I am an agricultural scientist with strong multidisciplinary interests in the dynamics of soil-plant-climate interactions and a commitment to enhancing the resilience and sustainability of agricultural systems. With a background in agricultural engineering and water resources management, my work is at the interface of data science, crop physiology, cropping systems, hydrology, and agrometeorology. I develop and apply agro-hydrological and biophysical simulation models to (1) understand soil-plant-climate interactions in agricultural production systems, (2) reduce detrimental environmental impacts through improved management systems that continue to produce significant economic and social outcomes, (3) identify targets for crop improvement and environment characterisation (drought, heat, and frost), and (4) understand the implications of genetic variability, climate change/variability, weather extremes, and management for economies and societies.

Private Sector

I acted as project manager and senior engineer in water infrastructure projects in Iran for more than 12 years. A licenced irrigation system designer, I participated in numerous water resources projects from feasibility and planning through to design and implementation and gained enormous experience along with a deep understanding of the complex nature of irrigation/drainage systems at the paddock level and their impact on water resources, water balance components, and water infrastructures at catchment and sub-catchment levels. Through close collaboration with farmers and extension officers, I learned how such systems can affect the livelihood of farmers and at the same time bring about complicated environmental and societal issues if designed and operated improperly. I also participated in flood management projects as a Senior Flood Relief Engineer leading river engineering studies with responsibilities such as field surveys, flood modelling, and flood plain zoning.

Data Science

I am an experienced data scientist with more than 12 years of hands-on commercial and research experience in data sourcing/cleaning/analysis/ visualisation/modelling, machine learning (ML), data mining (DM), deep learning (DL), and automation with applications in agriculture, hydrology, climatology, and meteorology. With an interest in emerging technologies such as serverless computing, I have extensive experience in explanatory analysis (R, Python, Pandas, Excel), data modelling (SQL, Power BI, Tableau), data visualisation (ggplot, Matplotlib, Seaborn, Plotly), deep learning (Keras and MATLAB), model training, hyper-parameter tuning, cross-validation, feature engineering, dimension reduction, regression analysis, classification, clustering, decision trees, random forests, time series analysis, and textual data analysis.

Current Projects

i-RAT: A rapid assessment tool for comparing changes in irrigation and farming practices

On-farm trials typically run for a season or two and will likely yield quite different results if they were run for a longer time period, on a different soil or under different climate. What if we could simulate virtual trials that would growers to understand how the results of a trial vary with season, location and farm management? i-RAT will help sugarcane growers do this and derisk their decision making when modifying or switching irrigation practices. i-RAT can also support ecomarkets and sustainable finance structures by estimating benefits to the environment through changed practice. 

Technical Skills

  • Programming: (***) R, Python; (**) MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, Spark, Keras (in R and Python), MATLAB, LINGO, C#, WordPress; (*) JavaScript/React, Django, CSS/Bootstrap, VB.Net, C++, FORTRAN, TensorFlow (in Python).

  • Simulation Models: (***) APSIM, APSIM-NextGen, AquaCrop, SiriusQuality, DSSAT, CropWat, WOFOST, SWAP, SWAT, HEC-RAS; (**) CLEM, TUFLOW, HEC-HMS, WaterGEMS, SWMM, WEAP; (*) REALM, DRAINS, SIRIUS.
  • Database Management: (***) MS SQL Server Management Studio, Azure Data Studio; (**) MySQL Workbench, pgAdmin.
  • BI and Data Analytics: (***) Excel (Power Query, Pivot Table/Chart), Power BI; (**) Tableau, SSRS, SPSS; (*) KNIME.
  • Cloud Computing: (*) Azure (Storage, Data Factory, Machine Learning, SQL), Databricks, AWS (EC2, S3, KNIME).
  • Version Control: (***) SourceTree, GitHub Desktop; (**) Subversion; (*) Git Bash.
  • GIS: (***) ArcGIS; (**) MapWindow, QGIS.
  • Office: (***) Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Visio; (**) Access.
  • Biophysical/crop modelling, agro-hydrological modelling, crop physiology, agrometeorology, hydrology
  • Climate change/variability, precision and climate-smart agriculture, sustainable farming.
  • Farm (irrigation and drainage) system design and management, hydraulic modelling, flood modelling, and water delivery systems.
  • Precision farming, climate-smart agriculture, sustainable agriculture.
  • Integrated water resources management, water resources planning, flood management, land use management, and virtual water.
  • Computer programming (R, Python, MATLAB, C#, SQL), data analysis, machine learning, deep learning, and business intelligence.
  • Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing (GIS and RS).
  • 2023 to present - Senior Research Fellow, James Cook University (Townsville, QLD)
  • 2021 to 2023 - Agroecological Modeller, James Cook University (Townsville, QLD)
  • 2017 to 2021 - Research Fellow in Crop Modelling, Crop Physiology and Data Science, University of Queensland (Toowoomba, QLD)
  • 2017 - Co-Founder and Former CEO, Fannavaran Keyhan Danesh Novin Co. (Iran)
  • 2016 to 2017 - Senior Agricultural Engineer, Data Scientist and Project Coordinator, Jarfab Payesh Consulting Engineers Co. (Iran)
  • 2015 to 2016 - Research Associate, Limagrain Europe / INRA-SupAgro (Montpellier, France)
  • 2006 to 2015 - Agricultural Engineer and Data Analyst, Senior Member of Water Engineering Section, Jarfab Payesh Consulting Engineers Co. (Iran)
  • 2012 to 2013 - Agricultural Engineer and Data Analyst, Saj Geo-information Consulting Firm (Iran)
  • 2010 to 2012 - Agricultural Engineer, River Engineering and Flood Control Expert, Lozan Civil Development Engineering Co. (Iran)
  • 2008 to 2012 - PhD Research Assistant, University of Tehran (Iran)

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 27+ research outputs authored by Dr Brian Collins from 2017 onwards.


The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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