CSIRO continues to build and maintain strong relationships with its customers, partners and other stakeholders that are critical to CSIRO's success.

Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs)

CSIRO engages in CRCs to build critical mass in research ventures, which tackle clearly articulated major challenges for end-users. In line with this, CSIRO remains the largest single participant in the CRC program.

Throughout the life of the program, CSIRO has participated in 139 of 196 CRCs, and is active in 20 of the current 38 CRCs. CSIRO's direct contribution to CRCs was $13.6 million in 2012–13.

CSIRO participated in five of the six successful Round 14 CRCs, which commenced operations on 1 July 2012.

CSIRO did not participate in any bids in Round 15, but has engaged in five bids for Round 16 in 2013, being successful in moving through to Stage 2 of the selection process with four bids.

Government engagement

CSIRO also undertakes regular meetings with Ministers, Parliamentarians and their senior staff from relevant government departments to provide scientific information and advice to inform policy development and program implementation and evaluation.

Examples include contributing to the development of the National Food Plan and the National Innovation System.

CSIRO's Chief Executive has continued to be active in a number of government forums, including the Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, the Prime Minister's Taskforce on Manufacturing and the Precincts Board. CSIRO staff have also participated on the Australian Research Committee.

CSIRO made seven submissions to Federal parliamentary inquiries and CSIRO officers attended nine hearings to provide further evidence to these inquiries.

CSIRO held four Science for Breakfast briefings for parliamentarians and their staff at Parliament House. Briefings covered aspects of shale gas in Australia (August 2012), Australia's marine economy (October 2012) our future health (March 2013) and biosecurity (June 2013).

For information on university collaboration and for collaboration with the general public see Program 3.

Indigenous Engagement Strategy

In 2012–13, CSIRO undertook an extensive campaign to recruit Indigenous trainees. Ten trainees were appointed in a number of fields including aquaculture; energy; human resources; agriculture; astronomy and space science; and plant industry.

The cadet and trainee retention rate has remained high at 90 per cent.

The number of Indigenous employees increased by four, with an internship being provided to a former cadet in marine science and a postgraduate scholarship awarded to an Indigenous PhD student. These increases saw a rise in Indigenous staff in CSIRO to 53.

CSIRO also initiated the first Deadly Scientist or Science Project Award as part of the prestigious Indigenous Deadlys Award, which is a national Indigenous competition promoting excellence in the arts, health, community development and now science.

During the reporting year, two cultural awareness programs were run in Newcastle and Perth. The Indigenous Seeing Through Both Eyes Strategic Awareness program will resume in the latter part of 2013 with programs scheduled for Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide.

This year saw a change to the governance for implementing the Indigenous Engagement Strategy with the establishment of an additional high-level Strategic Advisory Committee (SAC) and a shift from a Steering Committee to an Implementation Committee.

The SAC will comprise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and will be co-chaired by a nationally significant Indigenous leader and the Executive Team Leader for Indigenous Engagement.

The SAC will provide CSIRO with independent external input into an annual assessment of progress in the Organisation’s engagement with Indigenous Australians.

This will have particular relevance to the four pillars of the current Indigenous Engagement Strategy (science opportunities, employment, education outreach and cultural awareness).

The Implementation Committee will provide strategic oversight of CSIRO's Indigenous Engagement Strategy and associated organisational change.

The Implementation Committee will also provide collective leadership in delivering organisation-wide progress against strategic objectives through the coordination of project activity.

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