275 jobs to go at the CSIRO but some climate change expertise is being saved

A parrot fish on the Great Barrier reef. Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Australia’s peak science body, the CSIRO, is cutting 275 jobs but is ensuring at least part of its expertise in climate change is preserved.

About 75 positions are going at the Oceans and Atmosphere division, where the climate change scientists work, but a national climate research centre will be created in Hobart.

There was a global backlash from the scientific community when in February reports emerged of federal government plans to cut jobs at the CSIRO which would have seen its climate research efforts fade.

Those reports said 350 positions were going across the CSIRO.

However, the CSIRO has managed to keep the job losses to 275. The organisation which invented Wi-Fi, gene shears and aerogard insect repellent, has 4832 full-time positions.

“To achieve this change we won’t be able to make as many new recruitments in the areas as previously planned,” CSIRO CEO Larry Marshall said in an email to staff, according to a report on the ABC.

“Our goal is still for our staffing numbers to return to the current level, but it will take us longer to achieve.”

The biggest climate change project at the moment is the Great Barrier Reef where scientists are trying to find solutions to a massive coral bleaching thought to have been caused by warming sea water.

The CSIRO Climate Science Centre in Hobart will have 40 scientists on staff and will focus on climate projections for Australia, drawing on both national and international research expertise.

“As I indicated at the start of CSIRO’s current broader change process, it is critical that we retain the capability that underpins our national climate research effort,” Marshall said in a statement today.

“The announcement today is a culmination of the ongoing consultation and feedback we’ve had from our staff and stakeholders, and this new centre is a reflection of the strong collaboration and support right across our system and the global community.”