Work at AgResearch
“I have experienced endless practical learning on the job”
“I have great job variety; I’m very lucky”
“It is so nice to get out of bed in the morning and head to a job that you are genuinely passionate about”
”The projects have been so rewarding – it is so nice to know we are helping a developing country”
Career Opportunities
Coming to New Zealand
Our Work Environment
Recruitment Process

Work at AgResearch

We are committed to attracting and retaining people of the highest calibre with many of our scientists leading the world in their field. Nearly 65% of our staff are involved in scientific research, and over a third of these are qualified at doctorate level. We are networked to more than 100 prestigious scientific organisations worldwide with our scientists travelling internationally to undertake research, network and present at conferences.

If you are interested in knowing more please check out our current vacancies below and register with us so we can keep you up-to-date with the roles of interest to you when they become available.

AgResearch job opportunities.


“I have experienced endless practical learning on the job”


Lincoln site manager and long-time AgResearch employee, Elaine Chapman has been building her repertoire of skills; working in a wide range of roles within AgResearch for the past 25 years.

Elaine initially began working at AgResearch in an admin position before moving into the role of HR administrator following the departure of the previous job holder. In the position Elaine employed two part time staff who worked under her and after a number of years one grew into her role and the other became a PA both full time jobs within  AgResearch.

Moving sideways, she then entered into part time site management for the Lincoln site  leased from Plant and Food while additionally taking on accounting assistant for some of  the science staff at Lincoln.

In 2007 AgResearch purchased the Canesis business and buildings which meant Elaine had to choose which job she would take on full time – leading her to the full time Lincoln Site Manager role that she is in today.

A “jack of all trades and master of none” as she calls herself, Elaine has made an impressive resume for herself after leaving school at 16 with only School Certificate . She now has professional skills and well-earned expertise in admin, HR, finance and site management.

“I have been offered an incredible amount of opportunities at AgResearch – it has been really quite amazing!

“For me, it has been great to have the flexibility to broaden my base knowledge and my skills. AgResearch has always encouraged me to do that.

“I have experienced endless practical learning on the job and I think that’s one of the really great things with AgResearch – having had the opportunity to be in so many different roles, work with supportive mentors and great teams,” says Elaine.

Elaine is set to take on the role of site manager for both Lincoln and Invermay in the beginning of 2015.


“I have great job variety; I’m very lucky”

Diana Selbie

Returning home to New Zealand following 3 years of study in Ireland, Lincoln University PhD graduate and soil scientist, Diana Selbie has been working with AgResearch for the past 2 years as a scientist in the Nutrient Management and Environmental Footprinting team.

Originally having no plans to enter into a career in research, Diana met with AgResearch staff on a visit to the Invermay campus and began to change her mind. After an interview at Ruakura, she was so impressed by the people and the team environment that she chose to take on the position.

Diana’s work is a combination of fundamental research into nitrogen cycling in pastoral soils, nutrient management research at the farm system scale, and development of the Overseer Nutrient Budgets model.

“I love working with the people here. We have really good interaction between the scientists, technicians and students.

“There is always someone to talk to if you want to bounce around an idea. I walk in to the lab or down the corridor and always come back with a better option or improved idea.

Separate from her core role, Diana has found plenty of opportunities through AgResearch to get involved with the community, including being a judge for the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards, St Peters school dairy farm in Cambridge, career programmes with DairyNZ, Lincoln University and Young Farmers and presenting to visiting groups at Ruakura.

“I love seeing other people become interested in science, especially young people. At AgResearch, I have great job variety; I’m very lucky,” says Diana.


“It is so nice to get out of bed in the morning and head to a job that you are genuinely passionate about”


Since completing her undergraduate degree in Statistics at the University of Otago, Vanessa Cave, Statistician and leader of Ruakura’s Statistics team has been continuously advancing her professional career with the on-going support of AgResearch.

