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Public Service Commission

Research Scientist Classification

The Research Scientist Classification recognises the importance of scientific research in the public service by providing a career structure for public service employees who mainly conduct and publish original research. The classification is used to develop and maintain the quality of scientific research and the resulting advice that is made available to the public service. For the purpose of the classification, scientific research is interpreted broadly. It extends from traditional disciplinary areas – including the natural and physical sciences, statistics and economics – to emerging scientific areas. Methodologically, scientific research ranges from conventional laboratory or field-based experimentation to computer-assisted modelling of entire natural or managed environmental systems. 

Any systematic research that is likely to lead to innovative changes and improvements to Government policy, programs and public services falls within the scope of the classification. This includes research that improves scientific understanding, the use and management of natural resources, education and extension, technology transfers and commercialisation. It is recognised that disciplinary fields for scientific investigation are always changing. Entry to, and continuation and progression in the classification are therefore not limited to those engaged in traditional, established fields of science. 

Details of the classification and the assessment criteria for each level of the classification.

There are four levels within the classification: Research Scientist, Senior Research Scientist, Principal Research Scientist, and Senior Principal Research Scientist. 

Details of the classification and the assessment criteria for each level of the classification are included in the Research Scientist Classification Policy and Guidelines. 

Who can apply for a classification

Entry to, and continuation and progression in the classification are open to all eligible full-time and part-time employees, subject to the committee’s assessment. 

Applications are invited from: 

  1. Employees seeking entry into the classification
  2. Scientists currently in the classification seeking to progress to a higher level
  3. Scientists seeking to continue in the classification in accordance with the Policy and Guidelines. 

How to apply

The Research Scientist Classification Committee calls for applications in mid-May each year by advertising on the Public Service Commission (PSC) website. The Committee assesses each application using relevant criteria and service requirements specified in the Research Scientist Classification Guidelines.  

Entry to the Classification, and progression and continuation within the Classification, are further subject to peer review to ensure an equitable and comparable assessment of applications. across the public service. 

Applicants are reminded that progression to higher levels is not to be expected as an automatic career progression. Each application will be assessed on its merits against the criteria for entry to each level.