing, and programming biological systems. We are looking for an intern to join us in the last of these. 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. There is no closing deadline for this post. The post will be filled once suitable candidates are found so if you are interested please apply as soon as possible.

Computational Biology Internship at Microsoft Research - Read More…

[Apply by 5 July 2019] Masters 2 in Systems & Synthetic Biology at University of Evry-val-d’Essonne, France

The vigorous development of Systems and Synthetic Biology constitutes a huge challenge that must be met both from the research and education perspectives. mSSB represents the first step towards nurturing a new brand of researchers and engineers to face up to the challenge. The aim of mSSB is to provide students from the Life Sciences, Mathematics, Engineering, Chemistry, Physical and Computer Sciences a mean to fruitfully engage in collaborative work across disciplinary boundaries, with applications in Systems & Synthetic Biology. Students undertaking the course will gain hands-on experience in experimental Biology, modelling and designing. They will also enhance transversal capacities including planning a project, giving a seminar, perceiving the industrial, economical and ethical issues associated with these developing fields.

[Apply by 5 July 2019] Masters 2 in Systems & Synthetic Biology at University of Evry-val-d’Essonne, France - Read More…

[Apply by 19 April 2019] 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.

[Apply by 19 April 2019] 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 2019] 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 2019] 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…

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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.