Program 4 – National Research Infrastructure: National Facilities and Collections

CSIRO manages two types of national research infrastructure on behalf of the nation: National Research Facilities and National Biological Collections.

In addition to the National Research Facilities and National Biological Collections, CSIRO hosts 30 other research facilities and over 30 national reference collections.

National Research Facilities

CSIRO operates a range of specialised laboratories, scientific and testing equipment, and other research facilities which are available for use by both Australian and international researchers. The three major National Research Facilities, classified as landmark facilities, are:

  • The Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) – located in Geelong, Victoria, is a national centre of excellence in disease diagnosis, research and policy advice in animal health and human diseases of animal origin (zoonoses). It is Australia’s front line defence, helping to protect Australia from the threat of exotic (foreign) and emerging animal diseases.
  • The Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF) – operated and managed by CSIRO’s Division of Astronomy and Space Science, is made up of radio telescopes at three observatories, near the towns of Parkes, Coonabarabran and Narrabri in New South Wales. A fourth telescope, the next generation Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) is currently being built at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia and will consist of 36 antennas. The ASKAP will be operational in 2013 as part of the ATNF.
  • The Marine National Facility (MNF) – is made up of a 66 metre blue-water research vessel, Southern Surveyor, a package of unique scientific equipment and instrumentation, and a collection of 27 years of marine data. It has the scientific, technical and administrative expertise required to safely and effectively manage an ocean-going research platform. The Southern Surveyor is particularly suited to multidisciplinary research projects in the deep oceans surrounding Australia. CSIRO is managing a major project to design and build a new state-of-the-art research vessel, Investigator, to replace the Southern Surveyor, scheduled to be operational in 2013.

National Biological Collections

CSIRO is the custodian of four national biological collections:

  • Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC), specialising in Australian terrestrial invertebrates
  • Australian National Wildlife Collection
  • (ANWC), specialising in land vertebrates
  • Australian National Fish Collection (ANFC), specialising in marine fishes
  • Australian National Herbarium (ANH), specialising in our native plants and weeds and over 20 smaller collections of interest that contribute to the discovery, inventory, understanding and conservation of Australia’s biological diversity.

Together, these collections support an important part of the country’s taxonomic, genetic, agricultural and ecological research. These vital resources provide correct identification of species for biosecurity, conservation and the development of sustainable land and marine management systems.

For the full program detail, please refer to Part two: Our performance of the 2011-12 CSIRO annual report, which is available in PDF or RTF format in the Downloads section.


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