Forensic Chemist, APS level 6, National Measurement Institute

Apply now Job no: 512556
Employment type: Ongoing
Location: Sydney
Categories: APS Level 6, Science, Engineering, Technical

About the department

The department plays a key role in the Australian Government’s agenda to create jobs and build a stronger, more resilient and competitive economy. Our work builds on Australia’s existing strengths, supports businesses to grow, and drives new opportunities for long-term productivity growth and prosperity. The success of the department helps Australia recover from the economic consequences of COVID‑19 and adapt to its ongoing effects. Through our work, we support the government’s economic recovery plan and help to deliver a better future for all Australians.

About the National Measurement Institute (NMI)

We are the Australian Government’s national authority on measurement. We play an important role in the Australian economy by leading, maintaining and regulating Australia’s measurement system. We deliver world-class measurement products, advice and client services and administer the regulatory framework for measurement. Our national measurement standards are recognised internationally and we work to enhance and maintain these standards.

We value the different skills, knowledge and perspectives our employees bring. We’re committed to giving everyone an equal opportunity to participate, contribute and progress. Our values and behaviours centre on being, adaptable, innovative, accountable, strategic, inclusive and influential.

About the team

The Chemical and Biological Metrology branch provides measurement standards such as certified reference materials. These include pure chemicals, gas standards, matrix materials and DNA standards. The branch also co-ordinates proficiency testing programs to assist laboratories assess their ongoing quality and performance. The branch houses three of Australia’s national testing laboratories for anti-doping, forensic drugs and ultra-trace analysis. The branch delivers services across all of these fields and carries out research and development to enhance our capabilities in line with national and international requirements.

The NMI’s Australian Forensic Drug Laboratory (AFDL) is a team of scientists providing forensic science services to government agencies such as the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Border Force (ABF). The AFDL performs routine identification and quantification of illicit drugs seized by the AFP and ABF for prosecution, reporting and intelligence purposes. The AFDL also performs chemical profiling of illicit drugs to determine geographical origin of cultivated drugs and the synthetic route of manufactured drugs. This forms the basis of strategic and tactical intelligence reports used by law enforcement to assist drug trafficking disruption.

Our ideal candidate

Our ideal candidate will;

  • Hold a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Chemistry from a recognised university.
  • Demonstrate an advanced understanding of analytical chemistry and experience in organic analytical techniques, such as;
    • gas chromatography
    • liquid chromatography
    • mass spectrometry
    • infrared spectroscopy
    • nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
  • Demonstrate an advanced understanding and at least 2 years of experience working with a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer.
  • Demonstrate an understanding and experience in structural elucidation of organic molecules using 1D and 2D NMR experiments, mass spectroscopy and infrared spectroscopy.
  • Have prior knowledge of the chemistry pertaining to illicit substances, including precursor chemicals used in the manufacture of amphetamine type stimulants such as methylamphetamine.
  • Demonstrate an ability to work collaboratively with others, learning and responding constructively to feedback, and contributing to the team’s performance.
  • Have good communication skills with the ability to accurately document results and observations, and present scientific evidence in court.
  • Have the ability to conduct complex analysis with limited supervision showing judgement in problem-solving and decision-making.

In addition, the successful candidate will have an understanding of requirements for working in a NATA accredited forensic laboratory and familiarity with ISO 17025.

Our department has a commitment to inclusion and diversity, with an ambition of being the best possible place to work. This reflects the importance we place on our people and on creating a workplace culture where each and every one of us is valued and respected for our contribution. Our ideal candidate adds to this culture and our workplace in their own way.

What you will do

As a Forensic Chemist, you will work as part of a team who undertake analysis of drug seizures and controlled substances in order to identify the substance and confirm its purity. The results of these chemical analyses form the basis of evidential statements required by law enforcement. This role will also work on the structural elucidation of unknown organic molecules such as novel psychoactive substances and produce certificates of analysis for evidential purposes.

The role will also work closely with the Senior Profiling Scientist on the analysis of methamphetamine samples in order to determine synthetic route. Using a variety of analytical techniques including NMR, GC-MS, UPLC and IRMS, you will undertake analyses on methamphetamine samples submitted by the AFP. The results of your analyses will form the basis of strategic and tactical intelligence reports supplied to the AFP and other agencies. You will work on identifying new target molecules and new synthetic pathways as required.

You will also participate in other laboratory activities that impact on the Laboratory Quality System, including:

  • Operating and maintaining scientific instrumentation
  • Preparing reference material solutions
  • Processing raw analytical data
  • Preparing reports based on evidential analysis
  • Providing evidence in court
  • Working with senior staff to assist in the development and validation of analytical methods.


To undertake this role, the successful candidate must have a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Chemistry from a recognised university.

To be eligible for employment in the APS and the department, candidates must be Australian Citizens.

Positions require a Baseline security clearance and successful candidates will be required to obtain and maintain a clearance at this level.


A vaccination for Hepatitis A and B or serology immunity testing may be required after commencement with NMI.

A merit pool may be established and used to fill future vacancies within 18 months from the date the vacancy was first advertised in the Gazette.

The department does currently offer flexible work opportunities for many roles. The majority of this vacancy is Sydney laboratory based, although flexible work arrangements may be considered. Please reach out to the contact officer to discuss this further.

How to apply

Your application must not contain any classified or sensitive information. This includes in your application responses, CV and any other documents. The selection panel may not consider applications containing classified information.

Please provide a pitch explaining how your skills, knowledge and experience will be relevant to this role and why you are the best candidate for the position. Your pitch can contain no more than 5000 characters (approximately 750 words) and should align to the key duties listed above.

Please complete your application online and provide your current CV with your application. (CVs must be in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format).

Accessible application documentation is available in other formats on request. Please contact or (02) 6276 1235 if you require assistance with your application.

Please refer to our Applying for a position information for additional information on how to apply.

Contact Information

For more information regarding this opportunity, please contact Brendan Trotter, ph: 02 9449 0220.

Advertised: AUS Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: AUS Eastern Daylight Time

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