First listed on: 17 August 2021

Senior Principal Research Scientist -Sustainability Program


The Opportunity

  • Deliver projects in CSIRO’s Food Systems & Global Change research group
  • Oversee a new joint initiative between CSIRO & University of Queensland in Food System Transformation
  • Innovative and collaborative workplace with fantastic flexibility

CSIRO’s Agriculture and Food Business Unit applies world class multidisciplinary science, technology and facilities, relevant IP and global networks across the value chain to create healthier, trusted, safer and more sustainable food and fibre for the future. We work with a diverse range of people and partners that span Australia and 25 countries, fostering a shared vision to create measurable economic, environmental and social impact. The Sustainability Program works to mobilise science and technology to support societal transitions to a sustainable and equitable future in the context of profitable agriculture. 

As part of the Sustainability Research Program leadership team, you will be responsible for the program’s science, impact and strategy. You will also be responsible for overseeing a new initiative between CSIRO & University of Queensland through its Queensland Alliance for Agrifood Innovation (QAAFI).  This CSIRO-UQ Joint Food System Transformation Initiative is a collaborative research initiative set up to broker, design and deliver positive outcomes for Australian food system transformation; and application of same to priority Official Development Assistance (ODA) countries in the Asia-Pacific.  It is envisaged that the Initiative will become a recognised global leader for food system transformation R&D; and that the portfolio of research will evolve over time based on need and strategy.

Applications are invited across two capability levels and the successful candidate will be appointed at the level commensurate with their skills and experience.

More detail around the difference between the two levels is outlined in the Position Description.

Your duties will include:

  • Impact Science Leadership: Build the ‘one-stop-shop’ for research and innovation in sustainable, healthy and equitable food systems (SFS) in Australia; play a lead role in convening and coordinating national conversations around food systems & in brokering public private-partnerships in food system transformation for Australia and Asia-Pacific; position CSIRO and UQ as a collaborative provider of research and innovation solutions for transforming the Australian food systems; build a think-tank for strategy on food system transformation in the Asia-Pacific region (the Chatham House of the South).
  • Capability Leadership: Communicate the Initiative and Sustainability Program vision to inspire staff and sustain awareness of A&F’s science impact in the broader Australian community; strive for “Zero Harm” (physical and psychological) and actively promote a healthy, safe and environmentally sustainable workplace, manage people matters proactively; support the Research Leaders to build the long?term science capability to support the delivery of the Program’s research and impact, including forecasting demand, monitoring science trends and stakeholder needs, and building a high-performance culture; attract, develop and retain world class talent which meet current and future needs.
  • Engagement & Partnership: Effective engagement with customers/clients/partners and identifies opportunities for future collaboration within and beyond CSIRO regarding Australia and Asia Pacific food system transformation agenda; communicate Agriculture and Food strategy and Program goals to internal and external stakeholders; develop and maintain national and/or international research collaborations and professional networks to keep abreast of emerging advances in relevant science fields and industry challenges; engage with the governance arrangements for the Initiative with UQ to meet the objectives.
  • Resource Leadership: Oversee and manage the Initiative – including Post-Doc and PhD co-supervision, project delivery and stakeholder engagement; ensure best practice governance and management of commercial activities and intellectual property of research activities; manage delivery against milestones and appropriate quality standards; work constructively with counter-parts in UQ to align the use of human and other resources.

Location:  Brisbane, Queensland

Salary:  Attractive package commensurate with experience plus up to 15.4% superannuation
Tenure:  Indefinite
Reference:  76252

To be considered you will need:

  • A doctorate and/or equivalent research and/or industry experience in food system, innovation systems, global change/sustainability related science.
  • Demonstrated leadership and excellence in a relevant field of science, with a strong track record of outcomes and/or impact delivered.
  • Evidence of strong industry and/or government engagement and strategic relationship management that grows new impact opportunities and supports positive and sustainable public good and/or commercial outcomes.
  • Evidence of ability to strategically develop effective programs and opportunities that respond to national and global sustainability research challenges, drawing from knowledge in innovation systems, mission-oriented R&D.
  • Demonstrated experience in growing, reshaping and revitalising a capability area.
  • Successful development and leadership of a pipeline and portfolio of science, research and innovation on a national and international scale.
  • Additional criteria listed in the position description to be appointed at the higher level.

For full details about this role please review the Position Description


The successful applicant will be required to obtain and provide a National Police Check or equivalent.

Flexible Working Arrangements

We work flexibly at CSIRO, offering a range of options for how, when and where you work. 

Diversity and Inclusion

We are working hard to recruit people representing the diversity across our society, and ensure that all our people feel supported to do their best work and feel empowered to let their ideas flourish. 


At CSIRO Australia's national science agency, we solve the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology. We put the safety and wellbeing of our people above all else and earn trust everywhere because we only deal in facts. We collaborate widely and generously and deliver solutions with real impact. 

Join us and start creating tomorrow today!

How to Apply

Please apply on-line and provide a cover letter and CV that best demonstrate your motivation and ability to meet the requirements of this role.

Applications Close

16 September 2021, 11:00pm AEST

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