Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, will invest over $100 million in five science and technology growth areas over the next four years, to support the nation’s recovery from COVID-19 and build future resilience.
The five growth areas – biomedical manufacturing, digital manufacturing, digital healthcare, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and emerging technologies like quantum – will receive increased investment for research programs and an injection of new capability into CSIRO’s highly skilled workforce.
CSIRO Chief Executive, Dr Larry Marshall, said the organisation would be growing its portfolio of breakthrough science and innovation to help drive Australia’s economic recovery, as well as cutting-edge digital science that had the potential to reinvent and create new industries.
“COVID-19 and Australia’s lived experience during the pandemic has shown that science can deliver remarkable solutions to solve our greatest challenges, like predicting and isolating COVID hotspots, agile manufacturing to create sovereign supply of desperately needed products, and virtual healthcare for our most vulnerable communities wherever they live across our continent,” Dr Marshall said.
“The world is facing unprecedented disruption, but disruption creates new opportunities for the bold, and the actions we take now can set the path towards a brighter future for all Australians.”
The five areas of science investment are:
Biomedical manufacturing: COVID-19 has focused Australia’s attention on the need for increased Australian sovereign capabilities in biomedical discovery, development, and manufacturing. Working with Australian companies, we will continue to build national capability in developing, manufacturing, and commercialising Australian biomedical science.
Digital manufacturing: Digital technology is a key enabler of future manufacturing – in particular, Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation, robotics, Internet of Things, data analytics, and cybersecurity. This investment will support industry access to CSIRO expertise, research, and facilities to accelerate the advancement of modern digital manufacturing, and the deployment of technology into industry.
Digital healthcare: Building on CSIRO’s global reputation and expertise in improving patient care through digital healthcare technologies, this investment will help drive real digital transformation within the healthcare sector, and improve care, especially for our most vulnerable patients.
Artificial Intelligence (AI): Artificial Intelligence will be harnessed to help solve complex problems. Scientists will be scaling up the application of AI to support the continued development of CSIRO’s portfolio of Missions – a program of large scale, major scientific and collaborative research initiatives to solve some of Australia’s greatest challenges like drought, securing our food sources and quality and growing a hydrogen industry. As announced last week by the Prime Minister, CSIRO will also be establishing a National AI Centre, to coordinate Australia’s AI expertise and capabilities, and address barriers that businesses face in adopting and developing AI.
Backing the ‘next big’ science breakthroughs: CSIRO is investing in research at the cutting-edge of its field through its Future Science Platforms, such as quantum technologies which have the power to transform industries, as well as investment in research to harness microorganisms to solve challenges such as diet and gut health, plant diseases and food safety.
CSIRO’s investments have been allocated as part of the organisation’s annual planning process, with the five growth areas receiving a total of $100 million between now and 2024.
They will build on CSIRO’s commitment to its portfolio of Missions in development – major collaborative initiatives that will focus on the issues that matter the most: for our quality of life, for the economy and for our environment.