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Issue 6: December 2022

From the Director

A woman with silver hair and red lipstick, smiling at the camera and wearing a black buttoned up top.

Welcome to the latest from CSIRO’s Responsible Innovation Future Science Platform (RI FSP).

In this final newsletter for 2022, we are pleased to share with you the results of a benchmark study of 4,000 Australians. Our report measured public perceptions of responsible innovation around future science and technology research. One of the key takeaways was that trust in the Australian research sector is strongly correlated with perceptions of responsible innovation taking place. However, what emerged in our findings was that when research institutions have effective risk management practices in place, there is increased trust in the sector. These risk management practices also increase the belief that socially responsible outcomes will be delivered. By understanding what the public think about the conduct of breakthrough scientific research and innovation in Australia, we can better identify what is important to people in the development of novel technologies.

Some of the example technologies mentioned in this report are changing the way researchers automate science and engineering processes in the way we conduct work at CSIRO. This year, we kicked off a new project exploring the implications of ‘automating science’ when it comes to technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics across applications like industrial component design, synthetic biology, and environmental management.

In other news, we were delighted to again be a collaborative sponsor of the Something Digital Festival in October. The Festival focuses on the latest digital innovation trends and Dr Cara Stitzlein, who moderated the CSIRO sponsored blocks, shared her thoughts about the program with us. And as part of our Meet the RI Researcher series, I am pleased to introduce Gabi Skoff. Gabi is currently undertaking her PhD on responsible innovation and quantum technologies at the University of Sydney and her research brings these two fields together in new ways.

Thank you for your continued support and I wish everyone a restful end-of-year break.

Dr Justine Lacey
RI FSP Director

Is the Australian public on board with responsible innovation?

Our new report holds a mirror to the emerging field of responsible innovation in Australia. In a first of its kind study, researchers designed a robust survey tool for measuring public perceptions of RI.

Investigating the benefits and impacts of automating science 

We are currently amid the largest surge of the application and development of artificial intelligence (AI) for scientific research in history. Our researchers are exploring how we might mitigate risks posed by disruptive technologies like AI by speaking to the scientists, engineers and end-users who are developing and using automation in their work.