CSIRO Winanga-y Postdoctoral Fellowship in the True Cost of Food

Date Posted: 13 Nov 2023

Location: Brisbane, QLD, AU

Company: CSIRO

Acknowledgement of Country

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The Opportunity

  • Do you have a PhD in agricultural systems, agri-food systems, sustainability science, environmental or natural resource economics?
  • Outstanding opportunity to partner with other CSIRO initiatives such as the Food Systems Horizons Initiative, Towards Net Zero Emissions Mission and the Valuing Sustainability Future Science Platform.  
    Join the CSIRO Agriculture and Food Sustainability Program for this exciting 3-year postdoctoral role


We are thrilled to be able to deliver on the commitment we made in our strategy to invest in frontier science with the new CSIRO Agriculture & Food Winanga-y Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme. The word Winanga-y (pronounced win-na-gnay) is a cultural asset gifted by the Gomeroi Nation in Myall Vale to CSIRO's Agriculture and Food Business Unit to name the new Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme. Winanga-y means to understand, know, remember, and think.


CSIRO Early Research Career (CERC) Postdoctoral Fellowships provide opportunities to scientists and engineers who have completed their doctorate and have less than three years of relevant postdoctoral work experience. These fellowships aim to develop the next generation of future leaders of the innovation system.

Ensuring sustainable food systems that meet our United Nations Sustainable Development Goals requires a significant reduction of their negative environmental, socio-economic and health impacts while making healthy and sustainable food affordable to all. A major challenge of current food systems is that the impact of many direct and indirect costs is externalised (i.e., not reflected in market prices), such as food waste, biodiversity loss, greenhouse gas emissions, or malnutrition due to unhealthy diets. Not accounting for externalities from food production, distribution and consumption leads to unintended consequences, including damaging our natural capital, social injustice, food insecurity, public health costs and premature death. 

A first step to address externalities in the food system is to expose them and redefine the cost of food. Such analyses can be realised by True Cost Accounting (TCA). TCA is an emerging field of science that supports the urgently needed systemic measurement and valuation of environmental, but also social, health and economic costs and benefits, to facilitate sustainable choices and investments by governments and food system stakeholders. 
The CERC Fellow will integrate national and international expertise, tools, and data, and refine TCA methodologies, to identify and estimate the true cost of externalities in the Australian food system, and to identify gaps and priorities for further research.

This position is embedded in the CSIRO Agriculture and Food Sustainability Program, which includes researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds who are interested in delivering pathways and technologies to catalyse environmentally sustainable and socially just transitions in the agri-food system.


Your duties will include:

  • Carrying out innovative, impactful research of strategic importance to CSIRO that will, where possible, lead to novel and important scientific outcomes.  
  • Reviewing the components of the true costs of agri-food systems and identify gaps.
  • Contributing to the refinement of TCA methods to assess the true costs of externalities in food systems, in general and in an Australian context.
  • Collecting and analysing datasets to generate estimates of the current true cost of negative externalities in the Australian food system, and associated uncertainty assessment to inform future research.
  • Engaging with knowledge and methodologies that originate from various disciplines, including economics, climate change, biodiversity, human health, social sciences, natural capital accounting, life-cycle assessment, etc.


Location: St Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland

Salary: AU$92k - AU$101k plus up to 15.4% superannuation

Tenure: Specified term of 3 years

Reference: 95063


To be considered you will need:

  • A doctorate (or will shortly satisfy the requirements of a PhD) in a relevant discipline area, such as agricultural systems, agri-food systems, sustainability science, environmental or natural resource economics. Please note: To be eligible for this role you must have no more than 3 years (full-time equivalent) of postdoctoral research experience.
  • Demonstrated experience in environmental economics and related concepts, such as externalities and contingent valuation methods, AND/OR experience in accounting methodologies like true cost accounting, life-cycle assessment, natural capital accounting, or similar. 
  • Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of agrifood systems, its key stakeholders, and its challenges and opportunities.  
  • Demonstrated ability to analyse data using R, Python or similar software. 
  • A sound history of publication in peer reviewed journals and/or authorship of scientific reports, grant applications or patents. 


For full details about this role 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 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. Source – 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.


Applications Close

12 December 2023, 11:00pm AEDT

11:00 PM

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