Digitisation Internship opportunities at the CSIRO’s National Research Collections of Australia (NRCA)

CSIRO’s National Research Collections of Australia (NRCA) houses the world’s largest research biological collection of Australian biodiversity, including over 15 million specimens.

We’ve recently organised a series of projects designed to bring students into the realms of digitisation of the NRCA collections based at Black Mountain in Canberra. The NRCA seeks 3–4 student interns to assist with a variety of digitisation projects related to computer science and visualisations.

Project currently available:

  • 3D can add value. Rather than replacing traditional natural history collection display cases as the way to showcase collections, 3D is another way to capture an object that can add value and reveal objects in new ways – for example, allowing people to look behind and under objects, as well as experience them in a VR environment. An opportunity exists to feature 3D models in both exhibitions and the permanent gallery space at the CSIRO’s Discovery Centre to really enhance a visitor’s experience.


  • 3D approaches to visualising natural history specimens. Building on the success of 3D digital imaging of insect specimens from the CSIRO’s Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC) with CSIRO’s Data61, the Digitisation lab of the CSIRO’s Collections are seeking interest in developing further 3D models of natural history specimens. Potential exists to annotate and assemble them digitally with associate morphology. Helpful skills to have: knowledge of anatomy, attention to detail with skills to be acquired in 3D imaging techniques.
  • Digital collection access, visibility, and discovery. The CSIRO Collections are research facilities and infrastructure that house irreplaceable specimens and data. The Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC) holds an insect drawer of Cicada’s with associated file sounds of those specimens.  Are you interested in creating a new interactive display drawer based on the pilot of this cicada drawer? New technologies and techniques (ie. Augmented Reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR)) make it possible to link the sounds to the cicadas in the drawer, enriching this collection for further use in tours, exhibits and science education.


  • Discovering collection specimens. Imagine the life history of any specimen collected for scientific research. We find them in nature, isolate, preserve, catalogue and study them, and a few of them reach star status as figures or data points in the literature. Too often it’s downhill from there, held in a collection; never to be digitised, databased, imaged and posted online; so that they can be discovered for use in new research studies. We never realise a collections full potential until its inhabitants become visible. NRCA is interested in interns eager to help digitise the collections so that they are discoverable to future research needs.


  • Digitisation of primary type specimens. We intend to database each primary type specimen, currently held within the collection at the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC). To capture at least one image, including specimen labels, and deliver the record to the Atlas of Living Australia. Not only will this provide a valuable source of information to entomologists worldwide, it is helping ANIC create digital records of its estimated 24,000 primary types. We can’t digitise everything, all 12 Million specimens held at the ANIC. Nevertheless, we can focus our efforts on the most important specimens, such as our primary type specimens, critical specimens in research.


  • Digitising specimen data. Working with staff from the Australian National Wildlife Collection (ANWC) and the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC) you will be helping populate data ready for use in our new database. You will become familiar with the latest data standards, become equipped with georeferencing skills and learn basic automated data-cleaning computer scripts. An opportunity exists to develop documentation and procedures on georeferencing protocols to advance the digital collection access, visibility and discovery. Helpful skills to have: accurate data entry (typing skills), attention to detail, knowledge of spreadsheets (MS Excel for example), excellent communication skills.
  • To apply, please forward the following information to Digitisation manager, Nicole Fisher at CSIRO’s National Research Collections of Australia. Contact details: nicole.fisher@csiro.au

  • Your curriculum vitae, including relevant courses.
  • Number of hours you are available to work weekly over the course of the Australian National University student internship

Please note: Internships can be extended into a Volunteer Fellowship at CSIRO’s National Research Collections of Australia, depending on the project.

If interested in extending an internship into a Volunteer Fellowship with the CSIRO Collections, please contact Nicole Fisher at nicole.fisher@csiro.au

Application closing date

30 September 2019
Applications open for this opportunity: 
14 Aug 2019
Study level: 

Updated:  1 June 2019/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing