p0_Inside front cover_Yongala_Tom Bridge

Independent Chair of National Marine Science Committee Applications now open

Australia’s National Marine Science Committee (NMSC) is seeking an independent Chair to lead the next phase of its growth as the government finalises and implements its Sustainable Ocean Plan and marine sectors continue their focus on improved sustainability and pursuing net zero solutions.

The NMSC ensures a national approach to building the evidence required for effective policies and decision-making so Australia can address its ocean and coastal challenges.

It does this by bringing together Australia’s key marine science providers and users to foster collaboration, determine priorities, align research effort with priorities, evaluate capabilities and needs, foresight emerging issues and potential solutions, and continue Australia’s influence within the international marine science community.

The Chair will lead the NMSC and represent the membership in marine science research fora and cross-organisational meetings.

The role will be responsible for:

  • guidance in identifying and prioritising issues for the NMSC
  • acting as an Envoy for the NMSC to government and other key stakeholder groups and creating opportunities for the community
  • leading the NMSC response to the Sustainable Ocean Plan
  • coordinating NMSC stakeholder relationships
  • developing a sustainable strategy for the future of the NMSC, based on member expectations and following development of the Sustainable Ocean Plan, which is expected to take at least 3 to 6 months beyond the date of release of the SOP
  • managing meetings and their outcomes, and overseeing a small office and its staff

Skills and experience

As the leader of the NMSC, the Chair will bring relevant skills and experience and strong professional and personal networks in marine science, at a senior level, in one or more of the areas of marine science research and training, government policy, business and financial management, policy and advocacy.

The Chair must have a high level of personal and professional integrity and be recognised within the marine science and government arena.

Specifically, the Chair must be:

  1. committed to fulfilling the purpose and expectations of the NMSC.
  2. an experienced Chair with a respected reputation in the marine science arena
  3. familiar with government at both policy and departmental levels and how they make decisions.
  4. innovative and able to prioritise key issues for the NMSC and able to identify appropriate and effective solutions.
  5. familiar with international trends in marine science and higher education, and the policymakers and other bodies that have the most influence on global marine science and our oceans.
  6. influential with a track record in addressing and negotiating complex issues.
  7. experienced in translating science into effective policy with real world impact.
  8. able to promote the NMSC through representations to the highest levels of government and across the marine science research and associated sectors.
  9. committed to engaging with First Nations peoples.
  10. not currently employed by a member of the NMSC.


  1. The Chair will engage with an Executive comprising senior leaders of marine research organisations and universities from around the country, a network of expert working groups delivering the recommendations in the 2015-2025 National Marine Science Plan and a small executive office including:
    1. an Executive Officer (to be appointed) that manages the day-to-day business of the NMSC, organises meetings including agendas and meeting papers, participates in strategy development and implementation, managing financial and any other matters related to the effective functioning of the NMSC.
    2. an administrative
  2. Working with members, the Chair will investigate, assess and develop key NMSC priorities and identifying, or enabling, resources to effectively address those
  3. In collaboration with key stakeholders of Australian marine science, the Chair will identify national needs and how science may address those needs.
  4. Following release of the Sustainable Ocean Plan, the Chair will investigate the potential for the NMSC in the new policy environment and develop a strategy to ensure a sustainable future for the NMSC in some form, whether as an independent organisation or linked to The strategy must be acceptable to the members of the NMSC and above all, ensure continuity of the objectives of the NMSC in supporting investment in marine science research and its uptake and use.
  5. The Chair will also participate in performance evaluations undertaken at regular intervals of the Chair role and Executive with a focus on:
    1. Government engagement with the NMSC at Commonwealth and State levels
    2. Strategy development and implementation including the Sustainable Ocean Plan
    3. Progress in reforming NMSC governance during this period of transition
    4. Growth in the reputation and profile of the NMSC with government and other key stakeholders
    5. Effective NMSC operations

Time commitment

The Chair is expected to commit a day per week to the NMSC engaging with a support team and its membership. Additional time will be required before and after meetings of the NMSC and the appointee will need to be flexible to be available for major meetings with NMSC stakeholders and of the Australian marine science community.


The Chair will receive between $65,170 and $82,960 per annum depending on experience and be provided with an allowance for travel that will cover reasonable costs. It is expected that the

appointment will be for one year with extension depending on successful implementation of the NMSC Governance Review.


Applications must be submitted to secretariat@marinescience.net.au by 9 a.m. AEDT, Monday 15 January, 2024.

Applications will comprise your Curriculum Vitae accompanied by a letter of no more than three pages outlining your experience relative to the Skills and Experience described above and a short summary of your vision for Australian marine science and how it aligns with the NMSC.

Inquiries can be directed to either: