Our collaborations with customers, partners and stakeholders around the world are critical to our success.

Listening to our clients

  • We work with customers of all sizes, applying our scientific expertise to help them grow and succeed. Here is just a glimpse of what our customers think about working with us. There was good communication and honest desire to understand our needs and objectives and develop projects and timelines to deliver within our budget. Enjoyed the interaction with the scientists on the projects.
    Dow AgroSciences LLC
  • We have been pleased to receive and learn from CSIRO’s practice of professional and effective work management. Our own operations improved as the result of collaborating with CSIRO teams in multiple projects.
    Viet Uc Seafood Joint Stock Company
  • The people we have dealt with share the same goals and aspirations as ourselves. They have been nothing short of sensational to work with. Our domestication program would not be where it is today and indeed nor would the Australian prawn farming industry.
    Gold Coast Marine Aquaculture Pty Ltd
  • We recently licensed state of the art technology from CSIRO which would be the primary reason to do business with CSIRO. Furthermore, I can rate the manner in which the CSIRO team handled the negotiations as one of the most efficient and most pleasant negotiations I have ever been involved in. The CSIRO team provides an example of how Tech Transfer should be done.
    Futuragene Inc
  • The professionalism, expertise knowledge and experience of your staff is exceptional…..We have confidence that any work and interaction with CSIRO will provide internationally acceptable solutions.
    Ternes Agricultural Consulting Pty
  • Nice scientists with good expertise and personality and to be easy to collaborate in research. Also CSIRO is a good place for young scientists to be trained.
    Shandong Academy of Sciences
  • We have had a great relationship with CSIRO over the past three years, with a feral pig project. The advice, expertise and patience they have given is priceless.
    Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation Pty Ltd
  • I feel that you try to understand our business and to come up with solutions that work for us.
    Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
  • CSIRO have proven to be an invaluable business partner. They have been flexible, dynamic and responsive and provided very high quality and timely outcomes/outputs.
    Department of Health and Ageing

Stakeholder engagement

Collaboration with customers and partners is essential to delivering sustainable impact for the nation. We continue to build and maintain strong relationships with our customers, partners and other stakeholders crucial to our success.

Industry collaboration

CSIRO is committed to collaborating and partnering with organisations across Australia and around the world in a variety of ways, including strategic alliances, projects and joint ventures. We work with approximately 3000 customers, including 500 major Australian companies, more than 1200 Australian SMEs, and a large number of overseas corporations. Major strategic existing partnerships include Boeing, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and BHP Billiton, while new partnerships include Enirgi and the World Bank.

A key focus during the year was the development of partnerships in the areas of conservation, sustainability and the environment. Through the Minerals Flagship we entered into an international collaboration with China Metallurgical Group Corporation to commercialise our dry slag granulation (DSG) technology, which will transform the productivity and environmental performance of steelmaking globally. We also reached agreement with Enirgi to license the Magsonic technology, which reduces carbon dioxide emissions in magnesium metal production by up to 70 per cent. Our Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship signed a contract with BHP Billiton for $5 million of research over five years to increase the understanding of the Ningaloo Marine Park World Heritage area so as to ensure its conservation and sustainable use.

The Agriculture Flagship obtained funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for a significant five-year project to work with a diverse group of international organisations, including three universities, two independent research organisations and a multi-national company, to support agricultural production in the world’s 50 least developed countries. The $22 million Capturing Heterosis project aims to create self-propagating hybrid sorghum and cowpea crops with increased yield. The partners are the University of California Davis and the University of Georgia in the United States, the University of Zurich, the IPK in Germany, Langebio in Irapuato, Mexico, and DuPont-Pioneer.

Cooperative Research Centres

The Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) program supports industry-led collaborations between researchers, industry and the community.

We engage in CRCs to build critical mass in research to tackle clearly articulated major challenges for end-users. Throughout the life of the program, over 200 CRCs have been funded by the Australian Government with 36 operating in the 2014–15 period. CSIRO has participated in 142 CRCs and as of 30 June 2015 is participating in 13.

There was one windup Greenhouse Technologies in December 2014, in which CSIRO was an Essential Participant. The CRC for Greenhouse Gas Technologies is no longer associated with the CRC program. However, it is continuing as a self-sustaining entity and is engaged in collaborative research. On 30 June 2015 CSIRO ceased participation in the Australian Seafood CRC when the funding term expired.

On 26 May 2015, The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP, Minister for Industry and Science, announced more than $74 million in funding for two CRCs – the CRC for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE) and the Innovative Manufacturing CRC (IMCRC). It is anticipated that CSIRO will be a participant in both the IMCRC and the CRC ORE.

CSIRO’s total cash and in-kind contribution to CRCs in 2014–15 was $12.5 million.

CSIRO has participated in 142 CRCs and as of 30 June 2015 is participating in 13.

Government engagement

Throughout 2014–15, we had regular meetings with ministers, parliamentarians and senior staff from relevant government departments, to listen to their needs, share our research activities, and provide scientific information and advice to inform policy development and program implementation and evaluation. This included contributing to the development of the Australian Government White Papers on Northern Australia and Agriculture. CSIRO made six submissions to federal parliamentary inquiries, and our staff attended four hearings to provide further evidence. We also held three ‘Science for Breakfast’ briefings at Parliament House for parliamentarians and their staff. These briefings covered getting more from less, new industries from agriculture and unlocking the potential of northern Australia.

