First listed on: 17 July 2022

Principal Research Scientist - Sustainability Transitions


Acknowledgement of Country

CSIRO acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land, sea and waters, of the area that we live and work on across Australia. We acknowledge their continuing connection to their culture and pay our respects to their Elders past and present. View our vision towards reconciliation

The Opportunity

  • Lead the growing research in sustainability transitions 
  • Bring your expertise in farming systems science 
  • Join CSIRO Agriculture and Food and make a difference!

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is one of the world’s largest and most successful publicly funded research and development organisations that delivers world-class science and outcome-focused research that generates economic, environmental, and social benefits for Australia in a global context.

Agriculture and Food (A&F) is CSIRO’s largest research business unit (BU).  We apply world class multidisciplinary science, technology and facilities, IP and global networks across the value chain to create healthier, trusted, safer and more sustainable food and fibre for the future. 

CSIRO is seeking a senior scientist to lead the research in the growing area of sustainability transitions, including defining the science strategy to enable sustainability transitions towards social, economic, and environmental outcomes in regional and rural communities in Australia. In this role you will be a key point of contact for external stakeholders and the wider innovation system. You will liaise internally and externally to garner the resources required to drive our research impact in sustainability transitions and assemble high performing multi-disciplinary capability from across CSIRO to deliver high impact outcomes.

This role will collaborate broadly across CSIRO, engage with Mission research initiatives including Towards Net Zero Mission and the Valuing Sustainability Future Science Platform, to lead research into how to enable regional transitions to sustainable futures. 

Your duties will include:

  • Lead a portfolio of research driving high impact outcomes in sustainability transitions in regional and rural communities in Australia.
  • Build strategic relationships with industry, government, and academic stakeholders to deliver research that underpins CSIRO Agriculture and Food strategy and contribute to a national innovation ecosystem. 
  • Lead, develop, and manage staffing capability to ensure that research and innovation activities align with strategy, and are conducted professionally and efficiently to high scientific standards.  
  • Supervise and mentor early career researchers, coordinating their activities across multiple business units and portfolios of work within CSIRO.
  • Act as a trusted advisor within CSIRO and externally on matters related to agri-food systems and their transition to a sustainable, low emissions, future. 
  • Communicate research results to clients and the scientific community through oral and written reports.
  • Other duties as directed.

Locations: Brisbane, Canberra, or Adelaide preferred
 AU$141,949 – AU$157,055 plus up to 15.4% superannuation
 Specified term of 3 years
Reference: 85968

To be considered you will need:

Selection Criteria

  • A PhD (or an equivalent combination of qualifications and research experience) in a relevant field of innovation studies, geography, applied economics, or social science ideally with a focus on change, transition, or transformation processes.
  • Demonstrated ability to undertake original, creative and impactful research in areas related to societal, industry and/or economic transitions with evidence of publication and adoption of research.
  • Demonstrated ability to catalyse and lead collaborative research activities that include diverse stakeholders and disciplinary skills.
  • Excellent, high level oral and written communication skills, including ability to facilitate and lead group processes and develop strategic and practical pathways with groups.
  • A willingness to travel on short trips to other locations in Australia, and region, as part of project development and delivery.
  • A current driver’s licence.


  • Knowledge of international literature on innovation for sustainable transitions.
  • Research experience in agri-food and/or regional transitions 
  • Experience in establishing governance structures for collaborative initiatives. 
  • Experience in establishing monitoring and evaluation systems to track socio-economic projects.

For full details about this role please view the Position Description 


To be eligible to work in CSIRO you must be an Australian/ New Zealand Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident or ab Australian temporary resident with a valid working visa for the duration of the specified term. 
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

Wednesday 24th August 2022, 11:00 pm AEST

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