Vanessa was first introduced to AgResearch after encouragement from a University Professor; she soon landed herself a position working within the Invermay statistics team for a year and a half before undertaking PhD studies in the United Kingdom.

With backing from AgResearch Vanessa spent time as a PhD student at The University of Cambridge in England and The University of St Andrews in Scotland before returning home in 2009, having completed her doctorate, to a full time position waiting for her at Ruakura.

“After leaving University, one thing that predominantly stood out was when meeting up with my friends to debrief about our jobs – I was the only one who really enjoyed my work,” says Vanessa.

Vanessa’s work involves statistical consultancy requiring collaboration with different scientists on projects based at Ruakura. She is involved throughout the entire scientific process from the initial concept design to statistical analysis and interpretation of results.

“It is so nice to get out of bed in the morning and head to a job that you are genuinely passionate about. We work on such interesting things.”

“When you see the results of your work, you know you are making a difference and you get an overwhelming sense of accomplishment from the idea that you are doing something meaningful,” says Vanessa.

Vanessa has also had the opportunity to complete the AgResearch Tomorrows Leaders Programme that includes courses at Waikato University.

“I feel it is important to network amongst such a diverse team of professionals. The opportunities are so vast at AgResearch. In particular doing things like attending scientific conferences, presenting and talking with other delegates is such a great opportunity to advance professionally,” says Vanessa.


”The projects have been so rewarding – it is so nice to know we are helping a developing country”



Endophyte Senior Scientist and current team leader of the Plant-Fungal Interactions team, Linda Johnson, has been bringing her impressive research background to the team at AgResearch since early 2003.

Linda gained both her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science (first class honours in Genetics) at Massey University, New Zealand. She then worked for two years as a research scientist at Tottori University in Japan investigating the molecular genetics of an important fungal pathogen of apple. In 2002, she gained a PhD in Plant and Soil Science at West Virginia University (USA) before returning home to New Zealand and beginning a Government sponsored research project with AgResearch. Linda then took on a full time position and worked her way up to Senior Scientist.

Linda’s current research focuses on elucidating the molecular mechanisms behind host-endophyte compatibility and the importance of fungal iron regulation for maintaining mutualistic endophyte-grass associations. Additional to her research, Linda provides leadership for around 22 team members and two core programmes – initiative of AgResearch and the Plant-Fungal Interactions team – including a Kenya based collaboration project dedicated to improving and introducing grasses back into Africa.

Linda has certainly had some amazing opportunities during her time here; travelling to Kenya twice and Columbia once for project meetings and speaking at around 10 different international conferences on behalf of AgResearch.

“I am so thankful for the opportunities I have had to represent our group science in these key programmes.

”The projects have been so rewarding – it is so nice to know we are helping a developing country. On top of that, the programmes are all extremely interesting,” says Linda.

“I also love that I have been able to work with really clever people at AgResearch.  I have been involved with state of the art type of experiments using great technology that have been hugely beneficial to me,” says Linda.

As mentor to a PhD student, Linda’s role also allows her encourage others to achieve their full potential and pass on the knowledge she has learnt throughout her years working in science – something that she cherishes most about her job position.

“I really enjoy teaching students new skills. Helping people see their best potential and achieve it –that’s nice!” Says Linda.


Career Opportunities

Who do we employ?

We draw on a wide range of skills and expertise to succeed in delivering our science for New Zealand. Our 800 staff work together in science and non-science roles to achieve our company goals. We support each person to strive and develop a rewarding career.


AgResearch is one of New Zealand’s leading research organisations.  We are committed to attracting and retaining people of the highest calibre and many of our scientists lead the world in their fields.  Collectively we are networked to prestigious scientific organisations worldwide. Our scientists travel internationally to undertake research, network and present at conferences.  Nearly 65 percent of our permanent employees are involved in scientific research, and more than 250 staff are qualified at doctorate level.

