Researchers in Australia are making advances in synthetic biology (SynBio) thanks to the support of a multi-million dollar fund.

The CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform (SynBio FSP) is a $13 million shot in the arm for the country’s burgeoning industry. And it is now financing 11 fellows – ‘early-career postdoctoral researchers’ – in developing their work in partnership with Australian universities.

“SynBio is essentially the application of engineering principles to biology. It involves making things from biological components, such as genetic code, to carry out useful activities. These activities could include sustainable production of fuels, treatment and cure of diseases, controlling invasive pests, or sensing toxins in the environment,” a CSIRO blog states.

The current cohort of fellows are working on a range of projects. These include solving toxic spills, building an algal bioeconomy and developing biosensors that can replace medical tests.

“Synthetic biology has significant potential for generating benefits for society and is set to drive innovation in a large number of diverse industries going into the future,” said Associate Professor Claudia Vickers – Leader of CSIRO’s SynBio FSP. “These Fellowships will help grow the capability of a new generation of researchers and attract the best students and experts to work with us on future science in Australia.”