Our performance against the planned activities within our four-year Strategy.

Our CSIRO 2011-15 Strategy is underpinned by five strategic pillars:

  1. National Research Flagships
  2. Science Excellence and Preparedness
  3. Deep Collaboration and Connection
  4. Innovation Organisation
  5. Trusted Advisor.

Our 2013-14 Operational Plan1 and 2013-14 Portfolio Budget Statements2 respond to our Strategy, providing an overview of the priorities, programs, change initiatives and other key activities to be undertaken, along with the resources to implement these, during the third year of our Strategy. 

Operational plan

Performance assessment against annual Key Executive Actions

Our 2013–14 Operational Plan identified eight Key Executive Actions to progress our CSIRO Strategy. These actions are designed to focus our Board and Executive Team’s attention on the Organisation’s most important priorities for the year.

An overview of the results achieved for these actions is provided below.

Pillar 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.

Flagship consolidation

  1. Finalise the successful formation and/or integration of our Digital Productivity and Services, Biosecurity, Energy and Future Manufacturing Flagships.
  2. Clarify our enterprise Health strategy, particularly the nexus between health, nutrition and food, and reposition the Preventative Health Flagship accordingly.
  3. Clarify the future of Divisional Themes and their intersection with Flagships in the CSIRO Divisions of Marine and Atmospheric Research, Plant Industry, Ecosystem Sciences, and Animal, Food and Health Sciences.

The Digital Productivity and Services, Biosecurity, Energy and Future Manufacturing Flagships achieved their formation and integration expectations during the year. Aligned Themes were successfully consolidated and will be further embedded as our new Flagship structures are embedded through 2014–15.

We clarified our positioning in health through our 2014–15 CSIRO Annual Directions Statement and structural changes to our Flagships. The merger of our Food Futures and Preventative Health Flagships into a new Food and Nutrition Flagship from 1 July 2014 brings together capability to address the nexus of food, health and nutrition.

The consolidation of Divisional Themes and their intersection with Flagships has been completed through our structural reform, which merged our Divisions and Flagships into nine Flagships from 1 July 2014.

See the section on Flagship achievements for more information.

Pillar 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.

Science platforms

All CSIRO Divisions have approved individual plans to deliver the Flagship future capability requirements, including infrastructure, sites, collaborations, workforce, HSE and future science platforms, underpinned by Capability Development Funds and Transformational Capability Platforms; and to finalise the merger of CSIRO Mathematics and Informatics and Statistics and Information Communications Technology (ICT) Centre.

During the year a number of Divisions further developed their Divisional Plans. In April 2014, the CSIRO Board decided to defer this action to 2014–15 in light of the introduction of our new operating model on 1 July 2014 where Divisions and Flagships are merged into new Flagship entities.

In 2013–14, the merger of CSIRO Mathematics and Informatics and Statistics and ICT Centre into the new Division of CSIRO Computational and Informatics was successfully finalised and became fully operational.

Global Precincts

Execute activities in line with the Executive Team endorsed action plan for each of CSIRO’s Global Precincts, including the realisation of stakeholder commitments, managing the interface with the Industry Innovation Precincts program, CSIRO’s capital plan and our national connector role.

During 2013–14, CSIRO’s Global Precincts progressed satisfactorily, achieving a number of milestones. Progress of the Canberra, Clayton (Victoria) and Perth Precincts in particular was solid, including:

  • the outcome of the Public Works Committee hearing for Black Mountain and Clayton was supported through the Senate
  • opening of the National Resource Sciences Precinct in Perth on 8 April 2014 by the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP, Minister for Industry
  • opening of the Victorian Centre for Sustainable Chemical Manufacturing on 26 July 2013 by the Hon David Hodgett, Minister for Manufacturing (Victoria) at DuluxGroup in the Clayton Precinct
  • opening of the New Horizons Centre on 30 July 2013 by Senator the Hon Kim Carr (then Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) at the Australian Manufacturing and Materials Precinct in Clayton.

For more information about results from CSIRO’s science standing see Enterprise Strategy Measures.

Pillar 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.

Long-term partnerships

  1. Increase the total value of long-term strategic partnership agreements with industry by 20 per cent.
  2. Enhance engagement with small to medium enterprises (SMEs) through doubling the number of Researcher in Business placements.
  3. Increase the number of active licences by 15 per cent.