Our varied work provides research and applied science opportunities for field, laboratory, computer, community and business-based activities. Our science staff are led by the Research Director and organised in 6 groups – Animal Nutrition and Health, Animal Productivity, Food and Bio-based Products, Forage Improvement, Innovative Farm Systems and  Land & Environment.

More about our current Science

Our science staff have skills in fields that include agribusiness,  agricultural systems, animal health, animal science,   animal welfare and behaviour, bioactive discovery, biocontrol and biosecurity,  bioinformatics,  biotechnology, cultivar development,  dairy production science,  endophytes,  epigenetics, food safety, food science,  forages,  functional genomics,  genetic mapping,  germplasm libraries, greenhouse gas mitigation,   land and environmental management , livestock genomes, meat science,  metabolomics, molecular biology, nutraceuticals,  parasitology, pharmaceuticals,  proteomics,   quantitative genetics,  reproductive technologies, ruminant nutrition, simulation modelling,  social science, vaccine development, vertebrate pest management, .

Our 9-level career structure allows progress, via our annual performance review process, in a variety of disciplines and work streams for technicians, research associates and scientists as they develop in their expertise, ability to deliver value for our stakeholders , science reputation  and accountability for results. Within the framework some roles may specialise in a particular area while others have components of project and people management as well as research.

Research 9(by internal promotion only) Principal Scientist, Science Team Leader, Science Impact Leader
Research 8 Senior Scientist, Senior Research Engineer, Science Team Leader, Science Impact Leader
Research 7 Senior Scientist, Senior Research Engineer
Research 6 Scientist, Research Engineer, Post-doctoral Scientist,
Research 5 S Scientist, Post-doctoral Scientist, Research Engineer
Research 5 RA Research Associate, Laboratory Manager
Research 4 Research Associate/ Senior Technician
Research 3 Research Associate/ Technician
Research 2 Technician
Research 1 Technical Assistant, Student

Partnerships and programmes roles (Portfolio Leaders and Stakeholder Relationship Managers) work with our stakeholders and our staff to understand stakeholder needs, how our science can help and  put together research programmes to meet those needs.


We have a wide range of employment opportunities for people who are not technicians or scientists but who support our science in their area of expertise.

These include roles that provide expert support in bioinformatics and statistics, IT, library and knowledge advice, business performance and finance, human resources, campus services, as well as administrative roles throughout AgResearch.

AgResearch also has a number of farms spread across New Zealand that enable our scientists to carry out their research on commercially viable high-performing farms.  We therefore have staff who have a range of roles on farm from general farm workers through to farm operation managers.


Coming to New Zealand

Whether you are returning to New Zealand or looking to make your first journey, we welcome your interest in working for AgResearch.

Many of our current employees have relocated from other countries so we are aware of how important a decision this is. As an Accredited employer we can support non New Zealanders with an offer of employment when you are the best candidate for a role for which we cannot currently find a suitable New Zealand applicant.

If you have accepted a Fixed Term role of at least 2 years or a permanent role AgResearch may offer support to you and your family to ensure a satisfactory transition to New Zealand. Where assistance is provided with relocating to New Zealand it may include air fares, contribution to moving personal affects and accommodation and rental car on arrival for a limited time if required. If financial support (direct or indirect) is provided for relocation, then a period bonding may apply.

We also host many student interns each year and they may also find the following information useful.

More about New Zealand:

AgResearch Locations

AgResearch has four main New Zealand campuses.  Each campus is set in park-like surrounds providing a comfortable and friendly environment where people can enjoy their work, find a quiet space to think, interact with colleagues, exercise and/or take some time to relax.

Our campuses are near main city centres with access to great facilities and recreational opportunities.

Ruakura – Hamilton

Grasslands – Palmerston North

Lincoln – 30 minutes from Christchurch City

Invermay – 15 minutes from Dunedin City


For everything you need to know about immigrating to New Zealand visit the New Zealand Immigration website:


Finding somewhere to live will be top priority when you first arrive in New Zealand. There are many options.  You may choose to rent a house first and buy later as this will give you a chance to become more familiar with your new city and surroundings.

