Purpose and strategy

We solve the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology.
hand holding a tool turning a round metal piece of equipment

Australia has not seen a challenge like COVID-19 before, which makes this a unique opportunity for innovation to support recovery through purposeful, coordinated action to achieve strong and inclusive growth. Each of our missions has been designed to support national growth opportunities by creating new industries or supporting our existing ones to thrive. We developed a metal membrane to extract pure hydrogen from ammonia, paving the way for a new export market.

Our purpose

We are an Australian Government statutory authority within the Industry, Innovation and Science portfolio, operating under the provisions of the Science and Industry Research Act 1949 (SIR Act). To align with our Portfolio Budget Statement (PBS) outcome statement, we describe our purpose as:

Solving the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology.

Our vision

We are Australia’s innovation catalyst, collaborating to boost Australia’s innovation performance.

Our strategy

Our strategy directs how we will achieve our purpose. It comprises our objectives, activities and outcomes, supported by strategic pillars that guide our science.


For over 100 years, we have been the mission-led national science agency, collaborating across the innovation system. These primary objectives, guided by the SIR Act, help us to deliver on our purpose:

  1. Conduct and encourage the uptake of world-class scientific research.
  2. Mobilise and develop the best talent, for the benefit of Australia.
  3. Manage national research infrastructure for the nation.
  4. Ensure the sustainability of CSIRO.


We identified these challenges as the areas of greatest importance to Australians. We solve these challenges through our portfolio of missions. Together the challenges and missions will drive Australia’s recovery and resilience following recent national crises.

Health and wellbeing

Enhancing health for all through preventive, personalised, biomedical and digital health services.

Food security and quality

Achieving sustainable regional food security and growing Australia’s share of premium agrifood markets.

A secure Australia and region

Safeguarding Australia from risks such as war, terrorism, pandemics, disasters and cyber-attacks.

Resilient and valuable environments

Enhancing the resilience, sustainable use and value of our environments.

Sustainable energy and resources

Building regional energy and resource security and our competitiveness while lowering emissions.

Future industries

Creating Australia’s future industries and jobs by collaborating to boost innovation performance and STEM skills.

the murray darling basin - an image of the trees on the banks of the basin where you ca see the reflection of the trees on the surface of the water

The Murray-Darling Basin is the largest river system in Australia. It generates 40 per cent of the gross value of agricultural production in our nation and supplies water to over two million Australians.


To help us solve each challenge, our new missions program will bolster Australia’s COVID-19 recovery and build long-term resilience, focused on outcomes that lead to positive impact, new jobs and economic growth.

Missions will reach beyond what is possible today. Due to their scale, ambition and collaborative nature, mission proposals will take time to co-develop with partners in Australia (and in many cases globally).

Co-creation opportunities will be explored to help Australia achieve these outcomes:

  • increase our resilience and preparedness against pandemics
  • mitigate the impact of disasters: drought, bushfires and floods
  • 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 our growing resistance to antibiotics, so they keep saving lives
  • create a national climate capability to navigate climate change uncertainty
  • help our 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 our trusted agriculture and food exports to $100 billion
  • use technology to navigate Australia’s transition to net zero emissions, without derailing our economy
  • safeguard the health of our waterways by monitoring the quality of our 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
  • double the number of SMEs utilising Australian R&D to become a collaboration nation.

Strategic pillars

Our pillars guide our operations and how we bring our purpose, vision and strategy to life.

Customer focus

Focusing on our customers’ needs today and in the future by actively prioritising our resources and relationships on the highest impact opportunities.

Thriving people and teams

Putting our people and their safety first, while supporting them to thrive and adapt in a changing world.

Collaborative networks

Leveraging our unique role as a connector with customers and partners to drive the uptake and adoption of solutions and improve Australia’s innovation performance.

Solutions from science

Through excellent science, engineering, technology and innovation, provide trusted, effective solutions for industry, government and the community.

National benefit from global engagement

Connecting the world’s best partners and capability to catalyse the uptake of our science and solutions and strengthen Australia’s security and competitiveness.


Our values guide our cultural vision by clarifying what we consider important – guiding behaviours and decision-making for all our people. Our values articulate the manner in which we work every day as we deliver on our strategy.

People first

Caring for everyone’s safety and wellbeing. Seeking out, listening to and learning from our differences. We do this by being respectful, caring and inclusive.

Further together

Achieving more together than we ever can alone. Celebrating our successes and our failures, leveraging them to achieve even greater things. We do this by partnering, cooperating and by being humble.

Making it real

Embracing ambiguity, taking educated risks, stimulating discussion and delivering science for impact. We do this by being curious, adaptive and entrepreneurial.


Providing dependable, evidence-based answers driven by purpose. Earning trust through everything we do. We do this by being accountable, authentic and courageous.