Status: Completed

Start date: 1 July 2017

Completion date: 30 June 2022

Project code: P01-E-004

Species: Multiple

Download project report (PDF, 2.27 MB)


The biosecurity industry needs multiskilled, industry-ready graduates who can enter the workforce and actively contribute to their organisation’s research and operational goals from ‘day one’.
This program trained students in business acumen, leadership, team-building skills, and how to complete their research thesis and fulfil future career goals. In its third iteration, it helped form a cohesive and close cohort of researchers with a ready-made system of networks and collaborations in place for post-university transition to the workplace.

Key achievements



  • Better prepared graduates to be effective in their industry of choice.
  • Greater choice of employment for graduates in the program.


  • Maintained or enhanced long-term capability in invasive species RD&E to maintain returns on future invasive species RD&E investments.
  • Over the longer term, contribution to reduced invasive species impact costs with participants in the Balanced Researcher Program taking part in future invasive species RD&E or invasive species management.
  • Increased wellbeing for individuals, including increased earning capacity due to enhanced personal and professional capability.
  • Increased scientific knowledge and research capacity created through post-graduate research projects undertaken by the Balanced Researcher Program.

Project team

Dr Tony Buckmaster

Project Lead | Centre for Invasive Species Solutions

This project received funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).

Project updates

February 2021

A second student camp was held in November 2020. Due to COVID-19, it was held as a virtual camp over a period of 2 weeks. Students participated in the second round of leadership and team building training. They also received training in innovation and brand building. The standard of the grant applications that were received was exceptionally high and showed the commitment of the program participants to incorporating the learnings from the virtual camp into their applications.

August 2020

Four PhD students have been recruited to the Balanced Researcher Program. This is a reduced number than was anticipated, though has allowed other recruitment avenues to open. The program has also recruited a Masters by Research student studying in a CISS project, two additional PhD students from Portfolio No.1aligned projects and two post-doctoral undertaking research in CISS aligned projects. This has allowed diversity within the project and will ensure all participants are able to form extensive cross discipline networks and receive peer support from fellow participants.
The first Balanced Researcher camp was held in February 2020 coinciding with the CISS mid-term review. This allowed participants to see the range of projects and research areas that CISS is involved in and to form networks with more experienced researchers both within, and outside, their own field of research.

February 2020

The Balanced Researcher Program held the first of the student camps in February 2020. There were eight participants in the camp consisting of a combination of CISS PhD students, PhD students from affiliated projects and early career researchers from CSIRO. The camp was a success with overall positive reviews from the participants. This camp focused primarily on developing leadership and team building skills for the participants as well as enhancing creativity and innovation skills. Additionally, the participants were given media training by CISS Communications Manager, Ian McDonald.

August 2019

Four PhD students have been recruited to the Balanced researcher program. This is a reduced number than was anticipated, though has allowed other recruitment avenues to open.
The project has been opened to external organisations to have PhD students, Post-Doctoral researchers and early career researchers attend training events as affiliates. Allowing this diversity within the project will ensure all participants are able to form extensive cross-discipline networks.
The Balanced researcher camp has been redesigned to benefit the number of participants and is planned for February 2020, which coincides with the CISS mid-term review.
Students will also be encouraged to submit an abstract and attend the AVPC conference in May 2020. A networking breakfast is planned at the conference to link students with researchers in similar fields and increase networking and collaboration opportunities.

February 2019

Two PhD students commenced work on their CISS-supported projects in 2018, another is scheduled to commence sometime in March 2019 with the fourth is intended to in May 2019. Further students commence later in 2019.

With less students than envisaged being involved, CISS is making the program available to other research organisations and university research groups to have their PhD students, post-docs and other early career researchers participate in the on a cost recovery basis. Rather than the student numbers being a setback, the broader participation will ensure an even greater level of participant diversity to strengthen the value of biosecurity-related networking and collaboration.