CSIRO Winanga-y Postdoctoral Fellowship in Plant Phenomics/Computer Vision

Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

Canberra, Australia

Job posting number: #7085066 (Ref:cj_74625)

Posted: September 10, 2021

Application Deadline: Open Until Filled

Job Description

The Opportunity


  • Do you have a PhD in Plant Phenotyping, Computer Vision or Machine Learning?
  • Work on research to help redesign crop breeding systems
  • An exciting opportunity to lead multidisciplinary research integrating expertise


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.


We are thrilled to be able to deliver on the commitment we made in our strategy to invest in frontier science with the new CSIRO Agriculture & Food Winanga-y Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme. The word Winanga-y (pronounced win-na-gnay) is a cultural asset gifted by the Gomeroi Nation in Myall Vale to CSIRO's Agriculture and Food Business Unit to name the new Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme. Winanga-y means to understand, know, remember, and think.


The Postdoctoral Fellow will lead multidisciplinary research integrating expertise in plant phenotyping, engineering, image collection, computer vision, machine learning and recent advances in deep learning to help redesign crop breeding systems. The project will lead to the development of a high throughput digital phenotyping solution applied to selection of disease resistance in Australia’s cotton breeding program, reducing the dependency on manual approaches that currently require $2m of investment each year. This will facilitate development of improved rapid selection methods for host plant resistance to disease, in turn leading to improvements in the disease resilience of cotton varieties. Importantly, host plant resistance reduces the reliance on synthetic pesticides and agrichemicals, reducing the agricultural sector’s environmental footprint and increasing the profitability for producers. The ability to collect disease phenotyping data at a scale at a cost that meets the requirements of commercial breeding programs will enable this solution to be subsequently applied to canola pre-breeding programs.

The Postdoctoral Fellow will be located in Canberra (ACT), with the Plant Phenomics, Computer Vision and Plant Physiology experts. The project will be lead from Narrabri (NSW), where the Cotton breeding program resides and where field experiments will take place. The Postdoctoral Fellow will be required to travel regularly to Narrabri for multi-day field trips to collect data from field experiments.


Your duties will include:

  • Identifying and developing methods to acquire images using a range of sensors and platforms from cotton field trials suitable for scoring target traits.
  • Participating in the development of an image-based platform for cotton disease detection.
  • Developing and implementing feature extraction methods to score target traits in cotton.
  • Testing and validating developed methods and techniques.
  • Adapting the new methodology to quantify similar traits in canola.


Location: Canberra, ACT

Salary: AU$88k - AU$96k plus up to 15.4% superannuation

Tenure: Specified term of 3 years

Reference: 74625

To be considered you will need:

  • A doctorate (or will shortly satisfy the requirements of a PhD) in a relevant discipline area, such as Plant Phenotyping, Computer Vision or Machine Learning. Please note: To be eligible for this role you must have no more than 3 years (or part-time equivalent) of postdoctoral research experience.
  • A current driver’s licence and willingness to travel to field sites, including (but not limited to) multi-day field trips to Narrabri.
  • The ability to work effectively as part of a multi-disciplinary, regionally dispersed research team, plus the motivation and discipline to carry out autonomous research.
  • Knowledge of machine learning or computer vision, and the ability to understand and develop algorithms in toolkits such as TensorFlow, PyTorch or MxNet.
  • Computational and programming skills (in Python or C++).


For full details about this role please view the Position Description


To be eligible to for role, you must be an Australian/New Zealand Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident or Australian temporary resident currently residing in Australia and be able to commence in the role by December 2021/January 2022.

The successful applicant will be required to obtain and provide a National Police Check or equivalent.


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

10 October 2021, 11:00pm AEDT

We’re working hard to build a safe and welcoming culture where people can bring their whole selves to work. Valuing and enabling difference empowers our people, unlocking their potential to innovate and shape the future for our customers, all Australians and the world. We do the extraordinary every day. We innovate for tomorrow and help improve today. We're the people that stay awake solving the world’s big questions. This is true of our science and of our people. Our mission is to create benefit for Australia through impactful science and innovation but we know that that's not possible without an inclusive and diverse culture. We're working hard to recruit diverse people and ensure all our people feel supported to do their best work and empowered to let their ideas flourish.

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