Scientific and technology solutions

Function 1.1 Conduct and facilitate the uptake of excellent scientific and technology solutions to deliver impact to the nation.
two CSIRO staff members wearing blue overalls and hard hats in the field conducting bushfire research

We’re drawing on our almost 70‑year history of bushfire research across multiple fields of science including land management, building and materials design, fire protection and testing, and biodiversity management.

We deliver on this requirement by:

  • conducting scientific research aligned to the greatest challenges and encouraging or facilitating the application or utilisation of the results
  • establishing collaborations and multidisciplinary research partnerships (with public and private sector organisations, other publicly funded research agencies, universities and schools) to integrate the best solution for our customers
  • providing products, and technical and advisory services to industry and government including professional consulting and testing facilities.

Strategic focus areas for 2020–21:

  • focusing our portfolio towards larger-scale challenges and missions
  • investing more in frontier and cross‑cutting science that reinvents and creates new industries for Australia
  • continuing to strengthen digital capability in CSIRO
  • developing strategic R&D partnerships and delivering excellent customer experiences to industry, SMEs and universities.

Key activities for 2020–21

Challenges and Digital Transformation Program

Mission program establishment: Announce initial portfolio of missions with anchor partners and investors to demonstrate the value of the collaborative operating model. Continually assess impact of initial missions and add to portfolio to address key national priorities.

Digital transformation: For organisational transformation, accelerate our Managed Data Ecosystem platform to extract the maximum value from our data and digital assets. We will build capability and mindsets to solve adaptive problems and reposition our workforce for the digital future, and enhance our support areas to optimise services and deliver new value from digital innovation.

Portfolio planning and investment

Improved approach to portfolio management: Assess our existing science portfolio and establish an enhanced cross-organisational portfolio direction and approach with clear milestones and a roadmap required to address national challenges.

Customer growth and retention: Aid our revenue pipeline growth and financial sustainability in a post-COVID-19 economy through new engagement models, strategic partnerships and larger programs of cross-organisational work.

Key science programs

Responding to COVID-19: Enhance Australia’s disease preparedness against present and emerging infectious diseases by supporting vaccine development, possible treatments and expanding ACDP’s zoonotic diseases work and capability.

Australia’s climate and disaster resilience: Build on work delivered to governments in June 2020 on climate and disaster resilience. We will engage deeply with partner agencies, stakeholders and end users to establish new mechanisms and deliver climate information services and practical science to update resilience and adaptation measures across industry, community and government.

State of the Climate report: Deliver the next biennial State of the Climate report with the Bureau of Meteorology. It will draw on the latest monitoring, science and projection information to describe variability and changes in Australia’s climate, and how it is likely to change in the future. It is highly likely this will be superseded by updated approaches in the climate and disaster resilience areas in future years.

Great Barrier Reef: Contribute as a major partner to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program in the governance of the program and the delivery of science in areas relevant to our capability.


  1. The application of research benefits the Australian economy, society and environment.
  2. The provision of timely advice, information, and specific solutions inform and protect society and the environment.
  3. New knowledge and solutions are available to be used by academia, government and customers.
  4. Strong relationships with universities and other research organisations enhance Australia’s innovation capacity.
  5. We are trusted as the national science agency and have a reputation for world-class pioneering research.
KPIs and targets
Outcome KPI Metrics Targets
2020–21 2021–22 2022–23 2023–24
Impact: value of benefits created for Australia.a Demonstrated value of benefits underpinned by an increasing annual portfolio of externally validated impact case studies capturing triple bottom line impacts. Evidence of maintained or increased impact Evidence of maintained or increased impact Evidence of maintained or increased impact Evidence of maintained or increased impact
Customers are satisfied, as reported by increased numbers of them.b Customer Net Promoter Score (NPS) maintained with increased survey sample. NPS +40 NPS +40 NPS +40 NPS +40
Research is recognised as excellent, referenced and used by academia. Normalised Citation Index (NCI).c NCI 1.5 NCI 1.5 NCI 1.5 NCI 1.5
Science and technology is adopted and creates value for industry. Mixed methods quantitative assessment of equity portfolio; 3-year rolling average of revenue from intellectual property (i.e. royalties, licensing); spin-out companies established and the creation of new SMEs facilitated. Maintain or increase performance across each method Maintain or increase performance across each method Maintain or increase performance across each method Maintain or increase performance across each method
Effective collaborative relationships with the R&D sector. Demonstrated evidence of the value created from deep R&D collaborative relationships with mixed methods including joint publication, formal partnerships and qualitative assessment. Evidence of the value created in a collaboration from a mixed methods assessment Evidence of the value created in a collaboration from a mixed methods assessment Evidence of the value created in a collaboration from a mixed methods assessment Evidence of the value created in a collaboration from a mixed methods assessment
CSIRO is recognised as a trusted advisor. Business Sentiment Survey: awareness of potential to work directly with CSIRO and knowledge of CSIRO. Increase

a. Over the four years, the annual portfolios of impact case studies shall increase to broaden the body of evidence, from 25 to 40 per year to demonstrate impact and from two to six per year to demonstrate national benefit.
b. NPS targets are set to ‘maintain’ current level of results while CSIRO focuses on increasing the number of responses/sample size to further validate the already relatively high result.
c. A standard international metric in the form of an index relative to the global average indicated by 1.0. It represents the rate of citation of CSIRO publications by other authors, normalised by field of publication. A result of 1.50 indicates 50 per cent more citations than the global average in the relevant fields.