Standardisation and metrology in synthetic biology

Synthetic biologists aim to engineer biology, and engineering demands reliable standardisation and predictable measurement. This can be difficult in to achieve in biology, however, because of the context-dependent and emergent character of living systems. These challenges demand the development of new approaches to standardisation and novel metrology tools. Additionally, social scientific work has shown that setting and implementing standards is often a highly political process, infused with values and expectations.

The student will explore ongoing standardisation and measurement activities in synthetic biology, with a focus on Edinburgh's SynthSys centre. The aim is to conduct a cross-institutional and interdisciplinary analysis of core questions relating to the nature and limits of standardising and measuring biological systems. The student will have access to contacts in the National Physical Laboratory and the British Standards Institute.

Further Information: 

Closing Date: 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Principal Supervisor: 


We welcome applications from students who have (or are currently studying for) a Bachelors or Master's degree in biotechnology, synthetic biology, bioengineering or cognate discipline. We also welcome applicants with a background in the biological sciences or engineering with a keen interest in interdisciplinary research, across biology and engineering.


This 3 year studentship covers tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant of £15,006 per year. It is a collaboration between the Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology (SynthSys) and the department of Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS) at the University of Edinburgh.

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: