CSIRO’s Operating Model is designed to support the successful execution of our strategy and delivery of our goals.

Operating model

CSIRO’s Operating Model defines the roles, relationships and accountabilities of leaders and operating units in CSIRO. It contains our processes for planning, investment, review and reporting, and the CSIRO Policy Framework.

Further information is available on CSIRO's Leadership and governance.

Legislation and government policy

CSIRO is an Australian Government statutory authority constituted and operating under the provisions of the Science and Industry Research Act 1949 (SIR Act).

CSIRO’s primary functions are to:

  • carry out scientific research to:
    • assist Australian industry and to further the interests of the Australian community
    • contribute to national and international objectives and responsibilities of the Commonwealth
  • encourage or facilitate the application and use of the results of CSIRO scientific research.

Our secondary functions include international scientific liaison, training of research workers, publication of research results, technology transfer of other research, provision of scientific services and dissemination of information about science and technology.

Reporting, accountability and other rules for CSIRO’s operations are set out in the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act).

Pursuant to a service agreement, CSIRO provides administrative support services to the Trustee of the SIEF consistent with the Science and Industry Endowment Act 1926. The Fund has its own governance structure.

In October 2012, CSIRO submitted an annual Compliance Report to the Australian Government regarding the Organisation’s compliance with the CAC Act and its financial sustainability.

General policies of the Australian Government that applied to CSIRO in 2012–13 under Section 28 of the CAC Act are: Commonwealth Fraud Control Policy; Australian Government Foreign Exchange Risk Management Guidelines; and Outsourcing of Information Technology Infrastructure Services. In addition, CSIRO has complied with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules as they apply to CSIRO.

Responsible Minister

As at 30 June 20131 the responsible ministers were:

  • The Hon Dr Craig Emerson MP, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research
  • Senator the Hon Don Farrell, Minister for Science and Research.

Other responsible Ministers during 2012–13 were:

  • The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research from 4 February 2013 to 25 March 2013
  • Senator the Hon Christopher Evans, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research from 14 December 2011 to 4 February 2013.

Under the SIR and CAC Acts, the Minister has power to:

  • add to the purposes for which CSIRO may carry out scientific research (SIR Act, section 9)
  • provide to the CSIRO Board in writing, directions and guidelines with respect to the performance of the functions, or the exercise of the powers, of the Board or of the Organisation (SIR Act, section 13).

The Minister provides CSIRO with a Statement of Expectations and the Board responds with a Statement of Intent. These documents can be found at: Statement of Expectations and Statement of Intent.

The Public Research Agency Charter, signed by the Minister and the Board, provides guidance to CSIRO and its researchers on providing scientific advice and engaging in public debate. The Charter can be found at: Public Research Agency Charter with the CSIRO .

The 2011–15 Quadrennium Funding Agreement between the Government and CSIRO was signed in February 2013.

Ministerial directions and notifications

No new directions were received in 2012–13. The CSIRO 2011–14 Enterprise Agreement was developed in accordance with the Ministerial direction regarding compliance with the Australian Government Employment Bargaining Framework.

Eighteen notifications of significant events under Section 15 and 16 of the CAC Act were made to the Minister during 2012–13. These related to participation in research centres and alliances, licence agreements, equity transactions and major research and infrastructure projects.

  1. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was sworn in on 27 June 2013. The new Rudd Ministry sworn in on 1 July 2013 includes: Senator the Hon Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, and Minister for Higher Education.

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