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Issue 5: December 2023

A man with short grey hair and thin-framed glasses stands against a backdrop of fern fronds. He is wearing a navy blue shirt and smiling slightly.

Welcome to the latest newsletter from CSIRO’s Advanced Engineering Biology Future Science Platform (AEB FSP). Thanks for being part of our community and engaging through our mailing list. As 2023 draws to a close, it gives us a moment to look back and reflect on our progress. The AEB FSP has been moving from strength to strength since starting in July 2022, building projects and connections with researchers, industry and government bodies across Australia and internationally.

Our launch webinar in June attracted over 150 viewers and 80 CSIRO researchers in person at our first annual workshop. On the panel we welcomed Ronnie Guha from Google, Kathryn Brink from BioMADE in the US, and Rebecca Doolan from the Australian Government’s Critical Technologies Hub. Our wide-ranging discussion covered the potential for transformative engineering biology research to help us address many of the challenges we face and opportunities to deliver new solutions and grow industries that help society.

We presented our research at major international conferences hosted by the Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists, Synthetic Biology Australasia, Yeast Biotech 2.0, and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology where we shared exciting developments in both the natural and social sciences. We also represented Australia at two Engineering Biology Research Consortium workshops in Singapore, the World Economic Forum Global Future Council meeting in Dubai, and the Asian Synthetic Biology Conference in Japan, building strong ties and collaborative opportunities internationally.

This year we have been refining our strategy around our three themes of Interdisciplinary Decision-Making, Data-Driven Molecular Design, and Innovative Bioproduction Platforms and kicking off a range of exciting projects, including eight new PhD top-up scholarships. We have opened our call for applications for a further four top-up scholarships to start in 2024. Please see our website for details of our projects and how to apply for the new top-up scholarships.

It has been an exciting year for engineering biology with many important discoveries that improve our ability to predictively design biological solutions in many areas from fuels and chemicals to food and medicines. In 2024 we will continue to work to be at the forefront of these technologies whilst studying their social and institutional aspects. For example, we recently released a risk management tool on access and benefit sharing to help researchers in our field to navigate this complex and important topic.

I’ll leave you with these eye-catching videos about our science and I wish you a wonderful holiday period and best wishes for a great 2024.

Robert Speight and the AEB FSP team.

PhD and MPhil top-up scholarships: apply today

Expressions of interest for the AEB FSP's second round of top-up scholarships are due 1 March 2024. Find out more and apply today.

Video spotlight

Engineering solutions from nature's building blocks

A new series of four animations delves into the science behind engineering biology, showcasing how it can improve sustainability.

Watch the videos
Project Spotlight

Mimicking natural processes to speed up carbon capture

Find out more