Job title

Research scientist

Who do you work for? 

I work for CSIRO Molecular and Health Technologies. In our Division of CSIRO, chemists, biologists and material scientists work in partnership to address key challenges in health and in a range of industries requiring smart materials.

What does your job involve?

I am researching potential uses of Australian fungi for converting biomass, such as wood, sugar cane waste and other plant materials, into sugars that can then be processed into biofuels such as ethanol, for transport. This involves gathering and testing different kinds of fungi to find out which ones have the greatest potential to convert biomass into biofuels. This is just part of the enormous amount of research being conducted across the world on finding the best ways to convert biomass to biofuels.

Why did you choose a career in the renewable energy field?

I was interested in promoting sustainability and care for the environment since my early school years, so my research helps me achieve these goals. But at first I wanted to be a journalist and then a psychiatrist. I wasn’t really interested in science subjects at school. It was studying Biology in Year 11 that started my passionate interest in the living world. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Apart from having a job that enables me to have a role in caring for the environment, I really enjoy the intellectual challenge the job gives me in trying to solve some of the problems facing our society today. I also like the interaction I have with a huge range of people in industry and in academic institutions such as universities and CSIRO. 

What are some of the benefits of your position?

The salary range for Post Doctoral Fellows is $60 000 - $75 000 per year.

What training did you have for this job?

After Year 12 I took a year off, worked full-time and completed Year 12 Chemistry by correspondence. I then completed a Science Degree at the University of Queensland, majoring in biochemistry and microbiology. I then went on to complete my doctorate.  

What is your advice to students? 

If you have a passion, pursue it. Choose the subjects you like, but be prepared to change direction if your interests take you that way. Science is an exciting community to be part of, as we get to understand the world around u in a very detailed way.