Scientist - Kiwifruit & Subtropicals

Plant & Food Research delivers tools to industry that minimise the impacts of production systems on the environment while optimising yield, quality and economic performance. Te Puke, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.

Our Kiwifruit and Subtropicals team is focused on plant physiology, canopy management and environmental responses aimed at optimising fruit production and enhancing fruit quality. Working closely with the Science Team Leader, you'll help lead and manage kiwifruit and avocado vine and tree physiology research and the development of innovative, sustainable production technologies.

This will include working in collaboration with the avocado and kiwifruit industries in New Zealand and overseas to develop projects that support their targets and stategies, and then leading the delivery of project outcomes. There will also be significant interaction with our plant breeders, fruit physiologists, post-harvest researchers, sensory and consumer scientists and biostatisticians.

Ideally, you will have a PhD (or equivalent) and proven experience in a relevant discipline such as plant biology, horticultural science or plant physiology, including whole plant physiology and horticultural production systems. Demonstrated competence in leading and engaging with people will be supported by well-developed communication, interpersonal and relationship abilities.

For more information, registration details and to apply for this position please visit

Please quote vacancy number 21587

Applications close 17 April 2017

Purpose of the position: To provide research leadership in the areas of kiwifruit and avocado vine and tree physiology and leadership and management support to the ScienceTeam Leader.
The focus of the position will be on the optimisation of fruit production, the enhancement of fruit quality and the development of innovative, sustainable production technologies from both an applied and a fundamental perspective. There will be significant interaction and collaboration with plant breeders, fruit physiologists, post-harvest researchers, sensory and consumer scientists and biostatisticians.
The incumbent will continue the development of collaborations with both the avocado and kiwifruit industries in New Zealand and overseas, working alongside industry to obtain funding for research and development projects that will support the industry's targets and strategies, and then leading delivery of outcomes from these projects.


1. Support the leader of a team of researchers to foster growth of research in kiwifruit and avocado and other horticultural crops in Plant & Food Research. Expected outcomes:
• Effective leadership and management support is provided to the Team Leader.
• The Team is kept up to date with the latest developments in plant physiology and horticultural research.
• Strong links, based on regular and effective communication, are established and maintained between the Team and its industry stakeholders.
• Team outputs are communicated effectively, accurately and on time.
• Personal and project objectives are managed with minimal supervision.
• Team Leader is advised promptly of any problems that may be encountered and proposed remedial action.
2. Lead research in the Team's areas of expertise. Expected outcomes:
• Particular expertise developed and provided in the area of on-orchard kiwifruit production systems, in particular during the implementation phase of new cultivars.
• A significant contribution to current and new research to overcome the limitations of sustainable avocado production.
• Significant personal contributions to all stages of selected science projects.
• Research is planned and executed in accordance with best practice, project plans, client needs and established deadlines.
• Co-authorship of papers and reports resulting from the projects.
• Collaborative research relationships are developed with other scientists nationally and internationally.
3. Develop and manage research projects. Expected outcomes:
• Research proposals are developed, and funding obtained from government and commercial clients.
• Research contracts are developed and managed in order to deliver on time and within budget.
• Effective project management systems are established and maintained.
• Required reports are completed on time.
• Papers and articles are written and published in scientific journals and elsewhere.
• Oral presentations are delivered at industry and scientific meetings and conferences.
4. Develop and foster relationships that will maintain the Team's profile and lead to the capture of new opportunities. Expected outcomes:
• Good relationships are established and maintained with key stakeholders in the avocado and kiwifruit industries, including New Zealand Avocado and Zespri.
• All contracted outputs are completed to meet or exceed clients' expectations.
• All contracting and reporting is handled professionally, on-time and within budget.

Professional Knowledge and Skills
To undertake this position effectively and efficiently, it is expected that the appointee will have the following qualifications, skills, experience and expertise:

Educational qualifications
• Post-graduate degree (preferably PhD or equivalent) and appropriate experience in a relevant discipline such as plant biology, horticultural science or plant physiology.

Work knowledge, skills and experience
• Sound knowledge and experience working in whole plant physiology and horticultural production systems.
• Skills and experience in one or more of the following science areas: plant nutrition, plant water relations, environmental impacts on plant growth, reproductive biology and fruit production systems.
• Sound knowledge of experimental design and the use of statistical software packages for data analysis and computing skills including spreadsheets, word processing and graphical packages.
• Experience in project management, including monitoring contract progress and compliance.
• Experience in the preparation and evaluation of research proposals and reports.
• A history of successful collaboration with the horticultural industry.
• A willingness to travel both nationally and overseas when required.

Professional Behaviours
The holder of this position is expected to consistently demonstrate the behaviours described in the Plant & Food Research Leadership Framework. These include:

  • Personal Characteristics, which means: being generous, having courage, showing humility, being self aware, trustworthy and positive
  • Personal Capability, which means: demonstrating personal expertise, problem solving, being innovative or managing innovation, having business acumen, and professional development
  • Focus On Results, which means: taking responsibility for results, organising and setting standards
  • Interpersonal, which means: communication, collaborating with others, building relationships, inspiring and developing people.
  • Leading Change, which means: having a strategic perspective or a sense of the "bigger picture", championing or participating in change, and connecting to the outside world, or bringing in fresh ideas.

Measures of Performance
An annual review of performance will be conducted by the Team Leader, Kiwifruit and Subtropical Physiology. Success in this role will be measured by:

  • Demonstrated performance against the accountabilities listed above
  • Ability to operate within recognised safety standards to ensure personal and team safety.



fruit production
Te Puke (New Zealand)