Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS)

Sydney, Australia

The Sydney Institute of Marine Science welcomes applications for the role of Director and CEO of SIMS, commencing in, 2020. Applications close February 9th, 2020.


SIMS ( is NSW’s leading multidisciplinary marine science institute, formed through a collaboration of its founding partners and shareholders, the four major Sydney-based universities (University of NSW Sydney, University of Sydney, Macquarie University, University of Technology Sydney). The collaborative structure of SIMS now also includes Associate Members, including the NSW State Government’s Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries), and Department of Planning Industry and Environment, and the Australian Museum. SIMS has an associated philanthropic arm, the SIMS Foundation, the board of which includes the SIMS Chief Executive Officer. The chair of the SIMS Foundation sits on the SIMS board.

SIMS was established in 2005 and is based at Chowder Bay, Mosman, on Sydney Harbour. A grant of $19.5 million from the Commonwealth Education Investment Fund in 2009, together with grants from The Ian Potter Foundation and the NSW Government, provided the money to establish the current state of the art facilities at the Institute. 

SIMS has over 100 scientists and graduate students associated with the Institute, representing a broad diversity of skills in marine science. These scientists work in a broad array of fields, including physical oceanography, environmental microbiology, fisheries science, marine ecology and eco-engineering. SIMS operates the NSW Node of Australia’s largest marine research program, the Integrated Marine Observing System, and runs a number of other major multidisciplinary or high-profile programs, including the Sydney Harbour Research Program, the World Harbour Project, and Operation Crayweed. 

SIMS is an independent not-for profit company, with the four founding universities as shareholders, who are each represented on the SIMS Board of Directors. The Board also includes four nominees, one from each founding University member and two independent directors. The Board is responsible for high level governance, strategy and management of SIMS and is chaired by Mr Peter Cochrane. 


The Role

Reporting to the Chairperson and Board, the CEO will lead SIMS to achieve high standards of marine scientific research, education and outreach and ensure the Institute has a national and international reputation for timely, relevant and high quality research outputs that are also valued for their commercial, social and/or environment relevance and impact.

The Person

The CEO will have demonstrated executive leadership skills and the standing and track record in marine, coastal or relevant science to ensure the Institute achieves high quality outputs and enhances the Institute’s profile and influence across its research, education and research translation activities. Ideally, he/she will have a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with leading a major marine research institute.

Key Duties

  1. to lead the Institute by taking overall responsibility and accountability for implementation of its Vision and Research and Business strategies, and its operations and facilities;
  2. to ensure that the Institute conducts high quality research and produces high quality outputs in consultation with the Scientific Advisory Committee;
  3. to take overall responsibility for SIMS staff including facilitating a harmonious, safe and productive working environment, and mentoring as appropriate;
  4. to play a key role in fundraising on behalf of SIMS, via grants, philanthropy and industry sources;
  5. to effectively manage external relationships, including SIMS Members and Associate Members;
  6. to develop and lead major research program on site that aligns with and delivers a significant element of the SIMS Vision and Research Strategy;
  7. to be the primary public face of the Institute with key stakeholders and the media;
  8. to work as a Director of the Institute with the Chair and other Board members to ensure the effective governance of the Institute.
  9. To work as a Trustee of the SIMS’ Foundation to facilitate funraising by the Foundation



The successful candidate will bring:

  • evidence of outstanding achievement in marine or a related science

  •  significant and relevant experience in executive scientific leadership

  • experience working with the public and/or private sectors, particularly in relation to research, funding and utilisation of research results

  • Professorial level qualifications or equivalent in a relevant area of science and/or management

Key competencies sought include:

  • leadership capability in building effective team environments and fostering excellence, innovation and initiative in others

  • high level judgement and decision-making skills supported by strategic rigor and analytic skills

  • ability to develop effective and enduring relationships across a wide range of stakeholders

  • an outcomes-focus and demonstrated capacity to deliver results

  • ability to balance short and long-term priorities and work under pressure

  • ability to present with confidence, drawing on high level written and oral communication skills

  • A commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion ensuring that no-one is disadvantaged on the basis of their gender, cultural background, disability, sexual orientation or identity or Indigenous heritage.



The successful applicant would be appointed jointly to SIMS and one of the partner Universities.  


 To apply, please include:

  • A copy of your CV, including email, preferred telephone contact number, and names of two referees.

  • A supporting statement of up to two pages addressing the selection criteria above. Please provide examples of where your knowledge and experience match the required criteria.

For informal queries, please see the below contact details.


Mark Scognamiglio

General Manager 

19 Chowder Bay Road Mosman 2088 NSW

 (02) 9435 4600 


Otherwise, please apply online – applications will not be accepted if sent directly to the contact listed.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.