Despite a difficult economic climate during 2013–14, we continued to strengthen our industry partnerships and alliances, securing a solid pipeline of projects for 2014–15. In addition to maintaining strategic alliances with organisations such as Boeing, General Electric and BP, we also entered into new long-term agreements, including a five-year strategic agreement with Fonterra to drive innovation in sustainable farming, manufacturing, health, nutrition and consumer dairy products.

During 2013–14, our engagement with SMEs also expanded, with 26 Researcher in Business projects, compared with 16 in 2012–13. This fell short of our target of 32 placements due to resourcing constraints and the identification of leads from within the Organisation.

The number of patent and Plant Breeders’ Rights families subject to an active licence as at 30 June 2014 was 288, a 13 per cent increase for the year. Despite falling slightly short of the targeted 15 per cent increase, this outcome represents a significant improvement in the uptake and adoption of CSIRO licences over a 12-month period. The number of licences generating income, which include the licensing of copyright as well as registered intellectual property (IP), is 348 held by 290 unique licencees. For details of our IP portfolio information in the Core Research and Services section.

Major Projects

Deliver major infrastructure projects (including Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), Pawsey Centre, ACT Site Consolidation, National Geosequestration Laboratory, Sustainable Energy for the Square Kilometre Array (SESKA) Geothermal, and Marine National Facility Future Research Vessel) as per approved project plans and in line with CSIRO Major Project Standards.

Overall, major projects have progressed satisfactorily during the year, in line with CSIRO Major Project Standards. Highlights include:

  • Our new ASKAP antennas at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory are designed to be a high-speed survey instrument with high-dynamic range. The real-time computer ‘Galaxy’ is now live and operational. Recent test images validate ASKAP’s design and demonstrated ASKAP’s power in superior survey speed, remarkable dynamic range and extraordinary sensitivity.
  • The Pawsey Centre, a joint venture between CSIRO and the four Western Australian universities, is likely to become the most powerful supercomputing centre in the Southern Hemisphere. During 2013–14, the Pawsey Project delivered a supercomputer under budget with acceptance testing scheduled to be completed by 30 August 2014.
  • Delivery of the Marine National Facility Future Research Vessel Investigator was delayed. The ship is expected in September 2014. CSIRO successfully secured funding from government to support operations of Investigator for 180 days at sea per year.
  • The ACT Site Consolidation Project is now fully operational, with our CSIRO Board approving the commencement of the construction phase from 30 April 2014. Combining Phases 1 and 2 is expected to accelerate the project by 16 to 20 months.
  • All components of the SESKA Geothermal Project are now fully operational. The groundwater cooling system has been the primary source of cooling for the Pawsey Centre since November 2013. The cooling system has also been integrated with the Pawsey Centre building management system.
  • The National Geosequestration Laboratory Project has progressed well and on budget, with completion expected in October 2014.

Pillar 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.

Enabling impact

Plan and commence a five-year action plan to lift our organisational capacity to accelerate impact delivery, as measured against the enterprise innovation maturity model, with the focus in FY2013–14 on:

  1. Commencing delivery of an integrated five-year plan (in consultation with Comcare) to equip all of our people to foster inclusion, trust, respect in a diverse and Zero Harm culture.
  2. Plan and commence a coordinated program of transformational improvements of our operational arrangements, business practices and supporting systems, leading to significant cost reductions and productivity gains.
  3. Lift the maturity of Flagship impact management – planning, monitoring, evaluation and communication – based on CSIRO Impact Project methodology, particularly to inform portfolio investment decision-making.

An integrated five-year ‘Wellbeing at Work’ 2014–18 Strategy was signed off by the CSIRO Board in December 2013. The Strategy, endorsed by Comcare’s Centre of Excellence, incorporates focus areas identified in the Independent Investigation’s General Findings Reports3. Delivery against key strategic initiatives across all strategy pillars began in early 2014. Notable response areas included wellbeing education and development of our people and leaders in fostering inclusion, trust, respect in a diverse and Zero Harm culture.

Through our Integrated Reform Program significant progress on transformational improvements to our operational arrangements has begun. Establishing the Program and delivering the first milestone in a decadal reform took less than six months. It included successfully defining and recruiting key science and support roles into the new operating model, and undertaking workshops with over 120 staff from across the Organisation to identify system and process issues for improvement.

Flagship impact management activities progressed successfully and included the development of an enterprise impact framework with supporting guidelines for planning, monitoring and evaluating impact, as well as governance protocols to ensure consistency across the Organisation. All Flagships – including newly formed Flagships and those Themes transitioning from Portfolios to Flagships – have, for the first time, developed impact statements and articulated their future impact pipeline. See the Impact Enterprise Strategy Measures below.

