Kate Taylor – “Working with incredible leaders”

September 29th, 2020

Kate Taylor is now Director, Research Strategy, at the University of Melbourne.

Kate reflects on her time with CSIRO, “I was fortunate to work with some incredible leaders, and from whom I learned an enormous amount.”

I was an ‘Analyst’ and then a ‘Senior Analyst’ in a team called ‘Science Investment and Strategy’ (or variants of this – a few name changes along the way) from 2005 to the end of 2009. Our team reported into the fabulous Deputy CEO Ron Sandland. As you might guess from the name of our team, we developed the Science Investment Process that the Institution used to guide its decision-making in line with CSIRO’s unique role. I’m really proud to have worked at CSIRO.

I have so many wonderful memories from my time at CSIRO, as well as too many early-morning starts to catch a flight to Canberra or Sydney. A sense of pride after making through the first cycle of research strategy and investment jumps to mind as a work highlight. Continually realising the amazing breadth and depth of the CSIRO staff was another highlight – whether it was chatting in the tea room with colleagues at the Parkville site that became my home base, or hearing from colleagues at a Strategy-in-action session (which on one occasion included acrobatic participation from the audience…). It’s a cliché of course, but the people who work for CSIRO make it the organisation it has become. The people in my immediate team were genuinely good humans; we had so many great times even when we were spread across multiple sites and states…

I left CSIRO to take up a role at the University of Melbourne in research strategy. The experiences I had at CSIRO definitely helped me in landing my role. Being able to point to examples of work experience at the whole-of-CSIRO level is impressive as CSIRO is itself so impressive. I was also incredibly fortunate to work with some incredible leaders, and from whom I learned an enormous amount – including Ron Sandland, Attila Brungs, Peter Smyth, Kathy Dunn and Geoff Garrett (just to name-drop a few!).

I have many wonderful friends from my time at CSIRO – many of whom are still there and many whom have moved on to other places. There are actually quite a few former CSIRO people at the University of Melbourne which makes for some fun moments in meetings (can anyone come up a collective noun that’s not Flagship?).

I think it’s great that CSIRO is developing an Alumni Network, and am delighted to be part of it.