The Australian Microbiome Initiative is an Australian wide collaboration founded on two established Bioplatforms Australia framework data initiatives: Marine Microbes and Biomes of Australian Soil Environments (BASE). The consortium involves researchers from more than 40 institutions supported by four founding partners.

Core funding partners

The core partners funding the establishment of the Australian Microbiome initiative are Bioplatforms Australia and IMOS through the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), CSIRO, and Parks Australia through the Bush Blitz program funded by the Australian Government and BHP. 

The consortium receives significant investment from the research community both as cash and in-kind investment. The consortium will seek to leverage further investment from other organisations to ensure the totality of the program is funded.

Core project team
  • Scientific Lead – Dr Andrew Bissett
  • Project Management – Dr Sophie Mazard
  • Analytical team –
    • Dr Matthew Smith
    • Dr Jodie van de Kamp
    • TBD

Committees and Working groups
Steering committee

The Steering Committee provides strategic direction and leadership to the Australian Microbiome Initiative consortium. The Committee ensures the achievement of program objectives by making decisions on matters that impact on the milestones and outcomes agreed in the Australian Microbiome Initiative consortium Collaborative Agreement.

Terms of Reference for the Steering Committee pdf

  • Prof Justin Seymour – Chair
    NSW-IMOS Node Leader. Professor at the University Technology Sydney, leader of the Climate Change Cluster (C3) Ocean Microbes and Healthy Oceans research program.
  • Dr Sue Fyfe – Parks Australia
    Director, Biodiversity Science, Parks Australia, Department of the Environment and Energy
  • Dr Andrew Bissett – CSIRO
    Scientific lead
  • Dr Anna Fitzgerald – Bioplatforms Australia
    Strategic partnership
  • Dr Austen Ganley – University of Auckland

Observer – Dr Sophie Mazard, Project manager, Bioplatforms Australia 

Scientific coordination working group

The Scientific Coordination working group is accountable for:

  • Fostering collaboration and willing to liaise and consult with relevant stakeholders both within and outside of the consortium
  • Establishing operating procedures and workflows for the initiative
  • Consult with research community to establish criteria for the scientific assessment of material to be processed by the initiative Consult with research community to deliver a coordinated manual.

Terms of Reference for the Scientific coordination working group (draft) pdf

  • Dr Mark Brown – Chair
    Senior Research Fellow, School of Environmental and Life Sciences at the University of Newcastle
    Field of research
  • Prof Torsten Thomas
    ARC Future Fellow and Director of the Centre for Marine Bio-Innovation, UNSW
    Field of research: interaction of bacteria with their environment
  • Dr Martin Ostrowski
    Research Fellow in the Department of Molecular Sciences, Macquarie University, Deputy Director of the Macquarie University Marine Research Centre.
    Field of research: microbiology, oceanography and genomics.
  • Dr Nicole Webster
    Principal research scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science and research fellow at the Australian Centre for Ecogenomics, UQ.
    Field of research: microbial-sponge symbiosis as a sensitive marine model of environmental stress
  • Assoc Prof Jeff Powell
    Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University
    Field of research: Ecological Bioinformatics, ecological partnerships between microorganisms and plants
  • Assoc Prof Pauline Mele
    Principal Research Scientist bat the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Victoria
    Assoc. Professor at the School of Applied Systems Biology and AgriBio the Centre for AgriBioscience at Latrobe University
    Field of research
  • Dr Martin Breed
    Beacon Fellow
    School of Biological Sciences at the University of Adelaide.
    Field of research: Genomics, conservation, and restoration of degraded land
  • Assoc Prof Belinda Ferrari
    Deputy Head of School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences and Director of Research; Assoc Professor and ARC Future Fellow at UNSW
    Field of research: microbial diversity of soil bacteria, development of novel culturing approaches for the uncultured majority

Observer – Dr Sophie Mazard, Project manager, Bioplatforms Australia 

Data management and analytics working group


End users strategy working group


Outreach working group


Consortium members

The consortium involves several organisations and researchers from more than 40 institutions

External advisors