Climate cuts land at CSIRO
The CSIRO has unveiled its formal restructuring plans, which include more than 275 job cuts.
CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall announced the changes in an email to staff this week, hoping to end months of uncertainty.
Environmental science appears to have taken the biggest hit, with 75 positions cut from the Oceans and Atmosphere division, 35 in Minerals, around 70 in Land and Water, 30 in Agriculture, 45 in Manufacturing and close to 20 in Food and Nutrition.
But the research body will set up a national climate research centre in Hobart for 40 full-time scientists.
Dr Marshall said talks with the CSIRO executive team and business leaders allowed the number of cuts to be reduced.
“The Executive Team [ET] and Business Leaders have refine[d] their business plans, lowering the number of staff reductions by 75 from our upper limit estimate of 350 to now be 275,” his email stated.
“To achieve this change, we won't be able to make as many new recruitments in the areas as previously planned.
“Our goal is still for our staffing numbers to return to the current level, but it will take us longer to achieve.
“I recognise that any redundancy is difficult for the person who is affected as well as their colleagues, and the ET and I do not underestimate the significance of these decisions.
“CSIRO will support our people through these difficult transitions,” Dr Marshall wrote.
Speaking to reporters after the announcement, Dr Marshall said the new climate change centre would have research capability for 10 years.
“As I indicated at the start of CSIRO's current broader change process, it is critical that we retain the capability that underpins our national climate research effort,” Dr Marshall said.
The centre is set to focus on climate modelling and environmental projections for Australia, drawing on international research expertise.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government is setting up an independent National Climate Science Advisory Committee.
The advisory committee will comprise representatives from the CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology, as well as experts from Australia and overseas.
“The centre, with support from the advisory committee, will allow scientists across the nation to provide a dedicated commitment to climate research in the nation's interest,” he said.
The CSIRO says it will seek a deeper partnership with the UK Meteorology Office to build new models that are more relevant for Australia and the Southern Hemisphere.
The organisation says it will maintain critical research efforts such as its ice and air libraries, the ARGO float program, and work by the RV Investigator research ship.