Overview of the priorities, programs, change initiatives and key activities within our four-year Strategy, including our performance assessment against annual key executive actions.

The CSIRO 2011–15 Strategic Plan is underpinned by five strategic objectives:

  1. National Research Flagships
  2. Science Excellence and Preparedness
  3. Deep Collaboration and Connection
  4. Innovation Organisation
  5. Trusted Advisor.

The Organisation intends to plan progressively, to implement change and embed initiatives as 'business as usual' to ensure we deliver on our five strategic objectives over the life of the strategy.

CSIRO's Operational Plan and Portfolio Budget Statements provide an overview of the priorities, planned programs, change initiatives and other key activities, along with the resources to implement these for the second year of the 2011–15 Strategic Plan.

Operational plan – performance assessment against annual key executive actions

The 2012–13 Operational Plan identified 16 Key Executive Actions (KEAs) to progress the CSIRO Strategy.

These actions are designed to focus the Board and the Executive Team's attention on the most important priorities of the Organisation for 2012–13.

An overview of the results achieved for 2012–13 for these actions are below.

Strategic objective 1: National Research Flagships

Focus and increase the Organisation's resources invested in delivering profound impact in response to national challenges and opportunities through the National Research Flagships program.

KEY EXECUTIVE ACTION 1: Review and embed key Flagship initiatives including:

(a) Enhanced alignment of Flagship delivery across the energy portfolio.

(b) Embed the two new Flagships in Biosecurity; and Digital Productivity and Services.

(c) Complete the integration and alignment of portfolios across Flagships and Divisions.

(d) Identify and execute upon cross-Flagship opportunities as articulated in Group Strategies.

This year CSIRO has successfully aligned and integrated research themes relating to the two new Flagships (the Biosecurity Flagship and Digital Productivity and Services Flagship (DPAS)), the Future Manufacturing Flagship, and the Energy Flagship.

This alignment has increased the total investment in the Flagship program by approximately seven per cent, from 42 per cent in 2011–12 to 49 per cent in 2012–13.

Cross-Flagship opportunities were also identified and integrated into strategies, including five key cross-Flagship initiatives:

  1. National Outlook Report
  2. Health
  3. Chilean Minerals
  4. Research for Development
  5. Northern Australia Sustainable Development.

For more information about Flagship achievements see Programs 1-5 and Enterprise Strategy Measures (ESM) 10.

KEY EXECUTIVE ACTION 2: Embed Impact 2020 principles and methodology into CSIRO’s planning and review framework, including further refinement of the model used to articulate and characterise Flagship impact.

In 2012–13, good progress was made towards embedding impact principles and methodology into Enterprise and Flagship planning and review processes. To support consistent implementation of the framework across Flagships, an enterprise framework and supporting guideline for planning, monitoring and evaluating impact has been approved and published.

A comprehensive Flagship impact planning database has been updated with approximately 140 live 'impact statements' for ten of 11 Flagships, to inform science planning and investment decisions. A practical 'wiki' resource of 'planning' and 'monitoring' guidelines, tools, and best practices has been developed and published.

For more information about results from CSIRO's impact project see ESM 2 in Enterprise strategy measures.

Strategic objective 2: Science Excellence and Preparedness

Invest in people and infrastructure to maintain and develop national scientific breadth and depth in support of delivering profound impact and scientific preparedness.

KEY EXECUTIVE ACTION 3: Finalise, plan and implement the first year of an integrated program to drive our global science standing, including a global recruitment strategy.

CSIRO has implemented a number of initiatives to progress an integrated program to drive its global science standing. These included the introduction of Workforce Investment Agreements, four-year budgets, an Annual Directions Statement and two new Transformation Capability Platforms (TCPs).

During the reporting year, a global recruitment strategy resulted in the successful recruitment of eminent science leaders to maintain our world-class capability.

For more information about results from CSIRO’s science standing see ESM 5 in Enterprise-strategy-measures and Program 2 Core Research and Services.

KEY EXECUTIVE ACTION 4: Develop a shared vision with clear stakeholder commitment for each of the global precincts which includes a resource plan that is consistent with CSIRO’s capital plan.

Momentum continues to build across the National Innovation System with the announcement by the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education about its intention to develop Industry Innovation Precincts.

This will complement CSIRO’s Precinct Program and the development of shared visions for each of the global precincts in consultation with key stakeholders and partners.

