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Our vision for CSIRO to be world’s premier public research organisation

20 September 2016

As CSIRO marks 100 years of scientific excellence, the Turnbull Government is outlining a vision for the organisation to become the world’s premier public research organisation over the coming decade.

This is an ambitious goal – but it is achievable.

At CSIRO’s Gala Dinner in Melbourne tonight, I was delighted to announce that the Turnbull Government is committed to working with CSIRO to build the nation’s strength in science and provide greater opportunities for all Australians.

To help achieve this, CSIRO will strengthen investment in frontier science – in areas it anticipates will grow over coming decades – through its Future Science Platform (FSP).

This includes increasing CSIRO’s investment in “blue sky” science to $52 million per year by 2019-2020.

The six new Future Science Platforms are: probing biosystems, digiscape, synthetic biology, environomics, deep earth imaging and advanced integrated materials.

This will see more staff working on frontier science, and will increase collaboration by attracting students and researchers to work with CSIRO.

These areas have been chosen by CSIRO researchers and staff.

Tonight, I also announce that 39 teams from Australian universities and CSIRO will receive support to commercialise their science and technology innovations as part of the Turnbull Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.

Australia bats above its weight when it comes to great research breakthroughs but we have stumbled in connecting that research to the customers, investors and industries that can commercialise it and convert it to real-world solutions. 

These teams will have the chance to have their big ideas fast-tracked through the nation’s sci-tech pre-accelerator, ON Prime, which helps to create connections between research, science and business.

We expect to see a wealth of new technologies come through the program, creating new start-ups, new jobs and transforming existing industries like food and agriculture, advanced manufacturing and sustainable development.

Some of the big ideas that will be fast-tracked include:

  • A non-invasive diagnostic test to improve IVF success rates by predicting which embryos are healthiest;
  • An electronic nose that can detect illegal trafficking of wildlife contraband;
  • An acoustic-belt that listens to, records and analyses gut noises to aid more accurate diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or other gastrointestinal conditions;
  • A new tool for winemakers that captures and interprets historical, real-time and forecast data to help improve decision making and increase wine quality and crop outputs;
  • New contrast imaging technology that improves X-ray image sensitivity and quality and allows doctors to ‘see the invisible’ in tumours and soft-tissue while reducing the radiation dose for patients.

CSIRO is one of Australia’s greatest institutions and amongst our most valuable assets. It is a national treasure.

For 100 years CSIRO has advanced Australia with a range of inventions, innovations and knowledge breakthroughs that have changed and improved the lives of people here and around the world.

The ultrasound scanner, extended wear contact lenses, plastic banknotes and a highly nutritious strain of barley are just a few of CSIRO’s inventions that have improved our lives.

And of course CSIRO researchers invented fast wireless local area network (WLAN), a technology that paved the way for widespread Wi-Fi which is now used in more than 5 billion devices worldwide.

CSIRO will continue to be at the forefront of globally important scientific discoveries and game-changing innovation now and into the future.

The Turnbull Government is currently consulting with the Australian scientific community to revise CSIRO’s Statement of Expectations, which will form the basis of its operations for the next two decades.

The new Statement of Expectations will help CSIRO become even stronger in the future.

The CSIRO Gala Dinner was part of the International School of Research Impact (ISRIA), which CSIRO is hosting. This is the first time ISRIA has been held in Australia.

ISRIA has brought together around 90 international research, industry and not-for-profit representatives from over 10 countries for a series of events to enhance participants’ research impact assessment skills.

The program helps participants plan, implement and manage assessments, communicate the results to intended audiences and measure and optimise the returns of their research investments.

Outlines of the Future Science Platform are in the attached media release.

For more information on the Future Science Platforms, visit: http://www.csiro.au/en/About/Future-Science-Platforms

For more information about ON Prime, visit: http://oninnovation.com.au/Programs/ON-Prime

Media contact: Mr Hunt's office 02 6277 7070