The Australian Government wants CSIRO to become the world’s premier public research organisation by building on its current standing and capabilities.
I have written to David Thodey, CSIRO’s chair, with a new Statement of Expectations that outlines the Turnbull Government’s vision for CSIRO for the next decade and puts a clear focus on world leading pure and translated scientific research.
We share this vision with CSIRO: that it reinforces its role in performing pure science for the public good as a foundation stone to the national benefit, knowledge and capabilities, at the same time leading the translation of that science into innovative outcomes.
These outcomes will continue to improve Australians’ quality of life with better health, food production and quality, environmental resilience and economic capability.
To assist in achieving this, staffing levels will rise and funding for CSIRO will increase from $1.35 billion to $1.465 billion over the next four years.
My statement of expectations asks CSIRO to focus on areas of immediate and critical importance to Australia set out by the National Science and Research Priorities and other sector specific priorities, including Industry Knowledge Priorities of the Industry Growth Centres.
In particular, I have asked CSIRO to lead the continued development of climate change science, mitigation and adaptation research, including decadal forecasting by the Climate Science Centre.
I endorse CSIRO’s emphasis in its strategic plan that it become Australia’s innovation catalyst, an ambition that will be reflected in its engagement with Australian industry and the community in general.
As Australia’s premier science and research body, CSIRO is vital to implementing the government’s science and innovation policies, including improving science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education.
In developing this Statement of Expectations, I have consulted extensively with stakeholders including universities, industry groups, research organisations, CSIRO staff, the union and members of the scientific community to ensure a balanced set of priorities and a direction that is consistent with community expectations.
I am grateful to those who prepared submissions and participated in consultative forums. Their input has been genuinely appreciated – and incorporated.
I am particularly pleased with the positive feedback and support for CSIRO’s direction with respect to pure and applied research, increased collaboration with industry and growth centres and as a catalyst of innovation.
I look forward to continuing to work with CSIRO to help realise our vision for it to become the world’s premier public research organisation over the next decade.