Financial sustainability

Develop (in consultation with Government) and execute plans to address the medium to long-term financial sustainability of CSIRO.

We have clarified and continue to deliver on pathways for achieving financial sustainability. Plans are in place to reduce management and support costs as well as general operating expenses during 2014–15 through our Integrated Reform Program. Continued delivery of our site consolidation strategy is helping to contain increases in property costs. We have responded to the tough budget environment by a focused reduction in some science areas and have developed a balanced four-year budget that improves overall financial sustainability to better enable future growth.

Pillar 5: Trusted Advisor

Play a leading role in the trusted delivery of scientific evidence, advice and interpretation to the Australian government, public and industry.

CSIRO 2015–25 Strategy

Develop and progress a robust CSIRO 2015–25 Strategy, Lapsing Program Review, and positioning for a successful Quadrennial Funding Agreement process in FY2014–15, including engagement with parliamentary, government, industry and community stakeholders.

Development of our 2015–25 Strategy progressed ahead of schedule, including agreement on nine key strategy choices and supporting strategy blueprint. The schedule for completion has been modified to accommodate an incoming Chief Executive.

CSIRO will not undertake a formal lapsing program review in light of the Commission of Audit and clarity on future funding from Government. As input to our 2015–25 Strategy development process, an assessment of our performance against our existing strategy is being developed.

We have engaged closely with Government to clarify and confirm future funding arrangements, including changes to our 2014–15 Portfolio Budget Statements to better reflect our operations and role in the National Innovation System.

For more details see stakeholder engagement.

Enterprise strategy measures

At CSIRO, we adopt a number of mechanisms to monitor overall progress against our strategy, including reporting against ten Enterprise Strategy Measures (ESMs). These measures are designed to provide evidence of our performance across four dimensions critical to the success of our CSIRO 2011–15 Strategy.

A summary of actions taken and progress achieved against our ESMs is provided below.


Develop measures in 2011–12 for delivery of triple-bottom-line4 impact through evaluating realised benefits. Be recognised as one of the top three global applied science organisations by 2014–15 for impact delivery as measured against our 20 global peers5.

When compared against relevant science excellence and impact-related performance dimensions, CSIRO is within the top ten applied research organisations in the world. Achievements in a combination of citations, intellectual property and triple-bottom-line impact indicate we could reach the top three of applied science organisations globally by 2014–15 (see Figure 2.1).

Figure 2.1: CSIRO impact compared with 20 global peers

In terms of our science impact and scientific knowledge, our Science Health and Excellence Reports6 suggest we are performing as well as or better than most of our global peers (top three). Analysis of Normalised Citation Impact indicates we maintained our rank of second7 for a second year in a row. In terms of scale and reach, our delivery of scientific solutions that contribute to significant economic, environmental and social impact for Australia, also places us in the top three. An analysis of patent filings registered in the World Intellectual Property Database indicates we have not yet reached the top three, but are ranked within the top ten amongst our global peers. We were however still Australia’s largest patent holder in 2013 (644 patent families) with 30 to 40 per cent of our patent families the result of collaborative activity with external parties. 

Evidence of our impact is demonstrated in the achievements in Program 1 – National Research Flagships.

Develop future impact pipelines for at least 80 per cent of the Flagship Portfolio by June 2012. Evaluate potential triple-bottom-line value for at least 50 per cent of the Flagship future pipeline by June 2013 and 80 per cent by June 2014. Deliver Flagships’ goals at a rate meeting or exceeding initial time-to-goal expectations.

For the first time, all Flagships have consistently articulated their future impact pipeline, including an assessment of intended triple-bottom-line value, using impact statements and reflecting the growing use of our impact framework. The information collected continues to grow in relevance and uptake within Flagships, informing business development activities, science investment planning and communication. These impact commitments will be further reviewed and refined by the nine new Flagships over the next year as part of their planning processes and will include time-to-goal commitments against which performance will be monitored.

Baseline customers’ willingness to recommend in 2011–12 and improve our performance year-on-year over the Strategy.

Our Listening to Clients online survey is conducted on projects delivered to our clients. The survey asks clients to rate their ‘willingness to recommend’ CSIRO on a scale of 0–10, and provide reasons for their score.

