First listed on: 01 June 2023

Program Director - National Research Collections Australia


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

CSIRO is committed to values-based leadership to inspire performance and unlock the potential of our people.

The Opportunity

  • Work for Australia’s National Science Agency
  • Fantastic leadership role with an organisation going through contemporary change
  • Provide strategic best-practice leadership to a world recognised facility


CSIRO is Australia’s National Science Agency and one of the world’s largest and most successful research and development (R&D) organisations. We have improved the lives of many around the world through our R&D including WiFi, the Hendra Virus Vaccine, Aerogard and the Total Wellbeing Diet. With over 53 locations across Australia and internationally, CSIRO solves the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology to deliver economic, environmental and social benefits for Australia in a global context.

About NRCA

The National Research Collections Australia - CSIRO are a vital resource for conservation and science and are a critical research infrastructure for the nation and globally. The collections, incorporating 15 million specimens of plants, animals, fish, insects, algae and tree seeds, are used by researchers all over the world to underpin research in agriculture, biosecurity, biodiversity and climate change. From late 2023, we will bring all of our Canberra-based collections together in a single precinct around our new National Collections Building at Black Mountain.

The Role

Reporting to the National Collections and Marine Infrastructure (NCMI) Business Unit (BU) Director, the Program Director, National Research Collections Australia (NRCA) forms a key member of the NCMI leadership team and is accountable for setting and operationalising the scientific vision and strategy for NRCA. Concurrently, the Program Director will ensure that the risks inherent in the operation of the collections are effectively mitigated and that the outcomes are delivered in a manner that addresses national and global challenges.

The Program Director also holds the important role of Director CANBR (Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research) and is a member of the ATH (Australian Tropical Herbarium) Board. Managing these relationships while proactively developing and managing other relationships will be a key element of this role.

The Program Director will have the exciting opportunity to lead the NRCA transition to their brand new state-of-the-art National Collections Precinct and contribute to showcasing it to Australia and Internationally. Concurrently, there will be an opportunity to set a new compelling vision for the team, to establish new ways of working, to enhance capability and to look at new recruitment and retention strategies.

Location: Canberra, ACT Australia with a willingness and ability to travel interstate and, if required, internationally
Salary: AUD $174k - $187k + Motor Vehicle Allowance ($25k) + up to 15.4% superannuation (based on experience and negotiable for the right candidate)
Tenure: Indefinite CSOF8 and 3 year term as Program Director – full-time
Reference:  90855

To be considered for this exciting leadership role we are seeking:

  • an engaging and strategic Program Director who has experience managing a complex facility of comparable size and scale to NRCA.
  • experience establishing strategies and operationalising these with a visionary approach.
  • evidenced science leadership; strong business acumen; formidable financial skills and a proven ability to lead “best practice” change.
  • experience aligning operations to legislative and regulatory compliance; risk mitigation; high quality standards and best-practice governance.
  • a leader with strong interpersonal and communication skills; a proven ability to establish and maintain credible, respectful and collaborative relationships with their stakeholders and the confidence to speak with the media, at conferences and events and with the Minister’s Office.
  • inspirational people leadership focussed on a positive, supportive and high-performance culture.
  • an in-depth knowledge of biological collections and/or related science disciplines coupled with (ideally) a PhD (or equivalent) with significant experience in science from either a research or industry background.

For more information, please view the position description.


Applications for this position are open to Australian/New Zealand Citizens, Australian Permanent Residents or you must either hold, or be able to obtain, a valid working visa for the duration of the specified term. Appointment to this role is subject to provision of a background 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 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 with a CV and a cover letter or executive summary that outlines your motivations for applying and your key skills and experience to enable you to meet the requirements of this role.

Applications Close

Thursday 1st July, 2023 (11:59pm Australian Eastern Standard Time)

We encourage early applications as we reserve the right to close the advertising early if we find our desired candidate.

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