Research Associate / Research Fellow, Murujuga Dating

Perth (Suburb), Western Australia (AU)
$74,236 to $124,301 p.a. plus 17% superannuation
10 Nov 2022
End of advertisement period
08 Dec 2022
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

School of Social Sciences

  • Applications open to individuals with a scientific research interest in dating Aboriginal rock art, as part of the Dating Murujuga’s Dreaming ARC Linkage Project team
  • Full-time appointment on a fixed term basis for 3 years
  • Base salary range: Level A $74,236 - 99,905 p.a. or Level B 105,043 - $124,301 p.a. plus 17% superannuation

The University of Western Australia (UWA) is ranked among the top 100 universities in the world and a member of the prestigious Australian Group of Eight research intensive universities. With a strong research track record, vibrant campus and working environments, supported by the freedom to innovate and inspire, there is no better time to join Western Australia’s top university.

About the team

The position is based in the Centre for Rock Art Research + Management (CRAR+M) and Archaeology in School of Social Sciences. CRAR+M has a vibrant research culture with internationally recognised researchers in a range of areas such as the archaeology of Indigenous Australia, rock art, heritage studies and maritime archaeology. The discipline teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses in archaeology within the broader Department. CRAR+M is a UWA Centre of Strategic Research Excellence and has a large research program working with a wide range of Aboriginal communities and other stakeholders to enhance rock art research and management within Western Australia.

About the opportunity

The project, Dating Murujuga’s Dreaming: Climate, Culture and Chronology is designed to bring innovative science to understanding the age of the extraordinary rock art and stone structures of Murujuga, as well as reconstructing and modelling Holocene voyaging around the Dampier Archipelago.

In this position, you will study rock varnish from the Dampier Archipelago, to better understand factors contributing to its development and to establish if an absolute age of its formation can be determined. The research focus will depend on the appointee’s background and the two main research themes are:

  • Research Theme 1: To understand the geochemistry of varnish layers and utilise U-series to estimate the age of varnish formation.
  • Research Theme 2: Focuses on understanding the microbiome of communities living in and around desert varnish.

You will also have opportunity to be mentored to further develop your academic career.

About you

The position requires high-level expertise in either isotopic geochemistry and materials characterisation, or genomic studies of the microbiome and bioinformatics where you will report to co-supervisor Edwards. Applicants with a background in both microbiology and geochemistry would be strongly encouraged to apply.

To be considered for the position, you will demonstrate:

  • PhD and additional experience in a field relevant to in-situ isotopic and trace element geochemistry and/or microbiome genomics
  • Strong skills in sample characterisation and in-situ isotopic and trace element analyses of rock surfaces, particularly from arid settings
  • Strong skills in experimental design and statistical analysis of geochemical or genetics data
  • Demonstrated ability and experience working collaboratively within the University, and with related industry and government and outside research organisations
  • Ability to develop competitive grant applications and to publish outcomes in high impact journals

Note: A current “C” class driver’s licence or equivalent with manual 4D experience, and remote area first aid is desirable.

About your application

Full details of the position's responsibilities and the selection criteria are outlined in the position description: PD - Research Associate or Fellow -Murujuga Dating 513041.pdf

You are required to address the selection criteria in your submission in a separate document. For information to assist you with compiling statements to answer the selection criteria, please visit Addressing the selection criteria.

Closing date: 11:55 PM AWST on Thursday, 8 December 2022

To learn more about this opportunity, please contact Professor Jo McDonald on

This position is open to international applicants.

Application Details: Please apply online via the Apply Now button.

Our commitment to inclusion and diversity

UWA is committed to a diverse workforce and an equitable and inclusive workplace. We celebrate difference and believe diversity is fundamental to achieving our goals as a globally recognised Top 100 educational and research institution. We are committed to creating a safe work environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, the LGBTIQA+ community and people living with disability.

  • We have a globally competitive, gender neutral parental leave policy with 26 weeks paid leave after 12 months service and 36 weeks after 5 years.
  • We have on-campus childcare facilities for child 6 weeks to kindy.
  • We facilitate flexible working, with part-time and job-sharing arrangements considered.
  • We have an ongoing partnership with Pride in Diversity and were recently awarded a Bronze Employer status for LGBTIQA+ inclusion.
  • We have Athena SWAN Bronze accreditation and actively work to improve gender equity

Should you have any queries relating to your application, please contact the individual named in the advertisement. Alternatively, contact the Talent team at with details of your query. To enable a quick response, please include the 6-digit job reference number and a member of the team will respond to your enquiry.