For the second consecutive year, we received high satisfaction ratings from clients, recording an average 8.6 out of 10. The top three reasons were: client service, science excellence and quality of work. The survey results provide valuable insight on our performance and inform improvements to our client engagement initiatives, business processes and services, such as timeliness, communication and cost.

Increase community awareness of impact derived from CSIRO activities from the established baseline of 50 per cent in 201011 to 75 per cent by 201415.

In 2011, 40 per cent of Australians questioned in an online survey were able to name at least one contribution they believed CSIRO had made to their lives. In 2013, in focus group interviews, 38 per cent were able to name a positive contribution they believed CSIRO had made to their lives. Responses by different segments of the community have been attributed to their different levels of receptiveness to science information8. During 2013–14, CSIRO did not undertake a comparable survey to assess the trend of community awareness of impact derived from CSIRO activities.

In February 2014, the Australian National University (ANU)9 and Inspiring Australia commissioned a national survey, ‘How do Australians engage with science’, canvassing 1020 adult Australians on public engagement in science and technology, including trusted sources of scientific information in Australia.

The preliminary findings indicate a relatively high number of respondents trusted CSIRO in both aspects:

  • At 12 per cent, CSIRO was the most commonly mentioned trusted source of accurate information about science (equal to friends and family).
  • Scientists were rated as the most trusted groups of people to explain the impacts of scientific or technological advances. The most trusted of the different groups was well known scientists such as Nobel Prize winners or Australians of the Year (82 per cent), followed by CSIRO scientists (78 per cent).


Science quality is maintained or improved in Environment-Ecology, Agricultural Sciences, Plant and Animal Sciences and Geosciences as measured through benchmarking against global peers (science productivity, citations per paper, collaboration). CSIRO maintains breadth in at least 14 fields in the top one per cent globally based on ISI/Thomson Reuters total citation data.

CSIRO is ranked in the top 0.1 per cent of global institutions in Plant and Animal Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Environment and Ecology and Geosciences (based on total citations). In addition, we rank in the top one per cent globally in a further ten research fields. This number decreased from 15 last year to 14 this year10.

Overall, our citation impact has consistently improved over the last decade with CSIRO articles cited performing 47 per cent better than the global average for the period 2009–13. In 2013, performance for the period 2008–12 was reported as 56 per cent better than the world average. The apparent drop is due entirely to a complete overhaul of the baselines the data provider requires to generate the metric. When measured using the new baselines, our 2008–12 performance was 41 per cent better than world average, meaning our 2009–13 performance is a six per cent improvement.

Further, when comparing all articles of the same type and in the same subject for the period 2009–13 (based on percentile performance), 2.8 per cent of CSIRO publications were in the top one per cent of articles globally, 10.2 per cent in the top five per cent and 18.1 per cent in the top ten per cent. This is an improvement across all three levels since 2008–12. These results demonstrate our science excellence and outputs are highly competitive against global peers.

For more information on our publication output and citation impact see Program 2, Core Research and Services.

Progress towards establishing precincts of global standing in the Plant and Agricultural Sciences, Resource Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Materials and Manufacturing Sciences and Human Life Sciences meets Precinct Development Plans by 201415.

The developing Global Precincts are strengthening their core relationships with key partners and broadening their stakeholder engagement. We achieved a number of milestones this year, including progress on the Black Mountain (Canberra), Clayton (Victoria) and Perth Precincts.

The Government supported recommendations by the Public Works Committee for redevelopment and enhancement of property at both our Black Mountain and Clayton sites, and the National Resource Sciences Precinct in Perth was officially launched on 8 April 2014 by the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP, Minister for Industry. The ANU–CSIRO science vision for the Canberra Precinct is being developed to include Transformational Agriculture. Broader plans for an ‘Innovation Campus’ are under discussion.

For more information see our Precinct Program.


No fatalities or major injuries of CSIRO people. Lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR)11 and medical treatment injury frequency rate (MTIFR)12 improves year-on-year and is in the top quartile of like organisations by 201415.

During the past year more of our staff went home safely compared to previous years, with 17 fewer staff than in 2012–1313 experiencing a lost work day injury, a 28 per cent reduction. The LTIFR for 2013–14 was 3.4 compared with 4.7 for 2012–13. The number of incidents required to be reported to Comcare was down 30 per cent from 2012–13.

