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Over nearly a century, we've been improving the lives of people everywhere with our science. Since we started life as the Advisory Council of Science and Industry in 1916, we’ve advanced Australia with a range of inventions and innovations that have had significant positive impact on the lives of people around the world. These include fast WiFi, polymer banknotes, the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, and Aerogard, just to name a few.

We work with industry, government and the research community to turn science into solutions to address Australia’s greatest challenges, including food security and quality; clean energy and resources; health and wellbeing; resilient and valuable environments; innovative industries; and a secure Australia and region.

Read more about the contribution CSIRO has made to Australia this year in our Year in Review 2020 PDF (8 MB), which celebrates our people, partners and science.

Our origins

We're an Australian Government corporate entity, with a Board and Chief Executive. We're constituted by and operate under the provisions of the Science and Industry Research Act 1949, which sets out our functions and powers, as well as those of our Minister, Board and Chief Executive. The governance, performance and accountability of our operations, including the use and management of public resources are set out in the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and related rules.

The Science and Industry Research Act 1949 defines our purpose and the functions we undertake for the benefit of Australia:

  • To carry out scientific research for any of the following purposes:
    • Assisting Australian industry;
    • Furthering the interests of the Australian community;
    • Contributing to the achievement of Australian national objectives or the performance of the national and international responsibilities of the Commonwealth; and
    • Any other purpose determined by the Minister;
  • To encourage or facilitate the application or utilisation of the results of such 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.

We operate through three lines of business:

  • Impact science: Nine national research business units with focus on the biggest challenges facing the nation.
  • National Facilities and Collections: We manage infrastructure and biological collections for the benefit of research and industry.
  • CSIRO Services: Commercial, customer-centric products and services for industry, government and the community.

Our innovations

Find a more extensive inventory of our innovations or read about our more recent work in:

Contact us

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