The Team

The CSIRO Circular Economy research team offers deep cross-cutting science and research expertise in socioeconomics, data science and operations, technology development, innovation and implementation, manufacturing, risk management, and resource sustainability.

We take a global view of improving design, standards, production, consumption, waste management and resource recovery, while understanding how materials flow through the economy, and how to value-add to resources, wastes and new materials. The knowledge contribution of the Circular Economy research will allow Australia to become a global leader in circularity and to achieve the economic, social, and environmental benefits of a circular economy transition.

Find out more about the team below.


  • Heinz Schandl is an international science leader for sustainable materials management and the decoupling of economic activity environmental pressures and impacts. He is an adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Environmental Studies at Nagoya University in Japan and a member of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) International Resource Panel. His research focuses on social theory, industrial metabolism, and environmental and sustainability policy to support evidence-based policy for resource efficiency, waste minimization, greenhouse gas abatement and the circular economy.

Deputy Lead

  • Naomi Boxall is a research scientist with more than 15 years’ experience in mining, waste treatment and resource recovery from strategic urban, industrial and problematic wastes. Her areas of expertise are technical development incorporating industrial and environmental biotechnology for waste treatment and resource recovery, including process design, development and optimisation, and techno-economic assessment. Naomi’s technical research is bolstered by the application of policy, economic and social lenses, which help to identify barriers and opportunities to the application of technology at scale in waste and resource recovery. Currently, Naomi is researching innovation for emerging waste streams, practical application of circular economy principles in Australia, and the impact of hazardous chemicals on safe waste reuse.

Deputy Lead

  • Colleen MacMillan is a scientist fascinated by plants and fibres and their uses for renewable commodities and products, with 25+ years of experience in cotton biotechnology, forest biotechnology, and fundamental plant biology. Colleen leads CSIRO’s Cotton Fibre team, dedicated to researching cotton fibres with high-value and novel properties using biotechnology-based research to create solutions for sustainable fibre-based industries and communities and incorporating fundamental science and pan-value-chain engagement in the emerging areas of textiles and fibres. She is also active in strategic initiatives in the transition of the Australian circular economy, including the bio-circular economy, textile and fibre circular products, and collaborative communities. In addition to science, Colleen is firmly committed to inclusion and diversity and is the inaugural inclusion and diversity executive lead for CSIRO Agriculture and Food.

Program Manager

  • Natasha Porter is a Social Scientist and the CSIRO Circular Economy research program manager. Natasha has extensive research experience across various science domains, including water research, energy, circular economy, sustainable land use, climate change, biodiversity and ecology. Natasha has managed projects of multiple scales, from regional-scale to large international collaborative projects. Natasha’s research has focused on developing social theory, integrating it with multidisciplinary projects and with expertise covering the design and implementation of community-based experimental research, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis and project management.

Research Scientist, CSIRO Environment

  • Taryn Kong is a transdisciplinary scientist with a background in qualitative intercultural research, environmental sciences, and accounting. She integrated participatory, qualitative, and quantitative methods on various sustainability issues, including climate change adaptation, large-scale ecological restoration, and Indigenous enterprise development in the USA, South Africa, and Australia. Taryn’s current research interests include business models and partnership pathways to harness the private sector’s resources and capabilities to accelerate a just transformation to a circular economy.

Research Scientist, CSIRO Manufacturing

  • Melissa Skidmore is a senior research scientist with over 20 years of experience in polymer, synthetic and computational chemistry and polymer analysis and characterisation. Melissa combines her expertise to investigate the redesign, reuse and recycling of plastics. Melissa’s current research includes new polymer development- “recyclable-by-design”, the management and processing of problem plastics and the promotion of circular economy principles to turn plastic waste into a resource. Melissa co-authored the report titled “The recycled plastics market: global analysis and trends”.

Research Scientist, CSIRO Data61

  • Andrew Terhorst is a computational social scientist with extensive research and consulting experience across various domains, including corporate sustainability, mineral exploration, environmental impact assessment, natural resource management, and urban and regional planning. Andrew has expertise in spatial data analysis, social network analysis, and natural language processing. His current research focuses on open innovation, particularly knowledge diffusion and brokerage. Andrew is particularly interested in sustainable business models and how open innovation can facilitate the emerging circular economy.

Business Development Manager

  • Emma Yuen manages business development for CSIRO’s Circular Economy research initiative and other critical science domains aimed at enabling more sustainable production for Australia’s industries. Emma’s expertise is linking CSIRO researchers and technology developers to key industry stakeholders for managing contaminants and wastes, monitoring and remediating contaminated sites and waters and producing value-adding products from materials, wastes and resources that would otherwise be lost from our economy.
natalie kikken headshot

Natalie Kikken

Senior Communication Advisor

  • Natalie Kikken has over 15 years’ experience working in communications across the government, industry and not for profit sectors. She has expertise in the development and delivery of communications campaigns, storytelling and writing, media and issues management, content and digital assets including video and social media, stakeholder engagement, collateral, training and employee engagement.