CSIRO shakeup chops into climate science jobs

CSIRO shakeup chops into climate science jobs


As part of a massive shake-up of Australia’s premier science organisation, the CSIRO, the climate science divisions of the organisation are expected to be pared back.

ABC News reports cuts are expected to be made within the Oceans and Atmosphere and Land and Water divisions and up to 350 positions in the organisation will change.

Australian-Labor-leader-Bill-ShortenABC News reports the CSIRO has said it will attempt to redeploy as many staff as possible into emerging areas such as data science, but there are likely to be redundancies in the process.

Labor Party opposition leader Bill Shorten said the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull should “hang his head in shame”.

“The only people cheering this decision from Malcolm Turnbull will be the far-right of the Liberal Party who are calling the shots,” Mr Shorten said.

“Under the Liberals Australia’s pollution levels are going up, and Malcolm Turnbull’s answer is to sack the experts who are working to cut pollution and find the innovations in renewable energy that will help create the jobs of the future in Australia,” he said.

adam-bandt-Aust-Green-MHR-rallyReacting to the announcement of a fresh round of cuts, Australian Greens Party deputy leader Adam Bandt hit out at the Prime Minister.

“Malcolm Turnbull is an innovation imposter if he allows these reported cuts at CSIRO to go ahead,” he said.

“In Paris, the Prime Minister said research and innovation are key to dealing with global warming, yet here at home the Liberal government’s cuts to the CSIRO mean that hundreds of climate scientists could be getting the axe.”

Dr Larry Marshall CSIRO chief executiveCSIRO chief executive Dr Larry Marshall said the changes would see the organisation move away from measuring and monitoring climate change, to instead focus on how to adapt to it.

“It’s inevitable that people who are gifted at measuring and modelling climate may not be the same people who are gifted at figuring out what to do about it how to mitigate it,” he said.

“Some of the climate scientists will be able to make that transition and some won’t.”

Dr Marshall said the shake-up was about renewal for the organisation and addressing the low turnover rates of staff.

christopher-pyne-Liberal“On the good side that means people love working for CSIRO but on the bad side most companies have much higher turnover than we do,” he said.

“The good thing about turnover is it creates a career path for junior scientists to aspire to.”

In a statement, a spokesman for Science Minister Christopher Pyne said: the moves were an operational decision of the CSIRO.

Mr Pyne added that after an extensive review, the management of the CSIRO have stated the need to re-organise the organisation to better fulfil its mission as outlined in its strategic plan.

CSIRO-beach-rubbish-examineIn 2014, Australia’s conservative Liberal-National government slashed more than $110 million from the organisation’s budget, prompting national protests.

The CSIRO Staff Association estimated that 1400 jobs had been lost at the organisation in the past two years.

However, scientists became far more optimistic when Mr Turnbull launched the National Innovation and Science Agenda in December last year.

Mr Turnbull committed $90 million to the CSIRO to support increased commercialisation of research.

turnbull-malcolm-climateHe also announced $75 million of funding to a CSIRO business unit known as Data61, which will focus research on areas such as cybersecurity and robotics.

At the time, Mr Pyne said organisations like the CSIRO were “among the best in the world”.

A senior scientist also questioned the government’s claim that the CSIRO was acting independently, noting the government had picked the CEO who then chose the board.

“Our biggest customer is the government, they have to approve all this,” the scientist said.