For rentals or options to buy

For information on average house prices and various suburbs

Health Care System

New Zealand residents and some work visa holders benefit from a public health system that is free or low cost thanks to heavy Government subsidies. Non-residents can also use healthcare services at a cost. New Zealand residents can choose to take out medical insurance for private healthcare, although many New Zealanders do not opt for this additional cover. Non-residents should get medical insurance from their home country.

For injuries resulting from an accident treatment is mostly free as New Zealand has a no fault accident policy.  Treatment covers any accident, not just road crashes even if the person who is injured caused the accident.

For more information of the health care system in New Zealand you may want to visit the following sites.

Tax Rates & Inland Revenue Department (IRD) Number

You will need a tax number before you begin employment. Everything you need to know about tax rates can be found on the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) website.

The following links will direct you to specific areas on the IRD website that may be most useful:


Goods and services tax (GST) is a tax on the supply of most goods and services in New Zealand. It is generally charged at a rate of 15% and most retail prices are inclusive of GST.


To drive in New Zealand you will need a valid licence. For information on how to get a valid licence and driving in New Zealand visit the New Zealand Transport Agency website: 

If you are looking for buy a car in New Zealand Turners Actions has some great information about car prices.


Is your partner looking for a job too? Below are the links to the most popular job  boards in New Zealand.


While you settle in ensure you make the most of all the things you can see and do. As well as being very outdoor sports focussed New Zealand has lots of beautiful bush walks, beaches, national parks, wild life, cultural experiences and more…


For information about educational options and schools within your area including extremely well thought of state-funded and integrated schools, ranging from larger city schools to small country ones visit:



About AgResearch

Q. What is a Crown Research Institute?

A. Crown Research Institutes are the science research businesses owned by the Crown (i.e. the New Zealand Government). They were formed in 1992 from existing government-owned research bodies, the largest of which was the DSIR (Department of Scientific & Industrial Research) established in 1926.The Crown Research Institutes are, collectively, the largest dedicated providers of science research in New Zealand. They are also some of New Zealand’s most significant commercial users of science and technology, and often the largest integrated providers in their sectors in the world.

Q. Where is AgResearch located?

A. We have four main campus located across the country:

  • Ruakura – Hamilton
  • Grasslands – Palmerston North
  • Lincoln – Christchurch
  • Invermay – Dunedin

We also operate farms throughout New Zealand which provide the company with the ability to undertake scientific work such as reproduction, parasitology, genomics, plant breeding, animal behaviour, immunology and disease management.

Science New Zealand Career Site

Q. What is Science New Zealand?

A. Science New Zealand represents the seven Crown Research Institutes. The seven CRIs are each autonomous companies, with extremely strong relationships with the sectors they serve across the public and private areas.

All vacancies across the seven CRI’s are posted on the Science New Zealand Career Website. Current vacancies at AgResearch can be found here.

Q. What is Snaphire?

A. SnapHire is the company that provides the technology behind the Science New Zealand Career Site.  Snaphire is not associated with AgResearch and does not handle our recruitment processes.

As a result Snaphire is not able to provide you with any information regarding AgResearch Jobs or applications however can help you with any technical difficulties that you may be having when applying for a job at AgResearch on the Science New Zealand Careers Site. Help with any technical difficulties can be found here.

Q. How do you apply for a role?

A. All AgResearch current vacancies are advertised on the Science New Zealand Career Website which can be found here

Q. I have opted to receive automatic e-mail alerts, what should I expect will happen next?

A. If you have opted to receive email notifications you will receive emails about new job openings that align with your profile or interest within 24 hours of their posting.

These emails will help you identify new jobs you may be interested in here at AgResearch.

Q. I’m still having problems, what else can I do?

A. Visit the Science New Zealand Career Help page which can be found here

My Application

Q. Will I be told if my application is unsuccessful?

A. Yes, all candidates that apply for a role with AgResearch will be communicated to via email or phone if they are unsuccessful.

