The 2011–12 Operational Plan identified 20 Key Executive Actions (KEAs) to progress the CSIRO Strategy.

These 20 Key Executive Actions are designed to focus the Board and the Executive Team’s attention on the most important priorities of the Organisation3. Table 2.4 provides a summary of actions taken and progress achieved.

Table 2.4: Strategy implementation 2011–12

Table 2.4: Strategy implementation 2011-12
Strategic objective and Key Executive Action Assessment of progress Summary of progress

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.

Develop investment cases for new Flagships in Biosecurity and Digital Productivity and Services, secure stakeholder support with a view to commencing, as appropriate, the Flagships in 2012–13.

In June 2011, the CSIRO Board approved the establishment of two new National Research Flagships, which began operations on 1 July 2012. The Biosecurity Flagship will support Australia’s social, environmental and economic wellbeing by reducing the incidence of pest and disease incursions and increase the effectiveness of incursion mitigation and eradication responses by 2042. The Digital Productivity and Services Flagship will create $4 billion in added value per annum to the Australian economy by developing and delivering more efficient and innovative services that improve citizen wellbeing and prosperity by 2025.

For more information on the existing National Research Flagships see Program 1 – National Research Flagships.

Implement first key initiatives from a finalised strategic plan for the ‘Integrated Carbon Pathways’ project.

The Integrated Carbon Pathways (ICP) project completed a strategic review including soliciting feedback on proposed activities from key stakeholders in government and industry as part of the strategic plan development process. The review concluded that CSIRO should prepare a regular National Outlook report every 2–3 years, to provide a science based assessment and forecast for Australian sustainability, resource use and natural capital. The project is also developing ICP capacity to deliver analysis and projects across interconnected energy, food, water, landscapes and urban systems.

Map our intended future Flagship impact and establish routine evaluation processes, using common methodologies across the Flagship’s portfolio.

On 30 June 2012, an 18-month pilot initiative to plan, monitor and evaluate the future intended impact of the Flagship’s Portfolio was completed. The initiative developed a methodology which was independently reviewed and validated by the Centre for International Economics (CIE).

A review of the pilot initiative is due to be finalised in September 2012. Following this review, CSIRO will commence embedding the methodology into its enterprise planning and review processes to enable the development of measures and evaluation.

For more information see Enterprise Strategy Measure two.

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.

Develop an integrated program to drive our global science standing, which includes attracting, developing and retaining world-class people.

Our focus this year has been on refining the science capability strategy to ensure investment in our people and infrastructure is strategically aligned to deliver profound impact and scientific preparedness into the future. The key factors identified through this alignment process have been included in a draft roadmap for CSIRO to maintain its competitive advantage and influence nationally and globally. The roadmap is expected to be finalised in 2012–13.

For more information see Program 2 — Core Research and Services.

Refresh the long-term capital investment strategy and obtain approval by the CSIRO Board.

A refreshed long-term capital investment strategy was developed. The strategy will provide a solid foundation for strategic investment in infrastructure in line with the breadth and depth of CSIRO’s scientific excellence and preparedness. The strategy will be presented to the CSIRO Board next year.

Establish a shared science and impact vision for Global Precincts (including science focus; partners; funding options) and establish internal governance arrangements to support CSIRO investments.

CSIRO continues to work towards the establishment of global precincts in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne (Clayton and Parkville) and Perth. The precincts will support Australia’s innovation potential, improve Australia’s research and development competitiveness, and position our National Innovation System to better address national and global challenges. To support this process, CSIRO established a Precinct Oversight Committee to oversee the precinct program, including development of precinct plans and appointment of leaders to each of the five sites. In addition, two sites (Brisbane and Perth) have also established site specific governance arrangements to coordinate engagement between key stakeholders.

For more information see Enterprise Strategy Measure six.

Evaluate options for a coordinated national approach to national biological collections and seek support for integration of our major biological collections within a wider vision of a Canberra Precinct.

In 2011–12, eight major biological collections were consolidated into a new virtual Australian National Biological Collections Facility. This new virtual facility became operational on
1 July 2012. In addition, the five largest collections were evaluated within the context of the national landscape to determine their research significance which was high. In 2012–13, CSIRO will establish a national approach to biological collections and include their scope and vision for the Canberra precinct.

For more information see Program 4 — National Research Infrastructure: National Facilities and Collections.

Develop and commence implementation of enterprise-level research data management processes and systems aligned with CSIRO’s e-Research and e-Enablement strategy.

Significant progress has been made on the development and implementation of the enterprise-level research data management processes and systems. As at 30 June 2012, 500 records were deposited in a new Research Data Service that covers a wide range of CSIRO research domains, 300 of which are available externally. This leading-edge system development involving comprehensive workflow support, provides the enterprise-level capability to describe, store, curate, reuse and enable access to research data assets created by CSIRO research groups.

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.

Grow national and international alliances with major industry, government and community partners in 2011–12 especially in domains critical to the delivery of Flagship’s goals.

Strategies have been developed and implemented to build alliances and expand our strategic partnerships with key stakeholders especially in domains critical to the delivery of Flagship’s goals. Some examples of strengthened strategic research alliances this year include:

  • forming a five-year $25 million strategic research program with Boeing, which builds on a 23-year relationship and increases existing connections by 30 per cent with a number of major clients conducting more than $1 million research
  • securing $2.9 million additional funding from AusAID to undertake a two-year ‘Pathways to Food Security’ in West Africa’s research program
  • securing $9.15 million from the Australian Government’s Filling the Research Gap funding program, which is part of the Carbon Farming Futures Program. The funds will be used to research abatement technologies, strategies and innovative management practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, sequester carbon and enhance sustainable agricultural practices.

