First listed on: 30 January 2023

 Principal Scientist


A career that matters. A contribution that counts.

Everyone at our Department recognises the importance of a healthy environment and an innovative society and economy. Whatever your job with us, you’ll strive and innovate to shape a better future for Queensland. Visit our careers website to learn more and meet some of our fantastic people.

The Opportunity

We have an opportunity for a highly experienced water quality scientist within the Science & Technology division. The Water Quality & Investigations unit is responsible for monitoring the waterways of South-East Queensland and Great Barrier Reef catchments for sediments, nutrients, and pesticides. As the Principal Scientist you will lead a team of 15+ scientists and be responsible for the strategic management and leadership of the monitoring programs.

In this role, you’ll find: 

A purpose and a challenge that matter
This is a rewarding opportunity because you will play a key role in keeping Queensland’s waterways healthy. This is also a challenging role that will require enthusiasm for, and dedication to, the understanding and communication of water quality issues in Queensland. You will be an ambassador for the Great Barrier Reef Catchment Loads Monitoring program and required to communicate with ease across various stakeholders, including Government agencies, universities, agricultural industry groups and land holders.

Passionate, positive, down to earth people        
Reporting to the Science Leader, you will lead a close-knit team of scientists. Every scientist in the team knows what they do matters. The whole team works hard and will be expecting their Principal Scientist to share their enthusiasm and drive. There are no weak links in this team! You will also need to be attentive to the career-development needs of your team.

Diverse, interesting work and experiences

Because the team is relatively small, the day-to-day work will be extremely diverse. A day can begin with discussions on the minutia of monitoring issues, negotiating a contract with a regional water quality sampler or university partner and end with a presentation to heads of Government departments. Although primarily a strategic and managerial role, you may be required to help with field work, and you will always need to balance competing short and long-term priorities and timelines.

Opportunities to learn, discover and grow

You’ll be supported to grow and refine your expertise in the management of a team and the communication of science and work with other experts across Queensland and Australia. With the opportunity to build your capability within a supportive culture, many of our scientists have progressed their career with us.

A collaborative, innovative environment

Located in Dutton Park, you will work in a contemporary building, with state-of-the-art facilities, which is easily accessible by both bus and rail. You’ll be part of dynamic and creative work environment, supporting creative thinking and respect of team members to deliver on group tasks. At DES, we encourage one another to share our experience so we can all learn, improve, and innovate.

You’ll need:      

  • A university degree in one of the following fields: science, mathematics, environmental management, applied sciences, biological sciences, or environmental engineering. Other closely related disciplines may be considered. Please see the position description for further details.
  • Demonstrable experience in the management of large-scale water quality monitoring programs.
  • Demonstrable experience in the communication of science to broad and varied audiences.
  • The ability to manage a team and sustain positive relationships with team members.
  • The flexibility to work away from your normal business centre, including overnight stays for up to five days. This will be compensated for as appropriate.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Shortlisted applicants will be asked to agree to a police check.
  • Applicants must have the legal right to work in Australia.

To apply

Apply online at

  • include your current resume (of no more than six pages).
  • provide a short statement (of no more than two pages) explaining why you are interested in the role


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