First listed on: 13 September 2023

Senior Research Scientist - Sustainable Farming Systems


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

  • Join the world-class farming systems research program at CSIRO 
  • Contribute to developing more environmentally sustainable  farming systems in Australia and internationally
  • Lead and collaborate with industry, government and the community to  make a real-world difference

Join the innovative and impact-focused research at CSIRO Agriculture and Food to deliver science and technology that increase the resilience and sustainability of agricultural systems. 

As a Senior Research Scientist you will play a leadership role in environmental and economic sustainability of a range of farming systems, including tropical and temperate cropping and, potentially, livestock farming systems. In this role you will develop and lead research to create opportunities for farmers to respond to economic instruments (e.g. insurance, carbon pricing), market opportunities (e.g. for sustainable agrifoods supply chains) and/or regulations to improve sustainability of their business.

Key outcome areas include reducing greenhouse gas footprints and/or water quality impacts and helping build market confidence in the sustainability of these farming systems. These impacts may be achieved either by directly influencing farmer’s management, through guidance to policy, or through contributing to market-based instruments to incentivise changed farm management. 

CSIRO’s approach is impact-focussed, and so the role will work closely with industry and stakeholders and will deliver to CSIRO’s Impact targets of Resilient Farming Systems, Improved Footprint and Trusted Supply Chains.

Your duties will include:

  • Work with various CSIRO staff to develop and implement broadly applicable, innovative strategies to increase economic and environmental sustainability diverse farming systems.
  • Engage closely with industry, government, business and/or community to identify their needs and market directions to increase farming system sustainability. 
  • Lead and collaborate in multi-disciplinary research projects with other scientists and support staff across CSIRO and other institutions.
  • Conceptualise, develop and test with farmers and other stakeholders novel information systems that can be deployed at broad scale.
  • Generate new theoretical perspectives, new ideas and approaches to the problems of enhancing the sustainability of agricultural systems. 
  • Publish papers suitable in high quality scientific journals, and present research at relevant industry and academic conferences.
  • Adhere to the spirit and practice of CSIRO’s Values, Code of Conduct, Health, Safety and Environment procedures and policy, Diversity initiatives and Zero Harm goals. 
  • Other duties as directed.

Location: Brisbane/Toowoomba-Forrest Hill Research Station, Queensland
Salary:  AU$121,455 -$142,321 plus up to 15.4% superannuation
Tenure:  Indefinite, Full-time
Reference:  87022

To be considered you will need:

Under CSIRO policy only those who meet all essential criteria can be appointed.

  • A PhD (or an equivalent combination of qualifications and research experience) in a relevant field, for example quantitative farming systems science (e.g. cropping systems or environmental modelling) or data science with practical application to farming systems management.
  • Demonstrated leadership of original, creative and innovative research by generating and pursuing novel ideas and solutions to scientific research problems.
  • Leadership/management of original research, conducted with and through multi-disciplinary project teams, with strong industry/stakeholder engagement.
  • Success in gaining support to fund research projects and capacity to collaborate with key stakeholders including but not limited to farmers, industry partners and research providers.
  • A demonstrated publication history of authorship on scientific papers in peer reviewed journals and/or reports, grant applications or inventorship on patent applications.
  • Possession of an Australian C class (motor car) license (or ability to obtain via an international license).


  • Experience and knowledge of how economic, policy and other instruments can be used in influencing farmers’ decision making, and how these tools can be made more effective.
  • Experience in the innovative application and/or development of farming systems simulation models (e.g. APSIM) and other qualitative techniques.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and application of contemporary data management approaches, such as using R, python, javascript, etc.
  • Understanding of the potential of digital agricultural and/or precision farming technologies to increase the sustainability of farming systems.
  • Ability to travel to field sites and other locations for short time periods (e.g. 2-10 days).

For full details about this role please view the position description. 


Applications for this position are open to all 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. 

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

CSIRO is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people involved in our activities and programs, whether we are undertaking research, engaging with the public or nurturing future scientists in person or online.  CSIRO Child Safe policy 2023

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. (We strongly encourage you to respond to each of the selection criteria in detail and attach it to your cover letter as one document).

Please note: This position has been previously advertised. It is advertised again with a slight change in the scope. If you have applied to this position earlier, please refrain from re-applying on-line as we already have your application in our database. However, if you wish to express your interest (send your updated application documents) to Dr Peter Thorburn via email  

Applications Close

Monday 23rd October 2023 at 11PM, AEST. 

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