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Dr Michael Robertson

Deputy Director


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Dr Michael Robertson is the Deputy Director of CSIRO Agriculture and Food. He is based in Perth, Western Australia. His research background is in crop agronomy and simulation modelling, where his work has aimed to analyse and understand broadacre farming systems to inform better management regimes for economic, environmental and social outcomes.

After completing a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Honours), at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand in 1985, he studied crop physiology at University of Queensland, Australia, for his Doctor of Philosophy. Dr Robertson joined CSIRO in Townsville, Queensland, Australia, in the early 1990s to research the environmental limits to yield in sugarcane. He later relocated to Brisbane, where his research focused on the management, simulation and analysis of dryland cropping systems in the sub-tropics. As a member of the Agricultural Production Systems Research Unit, a joint venture involving CSIRO, he was responsible for the oversight of the development of the Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM) model. In 2005 Dr Robertson relocated to Perth where his research focus has been on dryland farming systems of the Mediterranean zone in Australia. Dr Robertson's research has extended to a number of international activities, primarily on smallholder dryland farming systems in southern Africa and northern China. Since 2009 he has been moving more into research management roles, whilst maintaining active leadership of a number of research projects. Some of these leadership roles have involve a national focus, and have required integration of research capability from a wide range of disciplines and locations across Australia.

As part of his current role he is leading an initiative in ‘digital agriculture’ that aims to bring together agricultural researchers and information and communication technology experts in CSIRO to explore new ways in which digital technologies can improve the way research is conducted and results are delivered to end users. He is also responsible for oversight of CSIRO Agriculture & Food's involvement in CSIRO's Missions and Future Science Platforms. He is leader for CSIRO's Floreat site in Perth.

Academic Qualifications

  • 1991

    PhD University of Queensland

  • 1985

    Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons) University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Professional Experiences

  • 1992-1996

    Research Scientist
    CSIRO Tropical Crops and Pastures, Townsville

  • 1996-2005

    Senior Research Scientist and Principal Research Scientist
    CSIRO Tropical Agriculture and Sustainable Ecosystems, Brisbane

  • 2005-present

    Group leader
    CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Agricultural Landscapes Program, Perth

  • 2011-2013

    Program Leader
    CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Perth

  • 2013-2014

    Deputy Chief
    CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Perth

  • 2014-present

    Science Director
    CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Perth


We have publications by Dr Michael Robertson