Project Leader - Indigenous Science & Biological Collections (Identified Role - Indigenous)

Date: 27 Mar 2024

Location: Canberra, ACT, AU Hobart, TAS, AU Melbourne, VIC, AU Perth, WA, AU Cairns, QLD, AU Darwin, NT, AU Brisbane, QLD, AU Sydney, NSW, AU Adelaide, SA, AU Townsville, QLD, AU

Company: CSIRO

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

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The opportunity


  • Leverage your passion for Indigenous Science and environmental research in an impactful role
  • Be a leading voice in acknowledging the value of Indigenous science and knowledge systems
  • Make a lasting change in CSIRO's commitment to improve collaborations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 


At CSIRO's NCMI (National Collections and Marine Infrastructure business unit) our goal is to solve Australia’s greatest challenges by leading Australia’s landmark marine and biodiversity infrastructure and carrying out innovative science.


At NCMI, we are custodians of the National Research Collections Australia (NRCA) which is home to 15 million natural history specimens that are used to understand Australia’s rich biodiversity.  We also host the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), a collaborative, digital, open infrastructure that pulls together Australian biodiversity data from multiple sources (including NRCA), making it accessible and reusable. The collections, their associated digital infrastructure and the ALA, help to create a more detailed picture of Australia’s biodiversity for scientists, policy makers, environmental planners and land managers, industry and the general public.


As the Project Leader for Indigenous Science & Biological Collections, you will help NCMI embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices and views within CSIRO’s National Research Collections and the Atlas of Living Australia.
You will establish and undertake a co-design process with an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander reference group to identify areas of mutual benefit and build opportunities for co-designed and Indigenous-led science.
You will contribute to establishing trusted relationships with Indigenous cultural knowledge holders, Indigenous organisations and relevant Australian initiatives, including ones related to Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property and Indigenous Data Sovereignty.  

The project will review our policies and practices for the management and use of biological specimens and associated data, to identify any gaps in relation to CSIRO and national policies and international agreements. 

This is an opportunity to lead our step change to acknowledge the value of Indigenous science and knowledge systems and contribute to new ways of working and research. This work will contribute to CSIRO’s commitment to improve collaborations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in transforming the Australian science landscape, towards a future innovation system, in which Indigenous science, governance, cultural knowledge and practice are acknowledged and interwoven with western science.

Your duties will include:

  • Leading and managing the Indigenous Science and CSIRO’s national research collections and digital infrastructure project, including project management and planning, financial management.
  • Working with multiple teams and stakeholders to co-design, plan and co-deliver the project, and then monitor and manage the establishment and effectiveness of the project.
  • Establishing and providing support to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander reference group and CSIRO project advisory group.
  • Engaging with and establishing trusted relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural knowledge holders, communities and organisations to identify research opportunities which are determined by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders.
  • Establishing relationships with relevant CSIRO stakeholders and business units who will provide guidance to the project and establishing and maintaining effective communication with key contacts.
  • Establishing collaborative relationships with relevant initiatives (such as Australian Research Data Commons Indigenous data commons), where appropriate. 
  • Engaging expertise as required to support NRCA and ALA to deliver project elements, as appropriate.
  • In conjunction with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples supporting initiatives aimed at focussing activities which address social and cultural acceptance of recognising and valuing Indigenous knowledge systems and science.
  • Other duties as directed.


Location: Negotiable, Canberra preferred

Salary: AU$126,313 - AU$148,014 per annum (pro-rata for part-time) plus up to 15.4% superannuation

Tenure: Specified term of 3 years, Flexible full-time or part-time (23-37 hours per week)

Reference: 96137

To be considered you will need:



  • A PhD (or equivalent) or managerial qualifications relevant to the delivery of science.
  • Strong interest, or experience in Indigenous Science and an ability to provide, engage and communicate Indigenous knowledges and perspectives on work related projects and a demonstrated track-record of genuine consideration of Traditional Owners and Custodians as part of a project process and outcomes.
  • Experience representing an organisation and/or research team in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities and respectfully delivering against organisational objectives.
  • Knowledge of research collections, or biodiversity digital infrastructure, or biodiversity/environmental science, or relevant area.
  • Experience in leading effective science or technology teams, preferably multi-disciplinary teams, to develop innovative approaches.
  • High-level written and oral communication skills, evidenced by advanced reporting, presentation and negotiation abilities.
  • A proven ability to foster effective relationships, both within CSIRO and with external partners.


  • Experience is working with frameworks and principles associated with Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property and Indigenous Data Sovereignty.
  • Experience in working with external and internal reference or advisory groups.


For full details about this role please review the Position Description


CSIRO considers the filling of this position is intended to constitute a special/equal opportunity/affirmative measure under section 8(1) of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth).


The position is therefore only open to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people with Australian Citizenship. The successful applicant will be required to provide evidence to confirm that they are an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person.


The successful applicant is required to provide contact details of at least one Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Cultural Referee to confirm their ability to work and communication respectfully with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.


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.


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

28th April 2024, 11:00pm AEST/AEDT