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Executive Leader, Vertical Farming Program, University of Queensland, Australia




Executive Leader, Vertical Farming Program, University of Queensland


CTI has been retained by the University of Queensland to help them identify candidates for a professor level role in protected cropping systems. This position represents a unique opportunity to contribute multi-disciplinary research in plant science in close collaboration with industry and government, as well as to train and develop the next generation of plant scientists.

The Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) is a research institute of the University of Queensland (UQ) which was established in 2010, and which is comprised of four research centres - the Centre for Crop Science, the Centre for Horticultural Science, the Centre for Animal Science and the Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences. QAAFI’s team of 450 researchers, postgraduate students and support staff undertake high impact science for agriculture and food industries. The institute’s strong partnership with the Queensland Government provides researchers with a direct link to the agriculture industry in Queensland, and world class field research facilities throughout the state. Agriculture is one of UQ’s highest ranked research fields nationally and internationally and QAAFI is a global leader in agricultural research in subtropical and tropical production systems. QAAFI scientists are driven to make a difference to the agriculture and food industries and have over 150 collaborators worldwide.

Professorial Research Fellow, Protected Cropping (University of Queensland)

The Centre for Horticultural Science seeks to appoint an outstanding Professorial Research Fellow to shape, expand, coordinate and execute the research on protected horticulture for tropical and subtropical crops. This position will be key in leading UQ’s strategic agenda to develop new initiatives in protected horticulture, in collaboration with multiple stakeholders both locally and internationally. As a research focused academic at level E (Professor Rank), the incumbent is expected to demonstrate outstanding leadership in guiding the development of others, coordinating major funding initiatives, and exhibiting intellectual leadership beyond his or her specific area of research. Position responsibilities:

  • Develop and lead significant and strategic UQ led initiatives on protected horticulture for tropical and subtropical crops that yield new insights and opportunities in strong engagement with industry, government, and broader disciplinary areas.
  • Initiate and lead major funding initiatives in the field of protected horticulture, acting as the Chief Investigator in applications for external research funding, which includes actively seeking, obtaining and managing research funding.
  • Work closely with colleagues and postgraduates both within QAAFI and across UQ in the development of joint research projects within the fields of cultivation, greenhouse climate, plant physiology, water management, plant nutrition, crop health, data analytics and product quality.
  • Undertake research in the field of protected horticulture for tropical and subtropical crops and apply with reference to the construction of new plant growth research facilities.
  • Maintain a record of international recognition and leadership by publishing in high quality national and international research journals, other appropriate refereed publications and conference publications.
  • Work with UQ colleagues, UniQuest (the university’s commercialisation company), industry, government and research partners in the development and leadership of transdisciplinary research projects for impact and translation of the research results into practical applications for the Horticultural industry and implementation into practice.
  • Act as Principal supervisor for Higher Degree by Research students.
  • Contribute to the processes that enable the academic team to manage the work of the Centre, including participation in Centre decision-making and serving on Centre, Institute and UQ committees.
  • Maintain contacts with national and international stakeholders and promote an active translation of research results into practical applications and implementations.
  • Represent the Centre, Institute and UQ as required, and therefore act as a theme leader within the area of protected horticulture for tropical and subtropical crops.
  • Mentor and support early to mid-career research academics for success; participate in developing education and training programmes in protected cropping.
  • Act as a leader in service and engagement by sustaining strategic relationships with industry (sectoral bodies, corporates, SMEs, start-ups), government departments (state and federal), professional bodies and the wider community, participating on advisory bodies/ committees and acting in leadership roles in relevant professional or sectorial bodies.
  • Make outstanding contributions to the governance of the Centre and Institute, including displaying appropriate leadership behaviours, demonstrating a high level of collaboration and participation in decision-making, service on relevant committees and mentoring less experienced QAAFI staff.


Job Requirements

  • PhD in a relevant discipline as well as an in-depth knowledge and understanding of protected horticulture;
  • Demonstrated success in leading a research program;
  • Demonstrated skills in the independent design, acquiring, management, execution and reporting of research projects;
  • A distinguished record of contribution to research in protected horticulture. Thorough knowledge of plant physiological processes, interaction with (greenhouse) climate and the technical design of cultivation systems;
  • An international reputation and a wide range of relationships with key academic, industry and professional institutes, partners and stakeholders;
  • Experience in people leadership, mentoring and management;
  • Knowledge of the horticultural sector; knowledge of the protected horticulture for tropical and subtropical crops sector would be highly regarded.


If you are interested in this role or can provide suggested contacts for CTI on this search, please contact us in confidence. Our search is not confidential and this document may be redistributed.



Dave Jensen, Managing Director, Skype: daveproactive

(928) 274-2266




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