For more information about CSIRO's Precincts see ESM 6 in Enterprise-strategy-measures.

KEY EXECUTIVE ACTION 5: Divisions to identify and/or consolidate strategic research partnerships with key global peers with the objective of complementing CSIRO capability.

During 2012–13, CSIRO consolidated its strategic research partnerships and identified initiatives to access new geographical markets and capabilities. For example, agreements were made with the Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology and Indonesia's Agency for Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) to share capability.

Strong alliances were maintained with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai Nanotechnology and the Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources.

CSIRO also renewed its agreement with the United Kingdom Meteorology Office in parallel with the Bureau of Meteorology and signed a series of agreements with the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

KEY EXECUTIVE ACTION 6: Implement the e-Research and e-Enablement strategies including a five times increase in supercomputing capacity, embedding of enterprise level data management services, and upgrade of all collaboration services.

Implementation of the first year of the e-Research and e-Enablement strategies has resulted in significant improvements for research environments across the Organisation.

Achievements included a new supercomputer that provides an increased capacity of six times, approximately one thousand research data collections deposited in the Research Data Service in its first year of service, and rapid growth in roll-out of remote visualisation facilities across all research domains.

KEY EXECUTIVE ACTION 7: Develop decadal science capability plans which will introduce game-changing, disruptive science in areas aligned with our future intended impact.

In 2012–13, CSIRO undertook the development of a draft decadal science plan aiming to describe high-level science priorities to 2026 (CSIRO@100), and a portfolio of game-changing, disruptive science creating options for the impact of the future.

The statement, scheduled for release by the end of 2013, will align with the National Research Investment Plan, launched by the Chief Scientist in June 2013.

Strategic objective 3: Deep Collaboration and Connection

Build deep connections with and among the best partners in Australia and the world to complement our science capability and accelerate impact delivery.

KEY EXECUTIVE ACTION 8: Leverage relationships with key global partners to establish two new cross-Flagship large-scale agreements to address global challenges relevant to Australia.

A number of Flagship and cross-Flagship Strategic Partnership Agreements were initiated, including with BP Developments Australia and Marine Innovation Southern Australia (MISA) (approximately $20 million for four years); and the AusAID Research for Development Alliance (approximately $4 million over 18 months).

KEY EXECUTIVE ACTION 9: Grow industry (including small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs)), government, university and community partners’ alliances nationally and internationally – critical to the delivery of Flagship goals.

Despite a difficult economic climate, CSIRO continued to grow industry, government, university and community partnerships and alliances.

In the industry sector, CSIRO signed strategic relationship agreements with national and international organisations including BP and Petronas.

In addition, CSIRO maintained alliances with organisations including Cotton Seed Distributors, Boeing, Orica, General Electric, Bayer and the Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance. Engagement with SMEs also grew, with 21 researchers placed in businesses contributing to SMEs’ capability.

This brings the total to 47 researchers placed in businesses since the program commenced in 2009.

In the government sector, CSIRO maintained its existing partnerships and commenced partnerships with the Australian Solar Institute (now the Australian Renewable Energy Agency), the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, MISA and the United States NOAA.

CSIRO also grew its partnership with the Department of Health and Ageing and deepened its strategic partnership coordination with AusAID.

In the university sector, CSIRO signed strategic relationship agreements with the University of Tasmania and Monash University. CSIRO also continued active participation in new and existing Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs).

CSIRO commenced the roll out of its Strategic Relationship Management program, which includes an end of project client satisfaction survey, strategic client interviews and ongoing development of leadership teams across our strategic clients.

For more information on collaboration see stakeholder engagement in Stakeholder-engagementPerformance and Program 2: Core Research and Services.

KEY EXECUTIVE ACTION 10: Deliver to project plans for major infrastructure projects including the Pawsey Centre, the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), Sustainable Energy for the Square Kilometre Array (SESKA), the Marine Research Vessel (MRV), National Geosequestration Laboratory (NGL) and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

Overall, delivery of major infrastructure projects was largely on track. Delays in delivering the phased array feed affected the ASKAP project budget and schedule scope, resulting in an injection of additional funding and an extension to the project end date – now 2015.

Construction of the RV Investigator remains on scope and budget, with the vessel due to arrive in Hobart, Tasmania in late 2013.

For more information about National Research Infrastructure and Facilities see Program 4.

