Scientist – Plant Physiology

Plant & Food Research
Full Time
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Job Details: 

A bit about us
At Plant & Food Research, we believe science can create a better future. By finding smarter, greener options today, we're helping secure the world we want to live in tomorrow. With our partners, we use world-leading science to improve the way they grow, fish, harvest and share food. Every day, we have 1000 people working across New Zealand, Australia and the rest of the world to help deliver healthy foods from the world's most sustainable systems.

Purpose of the Position
To conduct research on optimisation of fruit and nut production and enhancement of fruit and nut quality.  The position will contribute to, develop, and lead research programmes on the development of innovative production technologies from both an applied and a fundamental perspective.  The focus is to optimise fruit and nut yield and quality via sustainable pathways.

Activities will involve research-based in Australia and New Zealand primarily on almonds, apples and pears with collaborative opportunities in summer fruit and other perennial crops. The research will concentrate on areas of crop optimisation, fruit and nut quality and plant development. 

This position is part of a team well known for these activities and has strong research links with breeding, molecular genomics, plant architectural development and modelling, postharvest science, bioengineering, and production footprinting.


  • Responsible for and significant contributor to team research programmes or objectives relevant to signals from commercial and public clients.
  • Source funding for research projects from commercial clients both within Australia/New Zealand and offshore, including developing budgets for contracts and delivering on the contracts on time and within budget.

  • Contribute to development and delivery on contracts from Australian and New Zealand government agencies.

  • Develop constructive working relationships with PFR, Australian, New Zealand and International scientists and clients to facilitate collaborative research.

  • Foster relationships with clients and end-users.

  • Conceptualise, design and manage field experiments including imposing treatments, collection and preparation of plant material for further assessment, and collection of ancillary data.

  • Ensure accurate and timely data collection, preparation, curation and analysis.

  • Write reports for commercial clients and prepare publishable scientific and colloquial research papers and articles in English.

  • Present research at industry, client and scientific meetings and conferences.

  • Always act to enhance Plant & Food Research’s scientific and industry reputation.

Person Specification

Professional Knowledge and Skills

  • PhD in plant sciences, horticulture or plant physiology.

  • Excellent ability and experience in plant science research from both applied and fundamental perspectives. A sound publication record would be an advantage.

  • Broad understanding of, and experience in, plant production and nut or fruit production systems (preferably temperate fruit crops).

  • Sound knowledge of experimental design, sampling, data collection/collation and analysis.

  • Relevant computing skills such as the use of software for spreadsheets, statistical analysis, word processing, and graphical display.

  • Laboratory and instrumental experience relevant to crop ecophysiology.

  • Ability to communicate in English effectively, both orally and in writing.

  • Ability to effectively lead and supervise other science and casual staff.

  • Flexibility to work outside normal working hours as required, according to seasonal demands.

  • A current full driver’s licence and ability to travel domestically and internationally as required.

Professional Behaviours

The holder of this position is expected to consistently demonstrate the behaviours described in the Plant & Food Research Leadership Framework.  These include:

  • Personal Characteristics, which means: being generous, having courage, showing humility, being self-aware, trustworthy and positive.

  • Personal Capability, which means: demonstrating personal expertise, problem-solving, being innovative or managing innovation, having business acumen, and professional development.

  • Focus On Results, which means: taking responsibility for results, organising and setting standards.

  • Interpersonal, which means: communication, collaborating with others, building relationships, inspiring and developing people.

  • Leading Change, which means: having a strategic perspective or a sense of the “bigger picture”, championing or participating in change, and connecting to the outside world, or bringing in fresh ideas.

Measures of Performance

An annual review of performance will be conducted by a Senior Scientist in the Temperate Tree Physiology Team.

Success in this role will be measured by:

  • Demonstrated performance against the accountabilities listed above

  • Ability to operate within recognised safety standards to ensure personal and team safety.

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Urrbrae, South Australia