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

Effective: 1 July 2020

Purpose

BSEC 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 in solving the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology.

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. Oversee the implementation of CSIRO's strategic plans with respect to maintaining and growing our scientific excellence, its connection to impact delivery and CSIRO's role solving greatest challenges using innovative science and technology.
  3. 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.
  4. Science health report: The review that CSIRO conducts annually at whole-of-CSIRO level, analysing:
    • Trends in the scientific excellence, quality and health of CSIRO's scientific output;
    • 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);
    • CSIRO's collaboration with national and international scientific institutions; and
    • The methodology for assessing and measuring the quality of CSIRO's science with other comparable institutions.
  5. Conduct of Research: Reviewing and report to the Board that the organisation has appropriate systems to ensure CSIRO's scientific research is conducted in accordance with Australian standards for responsible conduct of research, CSIRO Science Delivery Policy and other applicable regulations.
  6. Expert external reviews of Business Units (BUs), conducted on a multi-year cycle. These reviews provide an independent assessment of the BU's performance and recommendations that will assist the BUs to improve its performance across 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.
  7. Annual Reports on the performance of the national facilities 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.
  8. Impact assessments: Reports of independently validated Impact Studies conducted routinely and the periodic whole-of-CSIRO impact assessments.
  9. Science Council: An annual report from the Science Council, in relation to key issues and emerging issues addressed by that council
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

Membership

The Board appoints the Chair and the members of the Committee. The Committee comprises at least three members of the Board.

A quorum constitutes a majority of non‐executive members of the Committee. Other members of the Board may attend Committee meetings.

Meetings

The Committee meets at least four times per year and at such other times as are necessary, with all meetings convened by the Committee Chair. The Comp Sec, appointed by the Board attends the meetings and supports the Committee. On invitation from the Committee Chair, appropriate members of the leadership team attend the meeting and present their items. This includes the Chief Scientist and Director, Impact and Policy.

Directors who are not Committee Members may attend Meetings.

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