Adjunct Professor Brian Keating

Adjunct Professor

Centre for Horticultural Science
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation


Brian Keating (PhD University of Queensland 1981) is currently Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland in association with the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI). This honorary appointment follows on from a 40 year engagement in agricultural research in Australia and abroad. Brian’s career has focused on the productivity and sustainability of agricultural systems in Australia and sub-Saharan Africa. He was a pioneer in the application of simulation models in farming systems research in eastern and southern Africa in the 1980’s and 90’s. Over the last two decades, Brian has held a number of senior leadership roles in CSIRO, including: Chief of CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems (2004-2008), Director of Sustainable Agriculture Flagship (2008-2013) and the member of the CSIRO Executive responsible for Agriculture, Food and Health (2014-2015).

Brian served (2010-2015) on the Australian Government’s statutory committees responsible for independent advice on the scientific and environmental integrity of greenhouse gas mitigation programs- namely Carbon Farming Initiative (DOIC- Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee) and the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERAC – Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee).

Recent international advisory roles have include Chair of the Science Advisory Panel of AgResearch - New Zealand (2013-2018) and Chair Independent Steering Committee of the CGIAR Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) (2014-2019). Brian remains a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Irish agricultural research and extension agency, Teagasc and Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI). He was recognised as Distinguished Lecturer and Fellow of the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFOST) in 2014.

Academic Qualifications

B.Agr.Sc (1st Class Honours) University of Queensland 1976

Ph.D University of Queensland 1981

Career Timeline

PhD Student University of Queensland 1977-80

Research Scientist CSIRO Tropical Crops and Pastures 1981-85

Research Scientist ACIAR/CSIRO/KARI Project Kenya 1985-89

Senior Research Scientist CSIRO Tropical Crops & Pastures 1990-98 Principal Research Scientist CSIRO Tropical Agriculture 1998-2000

Senior Principal Research Scientist CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems 2000-02

Program Leader, Agricultural Landscapes CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems 2002-03

Chief Research Scientist / Acting Chief CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems 2003-04

Deputy Chief - Science Integration CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems 2004-2006

Chief of Division CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems 2006 – 2008

Director, Sustainable Agriculture Flagship CSIRO 2008 – 2014

Executive Director, Ag, Food & Health CSIRO 2014 – 2015

Honorary Fellow CSIRO Agriculture & Food 2016 – 2020

Adjunct Professor University of Queensland 2020 - present

Publication Summary Google Scholar reports 260 cited articles (3/4/2020) with 10,999 lifetime citations (4303 since 2015) and a lifetime h-index of 50. View my Google Scholar profile here.

Research Impacts

Brian Keating has 40 years’ experience in the conduct and leadership of agricultural and natural resource management R&D, initially as a post-graduate researcher with the University of Queensland (1977-1980) and then via a diverse range of roles in Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO (1981- 2016). Leadership roles in CSIRO have included Deputy Chief and then Chief of the Division of Sustainable Ecosystems (2004-2008), Director of Sustainable Agriculture National Research Flagship (2008-2013) and the member of the CSIRO Executive responsible for Agriculture, Food and Health (2014-2015). From 2016 to 2020, Brian continued his association with CSIRO via an Honorary Fellowship in Agriculture and Food.

Leadership and governance roles beyond CSIRO in the 1990’s and 2000’s have included Board memberships of three Cooperative Research Centres (CRC), namely CRC for Sustainable Sugar Production, CRC for Rainforest Ecology and Management and CRC for Tropical Savannas.

Brian’s core disciplinary background is in plant physiology, crop agronomy and soil science. These disciplines have formed the foundation for a career built around systems approaches to profitable and sustainable agricultural practice, in the face of climate variability and the social and economic factors shaping farming practice. Brian played a lead role in the development of the APSIM farming systems modelling suite of tools. This simulation model capability is increasingly supporting management decisions on Australian grain farms via the Yield Prophet tools. His research has primarily focused on sustainable broad-acre farming systems R&D in the Australian grains and sugar industries and smallholder agricultural systems in sub Saharan Africa. He is a long standing member of the Editorial Board of the international journal, Agricultural Systems. He has authored over 200 scientific papers covering diverse topics including soil and water management, plant nutrition, soil carbon and nitrogen cycling, crop physiology, farming systems analysis and design, bioenergy, simulation modelling, climatic risk management and food security.

As leader of the Sustainable Agriculture National Research Flagship, Brian worked across all CSIRO business units to create an integrated program of research and engagement in all aspects of agricultural sustainability, including a major focus on greenhouse gas mitigation in the Australian land sector (soils, crops, livestock and forests). This included significant advisory roles in the Australian government policy domain over the 2010-2015 period via participation in the Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee for the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) and the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee (ERAC) of the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF).

Brian retired from CSIRO in February 2016 and he continued (2016-2020) as Fellow to CSIRO Agriculture and Food (an honorary role). Brian is currently a member of the International Scientific Advisory Board of the Irish agricultural research and extension agency, TEAGASC and the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) at the University of Queensland. He recently stood down as Chair of the Science Advisory Panel for AgResearch (a Crown Research Institute owned by the New Zealand Government and leader in pastoral systems research for NZ) and Chair of the Science Advisory Panels for the CGIAR Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

He was recognised as a Fellow of the International Union of Food Science and Technology in 2014.

