CSIRO launches new long-term science mission

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CSIRO has announced it will work with the government, universities, industry and the wider community, on a new missions program to bolster Australia’s COVID-19 recovery.

The national science agency said the program of large scale, major scientific and collaborative research initiatives, will be aimed at solving some of Australia’s greatest challenges.

Chief executive Dr Larry Marshall said, “While COVID-19 will undoubtedly continue to disrupt, Australia will come together through this crisis and build a strong future in the process. We are calling for partners to join this Team Australia approach to solving what seem like unsolvable problems.”

Dr Marshall said the agency will direct $100 million annually to the co-creation of missions to help Australia achieve these outcomes:

  • Increase resilience and preparedness against pandemics;
  • Mitigate the impact of natural disasters;
  • Create a hydrogen industry to generate a new clean energy export industry;
  • Accelerate the transition to agile manufacturing for higher revenue and sovereign supply;
  • Overcome growing resistance to antibiotics;
  • Create a national climate platform to navigate climate change uncertainty;
  • Help ur farmers overcome drought, mitigate climate impacts, increase yield and profitability, create a sustainable Future Protein Industry and leverage the world’s love of Australian-grown food to collectively drive the country's trusted agriculture and food exports to $100 billion;
  • Use technology to navigate Australia’s transition to net-zero emissions, without derailing the economy;
  • Safeguard the health of waterways by monitoring the quality of water resources from space;
  • Create new industries that transform raw mineral commodities into unique higher-value products like critical energy metals that build Australia’s value-added offering, jobs, and sovereign supply;
  • End plastic waste by reinventing the way plastic is made, processed and recycled; and
  • Double the number of small and medium businesses (SMEs) benefitting from Australian science to become a collaboration nation.

Industry minister Karen Andrews said, “Science and technology are our greatest tools when it comes to maximising opportunities and addressing the challenges that face Australia at this time of great upheaval.

“We need to make sure that our scientists and researchers are working collaboratively with industry to solve real world challenges for the benefit of everyday Australians.”

David Thodey AO, chair of CSIRO said, “The CSIRO Board fully endorses this Mission-led strategy and is committed to supporting the talented scientists and researchers at CSIRO, our universities and business partners to work together on these challenges for the good of our Nation in these challenging times.”

Dr Marshall said CSIRO was drawing on its 100-year history to develop the missions with its partners across science and industry, to support the nation at a tough time.

“For over a century we have worked with scientists around the country to solve our greatest challenges, and find the opportunities that give Australia her competitive advantage. From our first mission to save our agricultural land from prickly pear, to discovering breakthroughs like fast WiFi, Australia’s first digital computer, our 70-year history in battling bushfires, and our latest vaccine, virus and surgical mask work for COVID-19, CSIRO has always made Australia’s success our mission."