Figure 2.2: CSIRO lost time and medical treatment frequency rates

Initiatives encouraging our people to report early body stressing injuries before they develop into more disabling injuries are leading to a decrease in lost time injuries and an increase in medical treatment injuries. This frequency rate will also decline over time as the underlying injury causes are addressed. The MTIFR for 2013–14 was 9.5 compared with 8.2 the previous year, reflecting the focus on early injury intervention and reporting (see Figure 2.2).

See our health and safety programs section for more information.

Awareness of CSIRO’s Values increases year-on-year from the established baseline of 73 per cent in 201011 to 95 per cent in 201415.

Awareness of our CSIRO Values was 71 per cent in 2010 and raised from 81 per cent in 2012 to 87 per cent in 2014. In 2013–14, we intensely focused our efforts on the application of our Values, largely driven by our decision to commission an independent (Emeritus Professor Dennis Pearce AO) investigation into allegations of workplace bullying and other unreasonable behaviour, and our acceptance of all recommendations from the investigation’s General Findings Reports 1 and 2.

We also conducted two cultural surveys during this period: ‘Speaking Up in CSIRO’ (2013) and ‘CSIRO Staff Welfare’ (2014). Both of these surveys were referenced in the General Findings Report 2. Specifically, the Independent Investigator stated that the survey ‘findings are promising and indicative of CSIRO’s early to mid-stage maturity in the strategic management of staff welfare—a longer-term commitment to which is evident through successive enterprise strategies and plans, a cooperative agreement with Comcare, a focus on the Code of Conduct and Values, and ongoing cultural work across CSIRO. Overall, the findings offer support for the recent focused effort on staff welfare and provide valuable information about how best to enable further improvements across different work groups in CSIRO’. 


CSIRO’s financial, operating and capital management performance meets approved annual budget.

Figure 2.3: Allocation of CSIRO (consolidated) resources to the National Research Flagships

During the year, CSIRO’s operating, capital and cash positions were constantly monitored and managed to achieve the budgeted financial outcomes. CSIRO delivered a deficit operating result of $25.7 million for the year which was within the Board approved annual budget and the loss position approved by Government. CSIRO did not fully spend its planned capital budget due to unforeseen events impacting three major projects – delays in delivery of the new research vessel for the Marine National Facility; reduced scope of the SESKA project with the cancellation of the deep well given successful completion of groundwater cooling for the Pawsey Centre; and re-phasing of work on the National Geosequestration Lab.

Allocation of CSIRO (Consolidated) resources to the National Research Flagships increases to 65 per cent by 2014-15.

Allocation of CSIRO (Consolidated) resources to the National Research Flagships was on budget at 58 per cent for the 2013–14 financial year (see Figure 2.3). All figures are based on CSIRO consolidated results.

  1. CSIRO’s Operational Plan
  2. CSIRO’s Portfolio Budget Statement is available at: Department of Industry and Science
  3. See the Our People section for information on the Independent Investigation.
  4. Triple-bottom-line refers to economic, social and environmental impacts.
  5. Refer to the Glossary for a listing of the 20 global peers used in this comparison.
  6. CSIRO’s Science Health and Excellence Reports are available at: Performance-reviews
  7. Analysis involves a combination of normalised citation measures from Thomson Reuters InCites, Scimago’s Institution Ranking and calculations based on Web of Science data and uses the new Crown Indicator methodology. Refer to the Glossary.
  8. The segments that have identified an interest in science (i.e. segments 1: passive interest in science; 2: actively interested in science; and 3: interested but confused by scientific information) represent those community members who are more engaged in science and consequently more likely to be able to respond with knowledge of a positive contribution by CSIRO to their lives. Whereas the segments identified as not really interested (i.e. segments 4: not really interested in science; 5: not interested at all in science and do not much trust it; and 6: not interested in science and feel they know enough already, represent those members of the community that are less interested in science and consequently less likely to be able to respond with any knowledge of impact derived by a CSIRO activity to their lives.
  9. National Survey Results – ‘How do Australians engage with science’; Study commissioned by ‘Inspiring Australia’ for Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science; The Australian National University, April 2014.
  10. Fundamental changes in the way the data provider assembles its rankings saw CSIRO drop out of the Physics ranking in 2013–14.
  11. LTIFR is the number of incidents involving lost time from work greater than or equal to one full day or shift per million hours worked.
  12. MTIFR is the number of incidents requiring medical treatment (beyond first aid) per million hours worked.
  13. Historical data presented in this report may differ from previous reports due to delayed reporting and reclassifications. Every effort has been made to ensure the data presented is the most accurate available at the time of reporting.

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