Public sector science gradings are assessed just as rigorously as academic posts, says Dr Rebecca Johnson.
Career advancement for academic researchers typically depends on strict objective measures of performance: grants won, papers published, reputational profile, and so on. And advancement for public sector research scientists is just as stringent – if not more so.
So it is gratifying that three Museum scientists – Drs Jeff Leis, Richard Major and Chris Reid – have been successful in their applications for progression in the latest round of research scientist classification interviews.
Museum (and other NSW Public Service) research scientists are required to appear before an external committee every three years to determine their grade and title. The scientists must present an extensive written and verbal overview of their research and contributions. The committee is extremely tough and often chooses not to upgrade the scientists – and may even downgrade them.
Jeff Leis is one of the Museum’s three Senior Principal Research Scientists (with Pat Hutchings and Robin Torrence) – a grade broadly equivalent to that of Professor. Jeff’s work on the settling behaviour of coral reef fish larvae continues to uncover the complex behaviour of these tiny fishes that is far removed from the passive drifters they were once assumed to be.
Chris Reid has stepped up to become a Principal Research Scientist (equivalent to Associate Professor) in recognition of his contribution to beetle taxonomy, especially the leaf beetle family Chrysomelidae. Richard Major has advanced within the Senior Research Scientist grading for his work on bird ecology, such as two of his current high profile projects on the White-fronted Chat and Australian White Ibis.
The Museum warmly congratulates these three on their personal and professional achievements. Their advancement is an external endorsement of the quality of the research being conducted at the Museum.
Dr Rebecca Johnson, Acting Head, Research
Brendan Atkins , Publications Coordinator