Q. How will I find out whether my application has been chosen to progress to the next stage of the selection process?

A. The hiring manager will usually review applications and make a shortlist based on the competencies required for the role in the job description. If you have made it to this shortlist you will then be contacted by someone at AgResearch by phone or email.

Q. What should I expect during the interview process?

A. During the interview process you will be asked a series of questions that relate directly to the competencies required to perform the role you have applied for. You will then be given the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the role or AgResearch.

Q. Can I apply for more than one job at the same time?

A. Yes you can apply for more than one role at AgResearch at the same time.

Overseas Applications

Q. Can I apply for a vacancy if I am not currently entitled to work in New Zealand?

A. Yes, we accept applications regardless of whether you have the appropriate work visa at the time of your application. However, we would expect that you have investigated the application and immigration process and are aware of what will be required for you to gain a work visa.

You must be legally entitled to work in New Zealand before you can start work with AgResearch. We are an accredited employer with NZ Immigration under the Work Talent Visa Scheme. For more information about moving to NZ and immigration requirements see Immigration NZ.


Our Work Environment

What we think, say and do

  • Passionate about science excellence for the New Zealand pastoral sector
  • Forge strong relationships with customers and collaborators
  • Nurture creativity and new ideas
  • Expect accountable leadership
  • Demonstrate respect in all our relationships
  • Teamwork across the organisation – One AgResearch

The WAY we Work is our staff’s commitment to each other to foster and sustain a positive, friendly and supportive workplace that nurtures excellence, creativity and successful relationships through principles of:

  • Respecting each other
  • Maintaining professionalism
  • Being fair
  • Sharing the responsibility

The Physical Environment

  • Campus settings near to or on the outskirts of cities close to Universities and Research related businesses.
  • Free parking near well maintained and equipped facilities.
  • Computer access and excellent IT support.
  • High workplace safety standards supported by experienced and expert advisors.

The Learning Environment

  • Leadership development so everyone can have a good manager
  • Technical Training to help us do well in our jobs.
  • Feedback on performance to  build self awareness and  increase competency
  • Personal development to achieve success in our chosen careers.
  • Conference attendance to communicate our work and build external collaborations.

The Social Environment

  • Collegial focus on One AgResearch.
  • Strong team relationships and development of internal collaboration.
  • Sporting and social activities on site.
  • Company Christmas celebration.
  • Employee assistance resources to support individuals in times of personal crisis.
  • Staff Awards and service recognition

The Policy Environment

  • Best Practice in accordance with good employer standards
  • Clear and consistent employment agreements
  • Science career structure
  • Clear remuneration policy and Market relativity considerations in determining salaries
  • Annual staff survey results inform workplace improvement


  • Subsidised relocation to take up a new role
  • Annual Leave, Sick leave, Parental Leave and Work related injury compensation entitlements in excess of legislation.
  • Flexible Working arrangements.
  • Discounted, banking, insurance, retail and services.
  • Flu vaccinations and health monitoring in critical areas.
  • Eye tests and subsidy for glasses
  • Income protection and Life  Insurance
  • Access to superannuation
  • $10 Microsoft Office for home use and Hewlett Packard discounted items


Recruitment Process

We welcome your application for roles for which you have the skills and experience. We want to work positively with all candidates and communicate with you in a timely way through the following steps.

  1. Application
  2. Shortlisting
  3. Phone interview
  4. A face to face interview
  5. Assessments
  6. Referee checks
  7. Agreement

Also see our FAQ section for more information.

1. Application

All applications for positions with AgResearch need to be made online.

Our vacancies are listed on Careers at Science New Zealand

When you apply you will be asked to upload a cover letter and your CV and have the option of uploading copies of your qualifications and academic transcripts.

Your cover letter is important as it is our opportunity to understand how you see the role and what your interest is in working with us.

