General Considerations

CSIRO Support for University-Hosted Fellows

University-hosted Fellows will hold a Visiting Scientist appointment with CSIRO. It is envisioned that different projects will have different levels of engagement with CSIRO depending on the nature of the collaboration. The linkage with CSIRO is intended to ensure that the Fellow is actively engaged with the developing community of practice in synthetic biology within CSIRO and across Australia, and to provide further support for the Fellow during the execution of their project. To this end, a minimum standard will be required to demonstrate collaborations are genuine. Support from CSIRO will be provided through the partnering CSIRO Mentor. The Future Science Platform will also provide professional training and career development support for the Fellow.

A CSIRO Mentor is required; however, it is recognised that suitable expertise may not be available within CSIRO to support the proposed project. Applicants without field-specific nominated CSIRO Mentors will engage directly with the SynBio FSP Director or a member of the SynBio FSP Executive (all of who are senior scientists) with the closest relevant expertise. This contact person will provide a linkage with CSIRO to assist in access to CSIRO facilities and project support (where appropriate), career development of the Fellow, and engagement with the Australian synthetic biology community of practice.

Partner/Co-Sponsor Organisation Support

Projects may include a partner or co-sponsor that provides additional expertise and/or funding for the Fellowship project. A letter of support is required outlining the nature of the support. Partner/Co-Sponsor support is not compulsory, but will be viewed favourably where it aligns with and contributes to the project. It is a requirement however that there are no Intellectual Property encumbrances on the IP arising from the project from the Partner/Co-Sponsor.

Project Costing and Expenditure of Funds

Funding can be used to support the Fellow’s salary and on-costs only for salary. Institutional overheads will not be supported. In addition, reasonable operating costs can be requested (a full justification of operating costs will be required at full proposal stage). Funding can be used for travel (including travel to present at conferences, relocation allowances for interstate and international applications and visa costs for internationals), experimental costs (maintenance etc.), equipment, and other expenses directly related to the Future Fellow’s research. Conference travel will only be supported where the Fellow is delivering a presentation (oral/poster).

Projects that have a large operating budget will be scrutinised carefully, particularly at the full proposal stage where details of planned expenses will be required. Only eligible expenditure incurred on or after the start date and prior to the end date of the Fellowship can be claimed. All funds must be expended on the Fellowship project; non-Fellowship expenses will not be supported. Administrative support staff costs will not be supported. It is expected that reasonable effort will be made to ensure value for money; unusually expensive projects will be scrutinised carefully and may not be supported at full costing if the financial or technical justification is not considered sufficient. It is unlikely that the SynBio FSP will support extremely expensive Fellowship projects even where justification is appropriate unless the project value to Australian SynBio is extraordinary.

Budgets should be prepared using the provided Budget Pro Forma and inserted into the Application Form in the Budget section. The CSIRO cash commitment must be met 1:1; funds may be provided by the Host Organisation and/or other partners/funding sources, as long as access to/provision of those funds aligns with the Fellowship Cooperation Agreement.

Allocations for conference travel, publication fees, and relocation expenses have been standardised for ease of administration as follows:

Conference travel

In addition to the Fellowship-supported conference allocation (see below), it is expected that Fellows will apply to other funding agencies to support any other desired conference travel, and that Fellowship holders would be highly competitive for such grants. The SynBioFSP will make leverage funds available to support such applications and help make them more competitive. To be eligible to apply for this additional conference funding, applicants will need to demonstrate that they have a significant result to present at any conference they would like to attend.

SynBioFSP Workshop/Domestic Conference Travel:
Applications should include a budget line of up to $1500 per annum (depending on justified costs) for attendance at the annual SynBioFSP workshop, a 2-3 day workshop held in September – November each year. Fellows who have not yet taken up their Fellowship by this time in 2019 may still attend if they can; if it will not be possible to attend, please remove the budget line for 2019.

The 2019 SynBioFSP workshop will be held in Brisbane in 2019 in conjunction with the Synthetic Biology Australasia (SBA) conference (back-to-back). Attendance at the SBA conference is encouraged and can be included in this budget item (describing costings in budget justification).

International conference travel:
Fellows may include a budget line for attendance at one international conference. This will typically be in the second or third year of the program. If you have already identified a need for international travel in your application, please align international conference travel with this travel where possible to decrease expenses (budget line of $5500 for conference-only travel; rolled into other international travel where possible).

Publication Fees

You may include a budget line of up to $2000 per annum to support publication fees (if appropriate for your publishing discipline), but this should be justified in the Budget Justification section with respect to the timing of expected project publication outcomes. An additional fund will be made available through the SynBioFSP to support publication fees for any additional publications arising from the Fellowship project.

Relocation Support

A budget line to support international or national relocation expenses (if appropriate) may be included in the budget. These requests must be consistent with the Host University policy and must be detailed in the justification section.

Membership of Synthetic Biology Australasia

A budget line to cover membership of Synthetic Biology Australasia ( should be included. Membership will assist in engagement with the Australian Community of Practice in synthetic biology. It is expected that Fellows maintain their Synthetic Biology Australasia membership.

