2021 Hear from CSIRO Alumni – CERC Postdoc event

July 14th, 2021

14 July 2021 online event

We heard from a panel of CSIRO Alumni talking about their career journeys after working at CSIRO. This was a great opportunity for our CERC Postdocs to hear about roles outside of the organisation and potential career options. The panellist gave their insights, advice and tips on life after CSIRO to help in planning a scientific career.

The event was hosted by Dr Kathie McGregor who is the CSIRO Research Director, Advanced Materials and Processing

Kathie has more than 20 years experience as a research leader at CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency. Her expertise in electrochemistry and high temperature chemistry has been applied in battery technology, light metal production, alloy design and sensor development, and she has led numerous R&D projects with Australian and international companies. Kathie is the Research Director for the Advanced Materials and Processing Program in CSIRO Manufacturing. Previously she led CSIRO’s Active Integrated Matter Future Science Platform.

We thank our panel speakers:

Dr Scott Watkins

Chief Marketing Officer with KISCO, a Korean chemicals and inks manufacturer. Also, the non-executive director and Chair of the Board for both Pollinate Group and parkrun Australia

I have a PhD in Chemistry from UNSW and spent four years in the UK working in two start-up companies in the area of Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs). I spent 10 years with CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, as a research scientist and manager. Immediately prior to choosing to leave CSIRO, I was the Research Leader for Thin Film Photovoltaics in CSIRO’s Manufacturing Flagship, based in Melbourne, Victoria.


Dr Liz Williams

CEO of Hemideina

Liz has a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Cambridge and was awarded the BioMelbourne Network Emerging Woman in Leadership Award, 2018. At CSIRO she worked as a Research Scientist on the targeted delivery of RNAi therapeutics using functionalised RAFT polymers.

Liz has experience in commercialisation and the lean startup methodology. Having mentored early stage start-ups through customer validation and product-market fit, Liz brings this understanding to Hemideina as the Co-founder, Director and CEO.


Prof Senthold Asseng

Chair of Digital Agriculture, TUM School of Life Sciences, Technical University of Munich

Prof. Asseng’s field of research is the analysis of atmosphere-crop-soil systems. His main research areas include impact of climate variability and climate change, cropping sustainability, food security, and how systems analysis and crop modelling can assist autonomous robot-managed cropping systems in the field and in fully-environmentally controlled indoor vertical farming.

Prof. Asseng studied agricultural sciences and received his PhD at Humboldt University Berlin and his Habilitation at Technical University Munich. He was a Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO in Australia. He became a Full Professor in Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Florida and the Director of the Florida Climate Institute. In 2020, Prof. Asseng was appointed to the professorship for Digital Agriculture and in 2021 the Director of the World Agricultural Systems Center at the Technical University Munich.


Professor Amanda Barnard

Deputy Director, School of Computing, ANU

Professor Amanda Barnard is one of Australia’s most highly awarded computational scientists. She currently leads research at the interface of computational modeling, high performance supercomputing, and applied machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

She was awarded her BSc (Hons) in applied physics in 2000, and her PhD in theoretical condensed matter physics in 2003 from RMIT University.  After graduating she accepted a Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory (USA), and the prestigious senior research position as Violette & Samuel Glasstone Fellow at the University of Oxford (UK) with an Extraordinary Research Fellowship at The Queen’s College. Prior to joining ANU she was an ARC QEII Fellow, Office of the Chief Executive Science Leader, and then Chief Research Scientist in Data61 at CSIRO, between 2009 and 2020.


Dr Jonas Bhend

Senior Researcher, Office of Meteorology and Climatology, MeteoSwiss

Jonas Bhend currently works as a senior researcher at MeteoSwiss, the Swiss National Weather Service. At MeteoSwiss he co-leads a project on postprocessing and verification. As part of this project, statistical postprocessing is employed to produce optimal probabilistic consensus forecasts at any location based on numerical weather prediction output from multiple systems. Jonas’s background is in climate science. He did a PhD on regional climate change detection and attribution at Uni Hamburg, followed by a postdoc on paleoclimatology at ETH Zurich. From there he went on to do a postdoc at in Aspendale (Melbourne) where he worked on the uncertainty quantification in regional climate projects for national projections “Climate Change in Australia 2015”. Since 2014, Jonas is working at MeteoSwiss. First as a postdoc on seasonal forecasting for the EU project EUPORIAS and the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), since 2017 as a senior researcher with a lot more focus on implementation and operationalization of applied research.