Postdoctoral fellowship in Climate Forecasts and Risk

Reference Number: 57679
Classification: CSOF4
Salary Range: AU $80,833 to AU $91,451 plus up to 15.4% superannuation
Location: Hobart TAS
Tenure: Specified Term of 3 years (or part time equivalent)
Relocation assistance: Will be provided to the successful candidate if required.
Applications are open to: All Candidates
Functional Area: Research Scientist / Engineer - Postdoc
% Client Focus - Internal: 50%
% Client Focus - External: 50%
Reports to the: Team Leader - Climate Processes
Number of Direct Reports: 0

Role Overview:

Postdoctoral Fellowships at CSIRO provide opportunities to scientists and engineers who have completed their doctorate and have less than three years relevant postdoctoral work experience. These fellowships will help launch their careers, provide experience that will enhance their career prospects, and facilitate the recruitment and development of potential leaders for CSIRO.

Postdoctoral Fellows are appointed for up to three years or part time equivalent and will work closely with a leading Research Scientist or Engineer in their respective field. They carry out innovative, impactful research of strategic importance to CSIRO with the possibility of novel and important scientific outcomes. They present the findings in appropriate publications and at conferences.

Climate variability and extremes such as drought and extreme rain can have substantial impacts on agricultural and water resource systems. This position addresses climate risk posed by extremes and the use of climate forecasts to mitigate this risk in agriculture and water systems.

The project will examine how climate extremes impact water and agricultural systems, and how these extremes are characterised in forecast models. The project will assess the skill of forecasts of extremes, methods for calibrating climate forecasts for agricultural and hydrological models, and the utility of forecasts of climate extremes at a range of spatial scales. The emphasis is on following the chain of uncertainty and quantifying the risks posed by climate extremes in these critical sectors of the economy.

Duties and Key Result Areas:

  • Under the direction of senior research scientists, carry out innovative, impactful research of strategic importance to CSIRO that will, where possible, lead to novel and important scientific outcomes.
  • Characterise critical climate extremes in selected water resource and agricultural systems.
  • Assess decisions impacted by climate extremes in these systems.
  • Collaborate with colleagues to assess the relevant climate extremes in forecast systems.
  • Develop dynamical diagnostics to assess the mechanisms underlying key climate extremes.
  • Develop metrics to assess the skill of forecasts of climate extremes and test forecasts at a range of spatial scales.
  • Apply calibrated climate forecasts to a hierarchy of crop models and basin hydrological models.
  • Quantify the utility of climate forecasts relative to existing approaches.
  • Undertake regular reviews of relevant literature and patents.
  • Produce high quality scientific and/or engineering papers suitable for publication in quality journals, for client reports and granting of patents.
  • Prepare appropriate conference papers and present those at conferences as agreed with your supervisor.
  • Contribute to the development of innovative concepts and ideas for further research.
  • Make a contribution to the effective functioning of the research team and help deliver CSIRO's organisational objectives and plans.
  • Work collaboratively with colleagues within your team, the business unit and across CSIRO.
  • Communicate effectively and respectfully with all staff, clients and suppliers in the interests of good business practice, collaboration and enhancement of CSIRO's reputation.
  • Adhere to the spirit and practice of CSIRO's Values, Health, Safety and Environment plans and policies, Diversity initiatives and Zero Harm goals.
  • Undertake an appropriate training and development program developed by CSIRO.
  • Other duties as directed.

CSIRO's postdoctoral training program is developed between the Postdoctoral Fellow and a CSIRO scientist or engineer. The program will focus on enhancing the Fellows' capabilities to the level expected of an independent researcher and will include on-the-job and course-based development encompassing:

  • Discipline-specific techniques and protocols
  • Professional growth
  • Project management
  • Communication and influencing skills
  • Working and collaborating with others

Selection Criteria:

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


  1. Education/Qualifications: A doctorate (or will shortly satisfy the requirements of a PhD) in a relevant discipline area, such as science, engineering, mathematics, or statistics.
    Please note: To be eligible for this role you must have no more than 3 years (or part time equivalent) of relevant postdoctoral experience.
  2. Communication: High level written and oral communication skills with the ability to represent the research team effectively internally and externally, including at national and international conferences.
  3. Publications: A record of publications in quality, peer reviewed journals.
  4. Behaviours: A history of professional and respectful behaviours and attitudes in a collaborative environment.

Essential Criteria:

  1. Experience analysing and interpreting geophysical datasets.
  2. Proven sound knowledge of statistics.
  3. Proven sound programming practice and experience with R, matlab, python, or equivalent.
  4. The ability to work effectively as part of a multi-disciplinary, regionally dispersed research team, plus the motivation and discipline to carry out autonomous research.
  5. A record of science innovation and creativity, plus the ability & willingness to incorporate novel ideas and approaches into scientific investigations.

Desirable Criteria:

  1. Some familiarity with hydrological or crop modelling or sectoral models.
  2. Understanding of weather and climate.
  3. Experience with the application of forecast data to assess risk and operational decisions.

As Australia's Innovation Catalyst, CSIRO has strategic actions underpinned by behaviours aligned to:

  • Excellent science
  • Inclusion, trust & respect
  • Health, safety & environment
  • Delivery on commitments.

In your application and at interview you will need to demonstrate alignment with these behaviours.

To be appointed as a Postdoctoral Fellow within CSIRO, candidates are required to have submitted their PhD at the time of commencement, as a minimum requirement, if PhD conferment has not been obtained. If a candidate has submitted, but their PhD has not yet been formally attained, the starting salary will be CSOF4-1 AU$80,833 per annum. Upon CSIRO receiving written confirmation that the PhD has been awarded (within a six month period from commencement date), the salary will be increased to the negotiated level and the difference will be back-paid to the Officer's start date.

Special requirements:

Appointment to this role may be subject to conditions including security/medical/character clearance requirements. Applicants who are not Australian Citizens or Permanent Residents may be required to undergo additional security clearance processes; which may include medical examinations and an international standardised test of English language proficiency (i.e. IELTS test).-

Other Information:

How to Apply

Please apply for this position online at and enter requisition number 57679. Internal applicants please apply via 'Jobs Central' in SAP (click 'Recruitment')

Please load your CV and cover letter (Maximum 2MB). You may also be required to respond to some screening questions.

If you experience difficulties applying online call 1300 984 220 for assistance. Outside Australian business hours please email:

Referees: Please provide contact details of two previous supervisor or academic/professional referees in your resume/CV. We will ask your permission before making contact.

Contact: If after reading the position details above you require more information please contact:
Dr James Risbey via email: or phone: +61 3 6232 5086

Please do not email your application directly to Dr Risbey. Applications received via this method may not be considered by the selection panel.


Australia is founding its future on science and innovation. Its national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is a powerhouse of ideas, technologies and skills for building prosperity, growth, health and sustainability. It serves governments, industries, business and communities across the nation.

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We work flexibly at CSIRO, offering a range of options for how, when and where you work. Talk to us about how this role could be flexible for you.

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CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere provides the knowledge to manage Australia's marine estate and atmospheric environment, plan for and respond to weather and climate related natural hazards and ensure sustainable coastal development and growth of marine industries.

posted: 10 July 2018     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.