Principal Scientist- 1 year fixed term

  • Company:
    Govt NZ Jobs
  • Location:
  • Salary:
    negotiable / month
  • Job type:
  • Posted:
    2 weeks ago
  • Category:
  • Job Type:
  • Category: Other
  • Location: Wellington
  • Date Advertised: 14-OCT-20
  • Job Reference: MFE/1478137
  • Job Title: Principal Scientist- 1 year fixed term
  • Business Unit:
  • Division:
  • Summary:

Ministry for the Environment

The Ministry’s purpose – he whenua mana kura mō te tangata – is to make New Zealand the most liveable place in the world – for our kids, their children and grandchildren. This means we act as stewards for the environment, so that New Zealand and New Zealanders continue to prosper.

We tackle the hottest issues that impact on the environment, supporting New Zealand’s prosperity – economic, social and cultural, without compromising our environment for future generations.

The Ministry’s goal to make New Zealand the most liveable place in the world is a considerable responsibility and one we take seriously



The Principal Scientist cohort is the nexus of a growing internal senior science network. A collective resource that assist in advancing and delivering on the Ministry’s overall science strategy led by our Departmental Chief Science Advisor/Kaitohutohu Mātanga Pūtaiao Matua.

Our recently established Principal Scientist cohort play’s a key role in driving science impact, with responsibility for strengthening our understanding of the environment, enhancing our capability to draw on information across knowledge systems and sciences, and translating information to enhance the quality of the Ministry’s work. We all work as ‘One MfE’. The cohort of Principal Scientists are therefore lateral thinkers that enjoy taking part in conversations within and outside their respective area(s) of specialisation, are open to different knowledge systems and will engage across the Ministry’s portfolio of work.


The position (1 year fixed-term)

As a Principal Scientist, you will be a lead advisor in your area of specialisation as well as contribute across the Ministry’s work bringing a long-term whole-of-Ministry perspective. You will bring a science-based perspective and input, champion the use of evidence and systems thinking in the development of strategy and policy, be well connected across the science system, and provide guidance on the generation and commissioning of relevant science and science advice.  You will be instrumental in enhancing the scientific capability, capacity, and reputation of the Ministry and reaching out to knowledge systems and communities of interest.

We are particularly looking to increase the Ministry’s expertise and depth in behavioural science.

The role is challenging and the scope for making a difference is huge.  We would love to hear from you if you have:

  • A post-graduate qualification in science, preferably at doctoral level.  
  • Strong and credible reputation as a senior and respected scientist, with a nationally and/or internationally distinguished record in an area of research relevant to the Ministry.
  • High level of knowledge of research methodology, including emerging and innovative approaches, and extensive experience in working with a range of methods.
  • Curiosity and willingness to work in cross-disciplinary environments.
  • Sound judgement and awareness of how to translate data and evidence into insights that will inform strategy and policy advice.
  • Ability to work across all forms of knowledge system including mātauranga and are open and inclusive of all world views.
  • Ability to use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions.
  • An understanding of the machinery of government processes, systems and tools.
  • Experience in, or knowledge of, the landscape within which the Ministry operates.
  • Ability to mentor people within the organisation and lead the development of scientific capability.
  • Highly developed communication skills both oral and written that enables the person to explain complex issues clearly to a range of audiences, including non-technical experts.
  • Ability to build strong relationships with others.
  • An understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, tikanga Māori and the Vision Mātauranga Policy.
  • Broad networks across the research innovation system.
  • Track record of research innovation funding application success.

The Principal Scientist range is from $148,206 to $186,317

If you require further information about this position please contact Nicola Scott (  The PD is attached to the MfE careers site.


How to apply

Apply online by completing the questionnaire and submit along with your resume and cover letter outlining your interest in the role.

If you require further information on the application process, please contact

Applications close - 4 November 2020