First listed on: 30 August 2021

CSIRO Postdoctoral Fellowship in Sustainability Science


The Opportunity

  • Unique opportunity to apply participatory approaches and co-generate new scenarios of interventions for Reef recovery 
  • Link the First Nations-led pathways with those focused on technological innovation
  • Work with an inspiring supervisory team including top CSIRO scientists and Global leaders in sustainability

CSIRO Early Research Career (CERC) Postdoctoral Fellowships provide opportunities to scientists and engineers who have completed their doctorate and have less than three years of relevant postdoctoral work experience. These fellowships aim to develop the next generation of future leaders of the innovation system. 

The Reef Trust Partnership and the Reef 2050 Plan brings together researchers, government managers, Traditional Owners as First Nations peoples, farmers, fishers and other stakeholders to generate novel and effective recovery pathways for the Great Barrier Reef.  Scenarios that describe a range of such pathways are an exciting tool that can help us imagine and create new sustainable futures that embrace and promote cultural and natural diversity. However, current futures scenarios, and their underpinning models, for the Reef are focused overwhelmingly on biophysical variables, and do not include Traditional Owners approaches for economic, social and cultural well-being that result in healthy people and Reef for the benefit of the nation.

This Postdoctoral Fellow has a unique opportunity to apply participatory approaches and co-generate new scenarios of interventions for Reef recovery. You will work ethically and in partnership with Traditional Owners for mutual benefit, reciprocity, trust and respect to develop and test new methods that account for their Indigenous knowledge systems and First Nations-led co-design of Reef recovery pathways. Linking the First Nations-led pathways with those focused on technological innovation is a key opportunity for imagining and delivering genuinely sustainable futures. You will also work with experienced socioecological modellers to identify key variables and processes that link such socio-economic with biophysical variables and with policymakers to explore implications and policies for the health of Reef ecosystems and peoples.   

You will work with an inspiring supervisory team including top CSIRO scientists in our Sustainability Pathways and Marine Ecosystem Modelling groups, international leaders of Reef-catchment restoration ecology at Central Queensland University, and global leaders in sustainability scenarios from the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Your collaboration with First Nations peoples will be guided by a Reference Group facilitated through outstanding leaders of the Traditional Owner Partnerships team at the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.  Upon completion of the project, the postdoctoral fellow will be positioned to become a world leader in the domains of sustainability science, systems-thinking, multiple knowledges and transdisciplinary/participatory methods.

Your duties will include:

  • Use participatory methods that take account of diverse knowledge systems to co-generate diverse, realistic Great Barrier Reef Futures scenarios; 
  • Incorporate new indicators and variables into Great Barrier Reef Futures scenarios, and consider implications for policy and governance;
  • Carry out innovative, impactful research of strategic importance to CSIRO that will lead to novel and important outcomes for sustainability science and impact; 
  • Recognise and exploit opportunities for innovation and the generation of new theoretical perspectives, and progress opportunities for the further development or creation of new lines of research;
  • Utilise design thinking and collaborative methodologies to plan and prepare research proposals, and apply non-academic impact methodology to research projects;
  • Carry out ethical research investigations requiring originality, creativity, innovation and mutually respectful partnerships

Location: Townsville, QLD
Salary: AU$88k - AU$96k plus up to 15.4% superannuation
Tenure: Specified term of 3 years
Reference: 77003

To be considered you will need:

  • A doctorate (or will shortly satisfy the requirements of a PhD) in a relevant discipline area, such as sustainability science, social-ecological systems science, environmental science, human geography, environmental sociology. Please note: To be eligible for this role you must have no more than 3 years (or part-time equivalent) of postdoctoral research experience.
  • Experience in working with diverse stakeholders, rightsholders and multiple knowledge systems to identify collaborative solutions to complex, dynamic sustainability problems e.g. biodiversity loss, climate change, sustainable development.
  • High-level cultural competency and abilities to work effectively in relationships of trust and respect with Traditional Owners as First Nations People.
  • Demonstrated interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research skills and capacities that transcend scientific disciplines and diverse cultures.
  • Understanding of scenarios and models in sustainability science, and their applications to co-generate policy and solutions.
  • High level written and oral communication skills with the ability to represent the research team effectively internally and externally, including the presentation of research outcomes at national and international conferences.

For full details about this role please view the Position Description


To be eligible you must be an Australian/New Zealand Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident or Australian temporary resident currently residing in Australia (visa sponsorship may be provided to eligible onshore candidates). 

The successful applicant will be required to obtain and provide a National Police Check or equivalent. Additional integrity checks may be required for specific roles which require security clearance for working with children, Australian Government cybersecurity requirements or other identified security roles.

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

29 September  2021, 11:00pm AEST

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