The Science Excellence Committee supports the Board to fulfill its governance responsibilities as outlined in the Science and Industry Research Act 1949 (SIR Act)

(Date of effect: 7 December 2016)

Purpose

The Science Excellence Committee supports the Board to fulfill its governance responsibilities as outlined in the Science and Industry Research Act 1949 (SIR Act) and more specifically assists the Board to endorse, oversee and monitor the implementation of CSIRO strategic plans with respect to maintaining and growing our scientific excellence, its connection to impact delivery, and CSIRO’s role as innovation catalyst in the national innovation system.

Specific Responsibilities

In fulfilling its purpose, the Committee will provide advice to the Board on matters that address science quality and standards, and in that regard will consider the following:

  1. National Science Alignment: The alignment of CSIRO’s science and research direction to National and Research Priorities.
  2. Strategic Science Alignment: Review the progress of achieving CSIRO’s science strategy; and make recommendations on the direction, planning and development of a science strategy.
  3. Science Health Report: The comprehensive review that CSIRO conducts annually at whole-of-CSIRO level, analysing:
    1. Trends in the scientific excellence, quality and health of CSIRO’s scientific output;
    2. The balance between science excellence with impact from our science (including analysis in the context of national and global performance and alignment of innovation and impact in the context of national objectives);
    3. CSIRO’s collaboration with national and international scientific institutions; and
    4. The methodology for assessing and measuring the quality of CSIRO’s science with other comparable institutions.
  4. Expert External Reviews of Business Units, conducted on a multi-year cycle. These reviews provide an independent assessment of the Business Unit’s performance and recommendations that will assist the Business Unit to improve its performance across all the key areas it is responsible for (impact, science and innovation capacity) so as to maximise the economic, environmental and/or social benefits it provides to end-users and to Australia.
  5. Reports from the National Facility Steering Committees: Reports from the Marine National Facility Steering Committee, in relation to the ongoing delivery of ocean research capabilities for the nation; and from the Australia Telescope Steering Committee, in relation to the ongoing delivery of radio astronomy capabilities for the nation.
  6. Impact Assessments: Reports of independently validated Impact Studies which are conducted routinely and the periodic whole-of-CSIRO impact assessments.
  7. Science Council: An annual report from the Science Council, in relation to key issues and emerging issues being addressed by that council.
  8. Sustained Scientific Excellence: Review and provide advice to the Board on the mechanisms in place (such as Research-Plus and Future Science Platforms) to continue to foster sustained scientific excellence.
  9. Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF): The Committee will also receive the annual report and Meeting with the Advisory Council of the Science and Industry Endowment Fund, which advises on research priorities and investments made under the Gift made by CSIRO to the Fund.

Scientific discussion, engagement and education: The Committee may choose to include an agenda item at each meeting, to receive a briefing from the relevant team of scientists on an area of scientific investment by CSIRO.

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