You will also be asked to answer some standard questions. Please take your time to answer accurately. Screening questions are asked as a necessary part of the selection process.

The position description for the position will be available on-line when you make your application. Be sure to save a copy of the position description for future reference, as you are likely to want to refer to it later on if you’re selected for an interview.

2. Shortlisting

We frequently receive a large number of applicants for positions that we advertise.  The shortlisting process we follow  may result in some applicants being declined if other applicants have stronger attributes for the position.Please apply when another role arises that matches your skills and interest.

3. Phone interview

A phone interview if you are a shortlisted candidate is our next way to get to know you and understand whether you have the key skills and experience required for the role.

It’s also an opportunity for us to clarify the role with you so if we proceed we both know more about how it fits for both parties

Phone interviews are brief and take 10 to 15 minutes. We will prearrange a call time with you so you can ensure we can talk freely without interruption.

We will contact you either via phone or email to advise you of the outcome of your phone interview.

4. Face to face interview/s

If you are invited to a face to face interview we will ensure it is at a time and place that works as well as it can for both parties. Given our geographic spread this interview maybe by Video conference, online or by telephone.

At the interview you will meet with the Manager of the role and usually 1-2 other staff members who have relevant expertise. The purpose of the interview is to get to know you better and understand how your skills, knowledge and experience align to the key competencies and requirements for the position as detailed in the position description.

We use a structured interview process, which means we’ll be asking similar questions of each candidate. The questions will be behaviourally based, which means we’ll be asking you to tell us about specific past experiences.

We suggest you prepare well and have some questions ready to ask.

5. Assessments

If you are selected for interview or are shortlisted as the preferred candidate you may be asked to complete assessments. These may be practical exercises and/or online assessments of ability and workplace personality. You will be provided with details of the requirements as part of the recruitment process. Please ensure you give yourself sufficient time to complete the assessments well as they are an important part of our decision making

6. Referee  and Background checks

To ensure that we employ responsibly we have a thorough process for each preferred candidate including

  • reference checks
  • qualification verification (where relevant to the role)
  • eligibility to work in NZ

As part of the employment offer we will request the agreement of the successful candidate to a criminal conviction check.

We will endeavour to contact all interviewed candidates by phone to advise them of the outcome.

7.  Agreement

We usually make the initial offer of employment over the phone. The Manager will provide you with the key details of the offer, e.g. remuneration, leave, entitlements etc, and answer any questions you may have. A possible starting date will also be discussed. In some cases, especially if you are based overseas, this may be done via email.

If you accept or wish to think about the offer you will be sent a formal employment agreement for your consideration and return. If your role meets the coverage clause of the AgResearch Collective Employment Agreement the offer will include 2 alternate employment agreements for you to choose between. One is the Collective Agreement, for members of the Public Services Association (PSA) or those who intend to join, and the other is an Individual Employment  Agreement. The choice you make does not prevent you, in future,   being covered by the alternate agreement as a consequence of joining or resigning from union membership. You are welcome to seek clarification of any matter regarding the offer.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if there is anything you want to discuss regarding your job application and/or experience with our recruitment process.



At any one time AgResearch is supporting the study of numerous students offering real research experience in the workplace. Many will be immersed in a three year PhD, others a Masters thesis and, depending on the time of year, a good number of vacation workers and interns from New Zealand and other parts of the world.

Many PhD and summer student opportunities are advertised while other opportunities may arise through our relationship with universities and collaborators.

Scholarships and stipends may also be available through AgResearch or your university.

Undergraduate vacation studentships or internships may be paid employment, part employment , scholarship or unpaid depending on the circumstance. In most cases there will be an expectation that the student will undertake a project and report on it during their time with us.

AgResearch with DairyNZ offer one year intern opportunities including work at both Lincoln and Ruakura campuses to offer students an insight into agricultural research. These are advertised by both organisations.

We also offer four Maori Summer studentships each year and we are involved with the LEARN Fellowship for visiting Scientists.