Communities Specialist, Inclusive Genomics

Expiring today

Garvan Institute of Medical Research
Melbourne/Sydney, Australia
28 Sep 2020
End of advertisement period
26 Oct 2020
Academic Discipline
Social Sciences, Sociology
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time
  • Are you interested in the many, diverse cultures of Australia?
  • Do you have skills in applied sociology or ethnography or similar?
  • Would you like to contribute to improved health outcomes for all Australians? 

Then come and join us at the Centre for Population Genomics in the role of Communities Specialist, Inclusive Genomics. We particularly welcome applications from people with lived experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities.

The Opportunity

We are building a new genome reference database - spanning diverse Australian communities - that will improve medical practitioners' ability to interpret genetic changes found in Australians affected by genetic disease regardless of their ancestral background. When the history is told of this next Australian era, we want it to be inclusive. We want it to tell of a country in which everyone had an equal chance to benefit from modern medicine. One aspect of this is ensuring that the genetic stories of all groups of Australians are known to medicine and to do this well, we need to start by describing the peoples of Australia.

As part of the mission, the Centre will be recruiting more than ten thousand research participants to create a new resource for human genetics that truly reflects the remarkable population diversity of Australia and improves the diagnosis of rare disease patients across a wide range of Australian communities. This position is an opportunity to contribute extensively to the development of a brand-new Centre that will play a key role in establishing genomic medicine in Australia.

This is a three-year full-time role. The position could be based in either Sydney or Melbourne and we would also consider compelling candidates working remotely from elsewhere in Australia or working part-time.

Your role

The Communities Specialist will be a member of the Inclusive Genomics team at the Centre for Population Genomics. Reporting to and working closely with the Lead, Inclusive Genomics, you will conduct research to analyse and describe cultural groups that are likely to have a shared ancestry, develop recommendations for how best to engage with each community, help the team lead to devise the most appropriate, culturally-aligned approach to involving significant numbers of people from the community, contribute to and oversee communications with communities, and assist with community engagement on the ground.

You will bring training and expertise in ethnographic or sociological methods or similar. You will have a bias towards applied research as a way to understand diverse cultures and experience. You see yourself as more of a practitioner than an academic, using ethnographic approaches to collaborate with and support communities to improve well-being, social and health outcomes.

Your experience traveling or living in multiple communities will be of substantial advantage as this role will require some travel (across Australia and, potentially, in the Pacific) to be on the ground, with the Centre team, at the time of survey and sampling, supporting the Project Management team to ensure smooth logistics and clear communications with the community members.

About you

  • Master’s or doctorate in sociology, anthropology or related social science subject, or equivalent experience
  • 3-5 years’ experience conducting ethnographic or sociological research on community identity, culture or norms – ideally in Australia
  • experience working on community-based or place-based initiatives seeking to improve social outcomes
  • deep familiarity with Australia, its geographies and diversity of communities
  • a strong bias towards applied community work, rather than academic publications
  • some prior training or experience in cultural competency, anti-bias thinking, methods of diversity & inclusion or cross-cultural communication is desirable

About us

The Garvan Institute of Medical Research (Garvan) brings together world-leading clinicians and basic and translational researchers to break down barriers between traditional scientific disciplines and find solutions to disease. Founded in 1963, Garvan’s mission is to harness all the information encoded in our genome to better diagnose, treat, predict and prevent disease.

Our scientists work across four intersecting research themes: medical genomics, epigenetics, and cellular genomics; diseases of immunity and inflammation; cancer; and diseases of ageing affecting bone, brain and metabolism. There are also, three major centres: The Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics; the Garvan-Weizmann Centre for Cellular Genomics, and the Centre for Population Genomics. Located in Darlinghurst, our staff work across the joined buildings of the Garvan and The Kinghorn Cancer Centre.

The Centre for Population Genomics is a new multi-institution initiative focusing on the development of cutting-edge tools and resources to facilitate the conversion of genomic data into improved diagnosis and treatment for Australians, the field known as genomic medicine. Ultimately, the Centre will generate and manage the largest sets of genomic and clinical data ever assembled in Australia, and apply these to solve a wide variety of scientific and medical problems. The Centre’s staff will operate from two physical sites: Garvan in Sydney, and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) in Melbourne.

How to Apply

Australian/NZ citizens or permanent residents with full working rights can apply only. All applications must include a detailed cover letter along with your resume stating why you are interested in this role and share at least two referees. We are reviewing applications as they are received, so if this position is of interest to you, please apply quickly.

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