Strategic objective 4: Innovation Organisation

Boost our capacity to operate as one organisation to respond to the changing nature of science, deliver profound impact and build capability for the future.

KEY EXECUTIVE ACTION 11: Building on the Values Compass, refresh our approach to 'what it is like to work in CSIRO' to further support the maturity of an innovative environment.

This year CSIRO completed a number of initiatives to progress the innovation maturity of the Organisation and build on the CSIRO Values Compass.

This included a commitment to partner with Comcare to develop and deliver an integrated five-year action plan, develop and apply the CSIRO Innovation Roadmap and achieve a 100 per cent completion rate for staff undertaking an online Prevention of Bullying and Harassment training course.

A number of learning interventions have also been developed and implemented to support cultural change that is in line with our Diversity and Inclusion, and Health, Safety and Environment (HSE), strategies and targets.

For more information about CSIRO's People, see Our People.

KEY EXECUTIVE ACTION 12: Develop four-year Divisional workforce plans aligned with future impact requirements and budget process.

A four-year 'Workforce Investment Agreement' framework was scoped, developed and implemented for the first time to provide a four-year articulation of CSIRO's workforce requirements aligned to future impact needs.

As part of this process Flagships and Divisions were able to highlight much more clearly those areas of growing and declining demand. It is anticipated this resource will enable strong workforce planning activity in 2013–14.

KEY EXECUTIVE ACTION 13: Develop four-year CapEx plan that prioritises infrastructure for both science competitiveness and operations effectiveness while reducing the depreciation burden in the long-term.

CSIRO strengthened its capital planning and expenditure processes including approval of a four-year Capital Management Plan by the Department of Finance and Deregulation (DoFD).

A ten-year Property Investment Plan has been endorsed by the Executive Team and Board and governance processes for the assessment of future initiatives relating to property capital expenditure were established.

KEY EXECUTIVE ACTION 14: Develop future options for financial sustainability to 2016 and beyond, within the current business model and considering potential growth options.

CSIRO undertook significant interventions in 2012–13 to address the financial sustainability of the Organisation to 2016 in what is a challenging fiscal environment.

These included a new Annual Directions Statement and 2014–15 planning and budgeting process that incorporated a significant and challenging portfolio adjustment and cost reduction program to enhance our financial sustainability.

A draft strategy to enhance CSIRO's translational innovation and technical services business model was developed. The model will enhance our ability to manage and grow activities that translate research findings into useful results, as part of our broader collaborative research and development portfolio and business model.

Strategic objective 5: Trusted Advisor

Play a leading role in the trusted delivery of scientific evidence, advice and interpretation to the Australian government, public and industry.

KEY EXECUTIVE ACTION 15: Execute a systematic engagement strategy which includes both national areas of science interest for our outcome domains.

This year, five media campaigns were implemented as part of our systematic engagement strategy designed to communicate the benefits of specific areas of science including:

  • Astronomy: Opening ceremony for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) and the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) (October 2012). Designed to engage with the community, communicate the features of CSIRO's major project and how it supports astronomy research.
  • Digital Productivity: Launch of the Digital Productivity and Services Flagship (January 2013). Designed to engage with industry and government and demonstrate the value of CSIRO’s research in digital productivity and services and assist in unlocking the benefits of the new National Broadband Network.
  • Marine: A Shore Thing (January 2013). Designed to engage with government, industry and the community to demonstrate our research in marine science.
  • Social: Science with a Heart (February 2013). Designed to engage with the disadvantaged section of the community, including demonstrating some social and humanitarian benefits from research such as how science helps disadvantaged people in Australia and overseas.
  • Manufacturing: Manufacturing a Brighter Future (May 2013). Designed to engage with industry and demonstrate CSIRO's positive industry impact.

KEY EXECUTIVE ACTION 16: Develop and implement a marketing strategy to address the primary areas of industry, government and the community.

An enterprise-wide program of systematic engagements with industry, government and community stakeholders commenced to regularly communicate CSIRO's future and realised impact.

CSIRO also strengthened its brand recognition, primarily with community members aged between 18–30 years through its social media campaigns.

As at 30 June 2013, CSIRO had a combined total of 76 985 followers on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and NewsBlog. This is a 56 per cent increase from 2011–12.

For more information about CSIRO's science outreach program see Program 3 and social media presence.

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