Budget Justification
A reasonably detailed budget justification is required for all budget lines. Failure to adequately justify budget lines may result in budgets being reduced in line with the expectations of the assessment panel.

Salary Level

The requested salary level (Academic A or B, or, in very exceptional circumstances, Level C) should be commensurate with the experience and track record of the applicant. Track record (Selection Criterion 1) for applicants will be assessed in a pool of applicants requesting the equivalent salary level; consequently, applicants requesting higher salary support will be assessed with a higher level of accountability.

Post-Award Conditions

  • Fellowships may begin as soon as a Cooperation Agreement is in place between the Host Organisation and CSIRO. Fellowships must commence by 1st November 2019. Some flexibility is possible but applications to extend the commencement date must be made by Monday 20th March 2019 and will be addressed on a case-by-case basis
  • Successful applicants may not hold another Fellowship or other position concurrently; if the applicant already holds a different fellowship, it must be relinquished before the CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Fellowship is taken up
  • The Fellowships are not bankable or transferrable, that is, recipients must relinquish these Fellowships if they secure another position or Fellowship
  • A minimum of 80 % of the Applicant’s time must be devoted to the Fellowship project. At their own discretion, Fellows may spend up to 20 % of their time on non-Fellowship activities that are important for their career development (e.g., teaching, service, outreach, other non-Fellowship research activities)
  • Teaching of synthetic biology coursework at the undergraduate level is strongly encouraged, and may be included as a fellowship activity and/or as non-fellowship activity under the 80/20 split above, at the discretion of the Fellow
  • Fellowships are not transferrable between people
  • Fellowships are transferrable between Mentors and Host Organisations, as long as it can be demonstrated that the new Mentor and/or Host Organisation can support the Fellowship project adequately and that the project milestones can be met
  • Fellowships must be undertaken in Australia
  • Fellowships are normally expected to be completed continuously over three years. Interruptions are allowed and will be negotiated and approved on a case-by-case basis.
    • Eligible interruptions include parental leave, carer’s responsibility, and illness. Where interruptions are approved, the Fellow must demonstrate that the project milestones can still be completed in a reasonable timeframe, taking into account the interruption Where interruptions are approved milestone delivery dates will be renegotiate.Fellowships may be held on a part-time basis if the recipient is fulfilling family and/or carer responsibilities, or in the case of illness interfering with full time work. Including interruptions and any periods of part-time employment, fellowships must be completed within 6 years of the start date. The Fellowship may also be converted to (or from) part-time at any time to enable the Fellowship recipient to fulfil family and/or carer responsibilities
  • Where necessary and with approval from the Host Organisation and CSIRO (if not otherwise approved as part of the original application), Fellows may spend periods of time conducting research activities interstate or overseas (e.g., for fieldwork, international collaboration, or industry placement). Such travel should contribute to the Fellowship objectives, and will be funded independently from the Fellowship (i.e. no further funding will be available for post-award requests)
  • The Fellow will be required to attend SynBio FSP activities including retreats and research symposia/workshops/conferences
  • The Fellow will be expected to contribute to establishment and development of a SynBio community of practice, including membership of Synthetic Biology Australasia (SBA)
  • The Fellow is expected to engage in outreach and promotional activities from time to time as part of the SynBio FSP
  • There should be regular contact between the University and CSIRO Mentors to assist in support of the Fellow
  • The Fellow is required to notify CSIRO of any changes or conditions that are likely to impact on eligibility, progress, project funding, financial expenditure, or reporting.

Intellectual Property and Publication Considerations

Successful Fellowships will commence on execution of the Cooperation Agreement between the Host Organisation and CSIRO. Project IP will be managed by an IP Management Committee which will be composed of two representatives from each party. The Standard IP principles are as follows:

  • The Project IP is owned by the Host Organisation, with CSIRO being granted royalty-free, non-exclusive right to undertake non-commercial research.
  • CSIRO is also granted a 12-month option to negotiate an exclusive commercial licence. A separate
    Commercialisation Agreement will be negotiated at this time and will provide an equitable sharing by the parties of any financial return.

The Agreement requires a non-exclusive right to use the Host Organisation background IP to the extent necessary to commercialise any Project IP. Publications must be approved through both parties, with approval only able to be withheld if publication would prejudice Intellectual Property Rights or confidentiality.


Formal progress and financial reports will be required at 3 months (interim report), 12 months, 24 months and 36 months; and a final report on any remaining (post-Fellowship) outcomes of the project will be required within 6 months of the completion date of the Fellowship. Reports must include progress against agreed project milestones, contributions of participants directly related to the project, project expenditure, and other relevant information as requested. A template will be provided for these reports. Informal project planning and reporting will also occur through regular meetings with the Fellow’s mentors.

Other considerations

  • Each applicant may only submit one application in a given funding round
  • This is the third round of SynBio FSP Fellowships. If further funding round calls are made as part of the SynBio FSP program, no more than two applications may be made over the life of the program
  • Applications may be withdrawn but may not be changed after submission. Additions, deletions and modifications will not be accepted after submission, unless invited
  • Applications must conform to the prescribed page, word, and formatting conditions on the forms provided.

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