Call for expressions of interest: Theme Leader

Expressions of Interest are invited to join our exceptional team as a Theme Leader for the Enhancing Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) practices Theme.


The Theme Leader will be appointed initially to June 2021 with 0.2 FTE supported by the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge. The Theme Leaders are part of the Science Leadership Team (SLT) which meets regularly in person and online (direct costs of attending are covered by the Challenge).


  • Provide input into developing research priorities and strategy, including Vision Mātauranga
  • Lead and coordinate research Themes, including development and coordination of proposals in response to Challenge RfPs, and engagement and collaboration with Māori and stakeholders
  • Oversee science quality
  • Review and report quarterly to SLT on the publications, products and services, collaborations, co-funding, key research achievements, and progress towards the Objective (To enhance the value of New Zealand’s marine resources, while providing a health marine environment for future generations)
  • Advise the Director of any issues associated with research projects or related activities, including capability needs, that will affect the Challenge’s performance and/or delivery
  • Interact with the other Theme Leaders to ensure research coordination and collaboration across the Challenge
  • Assist in preparation of materials required for MBIE reporting and reviews

Attributes and experience

  • Excellent research track record
  • Experience in providing strategic leadership
  • Knowledge of ecosystem-based management
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Proven ability to work effectively in an interdisciplinary team
  • Experience in working in the marine environment and with marine management issues


The Director will make recommendations to the Governance Group regarding the appointment.

Please submit your CV together with a cover letter outlining your experience and interest in the role, by 5pm Thursday 28 March 2019 to 

For more information regarding this position contact the Sustainable Seas Director,
Julie Hall, 04 386 0322 or 027 595 2369.


The Director will use the following criteria to assess applications.

Primary criteria

  • Strategic leadership – Each member of the SLT contributes to the Challenge’s overall strategic leadership.
  • Understanding of the Challenge Objective, Phase II strategy and specific Theme objectives – For the SLT to operate effectively we require people who understand the overarching Objective and how the research Themes fit within it.
  • Communication – The Challenge’s highly participatory nature requires the SLT members to communicate and effectively engage with Māori, industry, communities, central and local government, as well as internally.
  • Project management experience – Some of our reporting is the responsibility of the Programme Leaders, requiring project management skills to ensure projects are progressing, meeting milestones, as well as identifying and solving potential issues.
  • Balanced team composition – A range of disciplinary backgrounds mitigates the scope for disciplinary or thematic bias when assessing project proposals and progress.

Secondary criteria

  • Academic breadth and intellectual curiosity – Deep expertise is valuable within a Theme but to successfully deliver the Challenge objective, integration across projects and Themes is critical. The Theme Leaders will need to be familiar with of Sustainable Seas research outside their own area.
  • Networks and connections – Sustainable Seas builds on, and integrates with, relevant national and international research programmes and projects. Capitalising on existing extensive research, Māori, society and stakeholder connections, and having the capacity to extend such these networks, is extremely important.