During the year the CSIRO Chief Executive became a member of the newly-formed National Science Technology and Research Committee, and also attended Commonwealth Science Committee meetings.

University collaboration

CSIRO partners with universities to ensure the best available research is utilised in delivering impact in areas of national priority. In 2014 Australian and overseas universities were partners in around 75 per cent of CSIRO’s research publication, and in partnership with universities, CSIRO supervised 761 higher degree research students. In 2014–15 CSIRO undertook a range of activities with universities including:

  • Together with 13 companies, four industry bodies and 16 Australian universities, CSIRO was announced as a partner in a new CRC for Innovative Manufacturing.
  • Working with researchers from the University of Adelaide, Monash University and the Australian Synchrotron, CSIRO researchers developed a capsule, inspired by the porous structure of seashells, that protects pharmaceuticals from extreme temperatures.
  • In collaboration with the University of Queensland and Telstra, CSIRO released a white paper that explores opportunities for Australian manufacturers in the emerging middle class of Asia.
  • The National Geosequestration Laboratory (NGL), a collaboration between CSIRO, the University of Western Australia and Curtin University, commissioned three mobile laboratories that will be used for research in the field. NGL was established to conduct and deploy critical research and development to enable commercial-scale carbon storage options for Australia.

International collaboration

Our connections with international universities and research institutes link us in to the 97 per cent of research that happens outside Australia and give access to essential data and expertise. By partnering with SMEs such as Textor, and major global companies such as Boeing and Bayer, we provide opportunities for Australian industry to join global value chains. Our science supports Australian foreign policy and trade agendas, including poverty alleviation and improving market access for Australian exporters and trading partners, particularly in Asia.

We continue to grow our international activities and their impact. For more information about our collaborations, alliances and partnerships with our global peers see our Operational Plan implementation on pages 16–19.

Indigenous Engagement Strategy

Our Office of Indigenous Engagement continued to implement the CSIRO Indigenous Engagement Strategy. As at 30 June 2015, we have 63 (1.2 per cent) Indigenous employees in CSIRO, an increase from 22 (0.3 per cent) on 30 June 2011. Of these, there are 16 cadets, 16 trainees, two research scientists, three experimental scientists and nine research technicians, with the remaining 17 working in the support functions of administrative services, technical services and communication and information.

We engage Indigenous Australians across a broad range of areas, such as marine and environmental science, human resources, property services, astronomy and space science, information management and technology, forestry, mining, horticulture and aquaculture – to name but a few. In this way, Indigenous Australians are engaged and contributing to research impacting the productivity and sustainability of Australian industry. Similarly, CSIRO also has Indigenous representation on high-level advisory committees such as the Minerals Resources Advisory Council and the newly-formed Indigenous Strategic Advisory Council.

In partnership with the BHP Billiton Foundation, we are supporting STEM participation through a $28.8 million, five-year project.

More than 500 staff across research, support and leadership areas have now participated in the ‘Seeing through both eyes’ program, an interactive course aimed at increasing cultural understanding and Indigenous awareness. This year sessions were held in Narrabri, Sydney, Perth, Geraldton, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra. The program has been effective in opening up more cadetships, traineeships and employment positions, by encouraging participants to think about how they might contribute to achieving Indigenous employment targets in their respective business units.

Research engagement has continued to develop, with exciting new partnerships particularly in the National Environmental Science program hubs. CSIRO staff involved in collaborations received awards including the 2014 Banksia Sustainability Award for an Indigenous biocultural knowledge project, while a Tiwi Islands fire ant eradication project won the Biodiversity category of the 2015 United Nations of Australia World Environment Day Awards.

In partnership with the BHP Billiton Foundation, CSIRO is implementing a five-year, $28.8 million education project aimed at increasing the participation and achievement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Recognising the fundamental importance of culture and identity in student achievement, a strong cultural aspect, as well as a rigorous academic focus, is guiding the development, implementation and evaluation of the project.

Performance of Portfolio Budget Programs

CSIRO received approximately 61 per cent of its operating revenue in appropriation funding from the Commonwealth Budget. Our commitment to the Parliament and people of Australia, set out in the Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) 2014–15, is to contribute to the following outcome1: Innovative science and technology solutions to national challenges and opportunities to benefit industry, the environment and the community, through scientific research and capability development, services and advice.

This is achieved through three Programs:

  • National Research Flagships, Science and Services
  • National Research Infrastructure: National Facilities and Collections
  • Science and Industry Endowment Fund.

The following sections provide a report against the deliverables and key performance indicators specified for each Program in the PBS. Table 2.2 outlines a summary of our consolidated financial performance by PBS Program.

Table 2.2: CSIRO (consolidated) financial summary by PBS Program 2014–15, $m
  Actual PBS Budget Variance
Government revenue 745.3 745.3 -
External revenue 475.7 469.5 6.2
Total revenue 1,221.0 1,214.8 6.2
Program 1 (National Research Flagships,
Science and Services)
1,068.5 1,095.3 -26.8
Program 2 (National Research Infrastructure:
National Facilities and Collections)
169.6 163.1 6.5
Program 3 (Science and Industry Endowment Fund) 24.1 24.5 -0.4
Total expenses 1262.2 1282.9 -20.7
  1. The relevant section of the Portfolio Budget Statements can be viewed at: Department of Industry, Innovation and Science . The outcome is the formal legal statement of the purpose for which funds are appropriated to CSIRO.

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