Expression of Interest – Postdoctoral Research Fellow/Research Scientist

Our sheep production systems team at Murdoch University, Western Australia are seeking expressions of interest for a 2 to 3-year Postdoctoral Research Fellow/Research Scientist position, ideally commencing at the start of 2023. The position can be tailored to suit the preferred applicant given the range of projects in progress and your skills, competencies and passion relating to both research and teaching.

The dynamic team is led by Dr Andrew Thompson and the teams research over the last 20+ years has significantly improved the reproductive performance of sheep across Australia. Team members include Dr Caroline Jacobson, Dr Bronwyn Clarke, Dr Serina Hancock and Dr Amy Lockwood. Mr Jarryd Krog heads the technical team. The team’s key skills include applied sheep nutrition, management and genetics with a strong focus on lamb survival, reproduction and health. Most of our research is carried out on commercial farms and we have strong links with other research providers and sheep industry consultants across Australia and New Zealand. There is also some fundamental research in some projects.

The position will include some undergraduate teaching, including lecturing, workshops and assisting with co-ordination of the Animal Production units, with opportunity to expand into undergraduate teaching for soils, crops and pastures. No previous teaching experience is required but would be beneficial. It is expected that the position would be 0.6 FTE research and 0.4 FTE teaching. Opportunities for training will be provided where required to develop skills specific to the teaching and research roles.

Opportunities exist to be involved in the following projects:

1. Impact of heat stress on sheep reproduction. This project commenced in 2022 and follows the same sheep for three years looking at the impact of heat stress on farm during joining on reproduction and welfare outcomes. It utilises novel technologies including intra-ruminal temperature loggers, GPS and activity loggers to quantify behaviours and track utilisation of paddock and shelter.

2. Utilising edible shelter to improve lamb survival and whole farm profitability. This project commenced in 2021 and the key experiments include (i) The design and establishment of shrubs, (ii) the impact of shelter on ewe and lamb physiology during lambing, and (iii) shelter and lamb survival. This project and the heat stress project are run under a program called the impact of shade and shelter on sheep reproduction and welfare and includes both fundamental and applied research. It has a multi-disciplinary team from Murdoch, UWA, CSIRO and NSWDPI.

3. Managing Merino weaners to thrive and survive. This project will explore the impact of genetics and nutritional pathway between weaning and maiden mating on the survival of weaner sheep and lifetime reproductive performance of ewes.

4. Fit to Lamb. This project will explore genetic, nutrition and management opportunities to reduce lamb and ewe mortality from dystocia and birth injuries. This is a collaborative project involving multiple organisations across Australia and overseas.

All expressions of interests should be emailed to sheepresearch@murdoch.edu.au by Dec 1st 2022 and addressed to Dr Andrew Thompson. Please attach a CV and one pager outlining the project/projects that you are most interested in and what you could bring to these projects and the broader team.

Applicants must be passionate about advancement of the sheep industry and confident and competent in handling sheep.