First listed on: 15 July 2022

Research Director - Sustainability Program


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

  • Drive innovation and build pathways for sustainable and inclusive agrifood and fibre systems
  • Support transitions to more sustainable, inclusive and profitable agri-food systems in Australia and the Asia-Pacific 
  • Engage with collaboration partners, industry, government and across the business to advance world-class science delivery

The 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. Our research from gene to plate increases productivity and efficiencies at the farm level, improves the quality and yield of Australian crops, develops innovative food processing technologies, creates new value-added foods, and is growing the nation’s livestock, aquaculture and fishery industries.

The Sustainability Program is one of 6 research programs in the A&F and aims to drive innovation and build pathways for sustainable and inclusive agrifood and fibre systems. The three key focus areas of the program are Soil and Landscapes, Climate Smart Agriculture, and Food Systems and Global Change.

As the Research Director, you will provide the vision, direction and leadership for the program to deliver world-class science. You will be an entrepreneurial and collaborative leader who is responsible for establishing and maintaining strong links with industry partners and government, while building and inspiring dynamic and innovative research teams to deliver world-class science.

Your duties will include:

  • Impact Science Leadership: lead strategic science to address national challenges, identify and engage in new research opportunities, pipeline growth and development, support strategy and scientific performance, and catalyse innovation.
  • Capability Leadership: attract, nurture and retain world-class talent; promote a safe and sustainable workplace; inspire and build a high-performance culture.
  • Resource Leadership: lead and manage financials, resources, people infrastructure and other assets; ensure best practice governance and management of commercial activities and intellectual property; and ensure Program delivers against milestones and quality standards.
  • Engagement and Partnerships: develop deeper and more effective national/international partnerships; build strategic relationships within the organisation to execute CSIRO’s strategy and A&F’s strategy; develop and maintain national and international research collaborations, scientific publications, and professional networks; and identify opportunities for future collaboration.
  • Entrepreneurial Leadership: develop partnerships with industry and funding agencies that drive commercialisation and impact from our science. 

Location:  Brisbane, Qld or Canberra, ACT preferred. Other cities with a team presence may be considered
Salary:  Attractive salary package offered 
Tenure:  Specified term of 3 years 
Reference:  82701

To be considered you will need:

  1. A doctorate and/or equivalent research and/or industry experience in a relevant discipline area, combined with significant research leadership experience. 
  2. Demonstrated leadership and excellence in a relevant field of science, as demonstrated by high-quality peer reviewed, published research including an established international research reputation and credibility.
  3. Evidence of successful leadership in developing a pipeline and a portfolio of science, research and innovation opportunities which responds to national and international challenges.
  4. Evidence of strong entrepreneurial industry and/or government engagement and strategic relationship management that grows new impact opportunities and supports positive and sustainable commercial outcomes.
  5. Proven ability to work effectively as an integral member of the Agriculture and Food Business Unit Leadership Team and as a leader of a multi-disciplinary, regionally dispersed research team, and foster an environment in which there is a high level of co-operation in which there is a high level of co-operation within and between Programs, Groups and Teams. 
  6. Demonstrated ability to establish productive teams, manage performance, undertake strategic planning and financial management, drive and implement change, operationalise the strategic vision for staff, and gain commitment to the direction chosen. 
  7. Strong leadership skills that demonstrate the ability to unite capability and to promote cross-organisational collaboration to transform CSIRO’s delivery on national and international challenges in the agriculture and food domain.

For full details about this role please view the Position Description


Applications for this position are open to Australian Citizens, New Zealand Citizens, Australian Permanent Residents and international candidates. 

Appointment to this role is subject to provision of a national police check and may be subject to other security/medical/character requirements.

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

9 August 2022, 11:00pm AEST/AEDT

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