For more information see Collaborations, connections and advice.

Execute strategies to improve relations and expand collaborations with five key international and ten key national research partners.

CSIRO expanded and improved relations with the European Union, United Nations (through the Spatial Data Infrastructure project in Indonesia), Orica, AusAid, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Chinese Academy of Science, through collaborations on various internationally focused initiatives. In addition, CSIRO continued to explore major research initiatives through the Global Research Alliance. CSIRO also hosted joint high-level activities with Embrapa (Brazil), the Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, and opened the CSIRO-Chile Centre of Excellence in Mining and Mineral Processing in December 2011.

On a national scale, collaborations have also strengthened with State Governments, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and the Australian Solar Institute. CSIRO also executed a Strategic Relationship Agreement with the University of Melbourne, and is expected to finalise similar agreements with other universities in 2012–13.

For more information see Collaborations, connections and advice or Publication collaboration in Program 2 — Core Research and Services.

Support Australia’s bid for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and evaluate (and execute as appropriate) options for CSIRO’s level of involvement, noting the SKA site decision is due early 2012.

In May 2012, following a comprehensive tendering process for the SKA project, it was announced by the SKA Organisation that Australia would be one of three host countries (Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) for the first phase of the SKA Survey telescope (2016–20).

The decision by the SKA Organisation is viewed positively by the Government, with broad recognition of CSIRO’s leadership role in the project.

For more information see Program 2 – Core Research and Services.

Review and refresh our partner alliances and science directions for regional sites.

A Regional Sites Working Group was established to anticipate the science directions of our regional sites. Following consultation with staff, the Working Group presented a report to CSIRO’s Consultative Council and the Executive. The report made ten recommendations, with implementation expected to commence in 2012–13 and be completed by 2015.

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.

Further develop and apply an Innovation Maturity Model to understand the key drivers of innovation in a CSIRO context, baseline our existing maturity and identify key improvement opportunities.

Significant progress has been made in increasing the Organisation’s capacity to respond appropriately to the changing nature of science. The results of an all Staff Survey released in June 2012 were key in identifying opportunities to enhance CSIRO’s capacity to innovate. The results also provided a baseline measure to assess future performance of CSIRO’s innovation maturity.

For more information see Our people.

Review and realign (as appropriate) our Learning and Development curriculum and service offering, to ensure it prepares our people to deliver against CSIRO’s distinctive role.

In late 2011, CSIRO’s learning and development priorities were realigned to support the delivery of the 2011–15 Strategy. To support this refreshed curriculum, a new Learning Management System (LMS) was developed to enable CSIRO to better understand and strategically align investment in learning and development. Feedback from key stakeholders about the LMS has been extremely positive.

For more information see Our people.

Further develop and implement strategic workforce capability plans for all our Divisions using a One-CSIRO approach.

Strong progress has been made in a One-CSIRO approach to Workforce Planning, including the endorsement of a new Diversity and Inclusion Plan for 2012–15 by the Board Remuneration and Nomination Committee. This new plan, along with development of annual workforce plans for all Divisions, led to the most comprehensive view of Divisional capability the Organisation has had in recent history.

Actively manage CSIRO’s financial position to achieve a non-consolidated underlying operating and capital result consistent with the Board approved budget.

CSIRO continued to actively manage its financial position to achieve a non-consolidated operating and capital result. The WLAN licence settlement has added to this position, resulting in an overall surplus outcome for the year. Further refinement of management processes for operating and capital budgets are planned for 2012–13 to ensure the Organisation maintains a sustainable financial position.

CSIRO’s financial performance for 2011–12 is summarised in Table 2.1.

Implement the Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) 2011–15 Strategy across the Organisation as we continue to build towards a ‘Zero Harm’ culture.

Solid progress has been achieved against the 2011–15 HSE Strategy, particularly in the areas of awareness raising and the overall HSE maturity of the Organisation.

For information see CSIRO’s Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Strategy.

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.

Develop and execute a systematic engagement strategy across CSIRO’s impact domains including CSIRO position statements on national interest issues (for example, climate change) and emergency response issues (for example, biosecurity).

During the year, the Prime Minister’s Taskforce on Manufacturing and related review processes provided a catalyst for CSIRO to demonstrate to stakeholders the wide range of impact achieved across a number of science fields. The CSIRO Board approved an Industry Engagement Strategy, which developed a collection of facts and case studies for staff to use when engaging externally.

For more information see Collaborations, connections and advice.

Revitalise CSIRO branding and marketing strategies (with associated co-branding options) and run three to five consumer orientated campaigns to increase awareness of CSIRO.

A revitalised CSIRO brand was successfully launched with positive feedback from stakeholders. This new visual identity has been actively adopted internally and for external use by education, publishing, on-line and for traditional communication campaigns including, Food Security, State of the Climate, SKA and WLAN.

Execute a strategy to use social media tools to communicate with selected key audiences.

This year CSIRO successfully launched a range of social media initiatives. All media channels have grown in terms of authors and followers. A snapshot as at 30 June 2012 showed that our three newly launched blogs: news@csiro , solar@csiro and investigator@csiro reached approximately 38,000 followers a month. Social media tools are a key part of the strategy to reach target audiences and increase awareness of CSIRO’s impact and role in delivering trusted scientific advice.

For more information see Enterprise Strategy Measure four.

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