The big six: CSIRO’s plans for our future

CSIRO science future

CSIRO will grow its investment in new areas of breakthrough science to over $52 million per year by 2020, helping to turn Australia’s challenges into opportunities and invent a better future.

The creation of six Future Science Platforms (FSPs) which will underpin innovation in health and biology, resources, agriculture and manufacturing, have the potential to support the reinvention and creation of new industries and new jobs for Australia.

CSIRO Chief Executive, Dr Larry Marshall, believes investing in challenging and riskier science will ensure research continues to meet the needs of industry, community and the environment in a rapidly changing world.

“Exactly as planned in Strategy 2020, we’ve freed up resources to enable this initial $17 million investment in 2016/17 to launch the FSPs, growing to over $50 million per year by 2020,” Dr Marshall said.

“We’re seriously excited about CSIRO’s next chapter and how we’re investing in Australia’s science future.csiro-futureplans

“The platforms fuel deeper collaboration across disciplines as we tackle things that haven’t been done before, which is exactly what we need to stay ahead of accelerating global disruption of all kinds from economic to environmental.”

Some FSPs will draw on big data to make strides forward for health and environment, some use CSIRO’s precision science to transform biological systems and others focus on our deep knowledge of resources and manufacturing to create more sustainable industries to support the jobs of tomorrow.

Not only will the Future Science Platforms invest in research and delivery of solutions, they’re also an investment in the next crop of researchers.

“FSPs will attract a new generation of researchers to work collaboratively on genuinely challenging science and help invent Australia’s future,” Dr Marshall explained.

“The platforms empower CSIRO’s strategy of solving Australia’s toughest challenges, and getting science off the lab bench and into people’s hands as quickly as possible to improve Australia’s sustainability and prosperity.”

The six Future Science Platforms are:


Unlocking genetic and other knowledge from our vast species biodiversity so we can preserve and manage ecosystems under environmental change, better manage economically useful species, detect biosecurity threats and create new products based on previously unknown biological data.

Synthetic Biology

The design, fabrication, and construction of new biological parts, devices, systems, and machines, as well as the re-design of existing biological systems for useful purposes. Synthetic biology enables revolutionary advances in cellular factories, designer organisms and biological devices.

Deep Earth Imaging

Discovering the previously undiscovered minerals, energy and water resources that lie deep under the earth or sea. The science of Deep Earth Imaging will help us more precisely image subsurface geology to unlock the potential of this vast and relatively under-explored area.


Helping agricultural industries to be more productive and providing more valuable knowledge to environmental policy makers through a new generation of decision tools. Using sensors, data visualisation, artificial intelligence and assisted decision making to generate timely and relevant advice and insights will allow better choices for more productive and sustainable outcomes.

Probing Biosystems

A revolution in healthcare and agriculture through devices and systems to obtain real-time information from living organisms about their health and well-being. This will lead to the ability to provide health and medical interventions that are timely, customised and highly specific.

Active Integrated Matter

Reinventing fields as diverse as manufacturing, agriculture, emergency services, infrastructure and mining through combining advanced materials, robotics, sensing technologies, data processing and autonomous capabilities. New forms of autonomous robots will operate safely in dangerous environments while smart materials will enable new types of customised and personalised products and services.

For more information on the Future Science Platforms, visit

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