20 September 2016

The big six: CSIRO's plans for our 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.

Future Science Platforms

Show transcript

[The CSIRO logo appears in the centre of the screen and then it enlarges and circles appear around it pushing out until the CSIRO logo fills the whole screen]

Narrator: At CSIRO we push the edge of what’s possible.

[Images flash through of a WiFi symbol and an Aerogard symbol and then the image changes to show a blue screen covered with different size black and white dots and text appears: Over 1854 patents]

We invented WiFi, Aerogard and thousands of other clever innovations

[The camera zooms out so the text is small and then the dots on the screen enlarge and resolve into text: Future]

and we’re always busy thinking about the future. 

[Image changes to show a 2D animation of the earth with the circumference covered with buildings and trees]

So what’s next? 

[Images show a beam going into the animation of the earth from the right hand side and the animation of the earth rotates in an anticlockwise direction and text appears: Deep Earth Imaging]

Technologies to look deep inside the earth for the minerals we need to make the things we depend on. 

[Image continues to rotate and then it resolves into an animation of a farm landscape and then the computer zooms out to show two farmers looking at a bank of computer screens displaying data while a tractor moves from left to right of the screen in the background]

Networks to help farmers feed billions more people using Sensor Data and Smart Analytics to match crops to future soil and weather conditions. 

[Image changes to show an animation of a dotted fish on the screen and text appears: Environomics]


[Camera zooms in on the dots and then a box encircles some of the dots and some of the dots inside the box change to black and then the camera zooms out to display a dotted fish, jelly fish and sea plant all displaying matching boxes of dots which then connect to another text box below and text appears: Match, Environomics]

analysing and understanding the biological data that connects organisms to help conserve biodiversity and ecosystems. 

[Image changes to show a dotted animation of a syringe which rotates in an anticlockwise direction and the camera zooms in on the dots and letters appear inside the dots and text appears underneath: Synthetic Biology]

Synthetic vaccines written one D.N.A. letter at a time

[Image changes to show a dotted animation of a heart on a pink background]

or spare parts for our bodies, personalised and made to order.

[Music plays and the camera zooms out and the pink background resolves into an animation of a person walking along a path and connecting dots appear displaying data around the person and text appears: Probing Biosystems]

Sensors that monitor every aspect of our health in real time

[Image shows a pink dot appearing inside the animation of the person connecting it to text: Abnormal Cells Detected]

so cancers might be caught

[Image shows the pink dot changing to a green colour and then the image shows the animation of a person continuing to walk along the pathway]

before they can recur

[Animation images flash through of a robot moving to the right across the screen towards a male standing by a car with the bonnet up]

and connecting robotics, materials, sensors, data and A.I. to make machines smarter

[Image shows the robot producing a car part, giving it to the male via a telescopic arm, the male putting it under the car bonnet and the car starting]

so they can custom manufacture almost anything just as it is needed. 

[The camera zooms out to show 6 circles connected to the CSIRO logo in the centre and the whole rotates in a clockwise direction and then the inner circle changes and text appears inside the circles: Future Science Platforms, Active Integrated Matter, Probing Systems, Synthetic Biology, Deep Earth Imaging, Digiscape and Environomics]

These are just some of the visions behind our new future science platforms. 

[Image changes to show a line of eight animation people and the two people at the centre of the group join hands and text appears: CSIRO and Partners]

[The animation picture scrolls off the bottom of the screen and CSIRO logo and text appears: Future Science Platforms, www.csiro.au/fsp]


A multi-year, multi-disciplinary investment in our collective future, bringing very smart people together from CSIRO and our partners to work on big ideas for the future. 

[Music plays]

Hide transcript

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.

“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 www.csiro.au/FSP

Additional resources



  • Mr Huw Morgan

    Manager Media Liaison · Communication

    • Phone:
      • +61 8 8303 8857
      • +61 417 834 547 (Alternative)

    Email: Huw.Morgan@csiro.au

Hear our news first

Want to hear our news as it happens, and be the first to see our most exciting stories? Subscribing to our news releases and monthly newsletter Snapshot will give you the latest info.

Subscribe to our news and know first