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Dr Becky Schmidt

Senior Environmental Scientist


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Contact details:

GPO BOX 1700


Becky Schmidt is an environmental scientist, delivering information that government, business and communities use to make decisions, protect our environment and prosper sustainably. She:
- engages with government and business to translate science to meet decision-making needs
- develops methods and synthesises information for natural capital assessments and environmental-economic accounts
- leads large-scale interdisciplinary multi-partner projects.

Her generalist understanding of systems and how to model, connect and describe them complements the specialist domain knowledge of the diverse scientists and decision makers with whom she collaborates and connects. She leads projects that span sectors (water, mining, agriculture, conservation) and disciplines (ecology, biodiversity, hydrology, geology, chemistry, soil science, economics, environmental informatics).

She received her PhD in computational chemistry from Cornell University under a National Science Foundation Fellowship, studying the solvation of carbohydrates. An Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship funded the extension of this work to proteins at John Curtin School of Medical Research at The Australian National University.

She joined CSIRO in 2006 in the soil science program in Land & Water, subsequently moving to the hydrology program and then the environmental informatics program. She currently is a member of the Quantitative Biodiversity Assessment Team, in the Natural Capital Group in the Living Landscapes Program.

Current Roles

  • Project Leader
    Project: Land and Ecosystem Accounts Project (with Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment; Murray- Darling Basin Authority; Geoscience Australia; Australian Bureau of Statistics; and Aberystwyth University)

  • Project Leader
    Project: Linking ecosystem services to the profitability of prawn fisheries (FRDC Project 2017-175)

  • Independent author
    National 2021 State of the Environment, land theme

  • Team member
    Developing Habitat Condition Assessment System time series

Academic Qualifications

  • 1995

    PhD, Physical Chemistry and Biochemistry
    Cornell University

  • 1989

    BS, High Distinction, Chemistry
    University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Professional Experiences

  • 2017-2019

    Senior Environmental Scientist in Biodiversity, Ecosystem Knowledge and Services Program
    CSIRO Land and Water

  • 2014-2017

    Research Team Leader, Knowledge Integration Team, Water Resource Management Program
    Land and Water Flagship

  • 2012-2014

    Research Team Leader, Knowledge Delivery Team, Environmental Information Systems Program
    CSIRO Land and Water

  • 2006-2012

    Scientific Editor, Office of the Chief
    CSIRO Land and Water

  • 1996-2000

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    John Curtin School of Medical Research, the Australian National University

  • 1996-1996

    Research Officer
    Australian National Univeristy Supercomputer Facility

Achievements and Awards

  • 2018-

    Chairman’s Medal for Science Excellence, as one of 30 seminal contributors to the Bioregional Assessment Programme
    CSIRO Land and Water

  • 2018-

    Chief Executive Professional Development Award, recognising ‘excellence in delivering interdisciplinary scientific information that meets customer needs’
    CSIRO Land and Water

  • 2017-

    Performance reward: outstanding performance as leader of the ‘OurPlace’ Lean Launch Pad team
    CSIRO Land and Water

  • 2017-

    Completion of Experienced Leader Program

  • 2013-

    Completion of Leadership Essentials Program

  • 2011-

    CSIRO Land and Water Equity and Diversity Award, for role in Women in Science Initiative
    CSIRO Land and Water

  • 2008-

    CSIRO Chairman’s Medal, as part of the Murray-Darling Basin Sustainable Yields Project, for research that has delivered the most comprehensive and complex whole-of-basin water assessment ever undertaken in Australia
    CSIRO Land and Water

  • 2008-

    One CSIRO Strategic Excellence Award, as part of the Murray-Darling Basin Sustainable Yields Project, for extraordinary effort in team effort and individual work realignment to successfully complete this landmark project
    CSIRO Land and Water

  • 1997-2000

    Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship
    John Curtin School of Medical Research, the Australian National Univeristy

  • 1991-1995

    National Science Foundation Fellowship
    Cornell University


We have publications by Dr Becky Schmidt