Brian is a graduate (2002) of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) program for Company Board members.

In February 2020, Brian was recognised as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland.


View all Publications



Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Keating, Brian A. and Thorburn, Peter J. (2018). Modelling crops and cropping systems - evolving purpose, practice and prospects. International Crop Modelling Symposium on Crop Modelling for Agriculture and Food Security under Global Change (iCropM), Berlin, Germany, 2016. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/j.eja.2018.04.007

  • Keating, Brian A., Carberry, Peter S., Bindraban, Prem S., Asseng, Senthold, Meinke, Holger and Dixon, John (2010). Eco-efficient agriculture: concepts, challenges, and opportunities. CGIAR Science Forum 2009, Wageningen, Netherlands, 16-17 June, 2009. Hoboken, NJ, United States : John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.2135/cropsci2009.10.0594

  • Keating, Brian and Carberry, Peter (2010). Sustainable production, food security and supply chain implications. Delivering Food Security through Supply Chain Led Innovations, London, United Kingdom, 7-9 Sept 2010. Association of Applied Biologists.

  • Lisson, S.N., Inman-Bamber, N.G., Robertson, M.J. and Keating, B.A. (2005). The historical and future contribution of crop physiology and modelling research to sugarcane production systems. International Workshop on Sugarcane Physiology - Integrating from Cell to Crop to Advance Sugarcane Production, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, 1-4 September, 2003. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.fcr.2005.01.010

  • Keating, Brian A. and Harle, K. (2004). Farming in an ancient land - Australia's journey towards sustainable agriculture. ISCO 2004 - 13th International Soil Conservation Organisation Conference, Brisbane, Queensland, July 2004. Brisbane, QLD: Australian Society of Soil Science and International Erosion Control Association (Australasia).

  • Keating, B.A., Gaydon, D., Huth, N.I., Probert, M.E., Verburg, K., Smith, C.J. and Bond, W. (2002). Use of modelling to explore the water balance of dryland farming systems in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia. 2nd International Symposium on Modeling Cropping Systems, Florence, Italy, 16-18 July, 2001. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/s1161-0301(02)00102-8

  • Probert, M. E. and Keating, B. A. (2000). What soil constraints should be included in crop and forest models?. Conference on Food and Forestry: Global Change and Global Challenges, Reading, United Kingdom, September 1999. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/s0167-8809(00)00231-0

  • Keating, B. A., Kingston, G., Wood, A. W., Berding, N. and Muchow, R. C. (1999). Monitoring nitrogen at the mill to guide N fertilisation practice on farm. Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists,

  • Carberry, P. S., Adiku, S. G. K., McCown, R. L. and Keating, B. A. (1996). Application of the APSIM cropping systems model to intercropping systems. Dynamics of Roots and Nitrogen in Cropping Systems of the Semi-Arid Tropics, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh, India, 21 - 25 November 1994. Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan: Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences.

  • Keating, B. A., Bauld, J., Hillier, J., Ellis, R., Weier, K. L., Sunners, F. and Connell, D. (1996). Leaching of nutrients and pesticides to Queensland groundwaters. National Conference on Downstream Effects of Land Use, Rockhampton, QLD, Australia, 26 - 28 April 1995. Brisbane, QLD, Australia: Department of Natural Resources.

  • Muchow, R. C., Robertson, M. J. and Keating, B. A. (1996). Limits to the Australian sugar industry: climatic and biological factors. Sugar 2000 Symposium, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, 20 – 23 August 1996. St Lucia, QLD, Australia: CSIRO Tropical Agriculture.

  • Keating, B. A., Verburg, K., Huth, N. I. and Robertson, M. J. (1996). Nitrogen management in intensive agriculture: sugarcane in Australia. Sugar 2000 Symposium, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, 20 – 23 August 1996. St Lucia, QLD, Australia: CSIRO Tropical Agriculture.

  • Probert, M. E., Keating, B. A., Thompson, J. P. and Parton, W. J. (1995). Modelling water, nitrogen, and crop yield for a long-term fallow management experiment. National Workshop on Long-term Experiments, Canberra, ACT, Australia, 12 - 13 October 1994. Collingwood: C S I R O Publications. doi: 10.1071/ea9950941

  • McCown, R. L., Cox, P. G., Keating, B. A., Hammer, G. L., Carberry, P. S., Probert, M. E. and Freebairn, D. M. (1994). The development of strategies for improved agricultural systems and land-use management. International Workshop on Systems Research Methods in Agriculture in Developing Countries, The Hague, Netherlands, 22-24 November 1994. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer. doi: 10.1007/978-94-011-0764-8_5

  • Keating, B. A., McCown, R. L. and Wafula, B. M. (1993). Adjustment of nitrogen inputs in response to a seasonal forecast in a region of high climatic risk. International Symposium on Systems Approaches for Agricultural Development, Bangkok, Thailand, 2-6 December 1991. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-94-011-2842-1_14

  • Keating, B. A., Godwin, D. C. and Watiki, J. M. (1991). Optimising nitrogen inputs in response to climatic risk. International Symposium On Climatic Risk in Crop Production : Models and Management for the Semiarid Tropics and Subtropics, Brisbane, Australia, 2-6 July 1990. Wallingford, United Kingdom: CAB International.

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