Summary: SARA-r is recruiting board directors to grow our new entity. The directors will lead our strategic vision, consistent with our core values and aims. While the Board of Directors oversees and provides insight into the business direction of SARA-r, it also works closely with the Research Board and Principal Scientist. Our creative, outcome-oriented, and dynamic work environment allows the creation and implementation of real-world conservation concepts, that unite people with a common idea and goal.

Org: Sharks And Rays Australia Research Ltd

  • Term: 3 yrs
  • Hours: 8-16 hrs per month, flexible
  • Reports to: the board

About Sharks And Rays Australia Research Ltd.

SARA-r was founded by SARA Pty Ltd in 2021, to expand our ongoing work with endangered sharks and rays, including sawfish, both in Queensland (field work, collaborations with Aboriginal Land and Sea Ranger groups, collaborations with local schools) and Australia wide (Citizen science project identifying sawfish distributions). As a not-for-profit research organisation, the governance of SARA-r is divided into the business side (board of directors) and the research side (research board). Our research board brings together 7 internationally renowned biologists, who represent essential expertise on the unique sharks and rays of Northern Australia.


Our core values and mission:  At SARA-r we believe that long-term conservation goals can only be achieved if they are based on sound science, public outreach and an inclusive model of implementation, i.e. working with local stakeholders. SARA-r aims to not just produce science in the ‘ivory tower’ but to involve the general public in our sawfish and shark research expeditions. In many ways, it is ultimately up to them to look after the incredible species that share the natural world with us.


Our current work:  At SARA-r, we like to think outside the box. Our current main study species, sawfish, are the most endangered of all sharks and rays globally, but they are much more than that. These large animals (up to 7m length) are culturally important to many Indigenous groups, and they were once amongst the most abundant large predators in tropical coastal, inshore and freshwater regions of our planet. Sitting somewhere between charismatic and dangerous megafauna, the work done by our principal scientist, collaborators, students, field assistants, interns, and volunteers, ensures that these animals don’t just quietly go extinct, but will remain a vital part of Northern Australia’s ecosystems.

Our creative, outcome-oriented, and dynamic work environment allows the creation and implementation of real-world conservation concepts, that unite people with a common idea and goal.

  • SARA is currently the only Australian organisation that allows paying field assistants to participate in shark and ray research expeditions, and gain hands-on research experience. Field work is led by our scientists and conducted in close collaboration with Aboriginal Land and Sea Rangers, and sometimes with commercial fishers, thus uniting all of us during intensive tagging work-ups of large animals.
  • Our citizen science project turns members of the general public into sawfish spotters, and spreads the word on sawfish and their biology by turning old trophy saws into messengers for conservation. Our sawfish display cases and boards can be seen at 60 locations across Queensland.


Vacancies:  As SARA is growing and restructuring to SARA-r, we are seeking a board of directors that will offer leadership and governance in their complementary fields of expertise. SARA-r is seeking to appoint up to four highly motivated Non-Executive Directors.We aim to establish a diverse board, comprising directors with a broad range of skills and life experience. All directors must have, or be already working towards gaining, an understanding of the governance principles of an Australian not for profit organisation (company limited by guarantee). Directors need to be team players who can also work independently. We are looking for enthusiastic individuals who are residing in Australia.

We are seeking expressions of interest from individuals with qualifications, skills and/or experience in any of the followingareas:


  • Law (corporations, NFP sector, environmental, tax, contract)
  • Governance (corporate, environmental)
  • IT (Public relations / marketing / communication)
  • Philanthropy / fundraising / campaigning
  • Finance / accounting (audit, NFP sector, tax)
  • Ability to actively participate in strategic decision making


  • Ability to share and engage professional networks and relationships to the mission of SARA-r
  • Experience in working with various levels of government
  • A sound understanding of the principles of conservation biology, ecological management, endangered species management and a willingness to expand this knowledge in pursuit of SARA-r’s mission.

Key selection criteria: SARA-r board members are expected to:

  • Demonstrate a strong commitment to the mission and values of SARA-r
  • Demonstrate experience in strategic planning that may come from business, management experience or not-for-profit organisations
  • Lead a culture of collaboration, transparency and collegiality where board peers and organisational staff/volunteers feel engaged and respected
  • Thrive in an outcome-oriented environment
  • Provide evidence of knowledge of ACNC and ASIC governance principles and demonstrate a commitment to working according to these principles
  • Demonstrate initiative and innovative thinking

Time, commitment, term and expenses:  Board duties include: 3 board meetings per year (3hr each, strategic planning, operational planning, board evaluation), ability to oversee specific portfolios (treasurer, secretary, chair, plus essential items listed above). The time commitment will vary throughout term (i.e. inductions and meeting other directors at beginning) and year (i.e. interim meetings of committees as required). This is a volunteer position. All meetings will take place virtually.

The first round of applications for this position closed in November 2021, but we are always interested in expanding our team and horizons with the right people. To apply for this position, please email a cover letter outlining answers to the following questions, along with your CV, to Dr Barbara Wueringer (

  1. Why are you interested in joining the board of directors of SARA-r?
  2. What skills, knowledge and experience would you bring to the board?
  3. What do you hope to get from joining our board of directors?

If you have any questions please call Barbara on 0431 519 524.

Access a flyer here.