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Australia's resilience and recovery is being put to the test in a year where we have experienced devastating bushfires, drought and the global COVID-19 pandemic. The first recession in 30 years is seeing increasing pressure on our communities and industries. The world's landscape – how we work, trade, travel, collaborate – is changing. It is a sobering time and a moment to consider the future we are shaping. A future that can be driven by science.

The disruption of this year has brought CSIRO's purpose into the fore as we have used our innovative science and technology to solve these great challenges. Never in our lifetime has a country – or the world – turned to scientists in the way they are now.

The Corporate Plan is a focal point to ensure your national science agency continues to play a critical role of science for our nation's recovery and future resilience: to ensure the science we create has impact and benefit for Australia by collaborating with government, industry and academia to grow our national innovation performance; to provide the research community with access to the world-class facilities and collections we manage on behalf of the nation; and to ensure we continue to develop the best talent, for the benefit of Australia.

CSIRO Corporate Plan 2020–21

Strategic themes

Two key themes are reflected in our Corporate Plan 2020–21: missions and digital transformation.


To help us solve each challenge, our new missions program will bolster Australia's COVID-19 recovery and build long-term resilience, focused on outcomes that lead to positive impact, new jobs and economic growth. Missions will reach beyond what is possible today. Due to their scale, ambition and collaborative nature, missions proposals will take time to co-develop with partners in Australia (and in many cases globally).

Digital transformation

In recent Corporate Plans we've identified the power of combining deep domain digital expertise with new digital technologies, and have made strong progress on driving the national science agency's digital transformation. This has been critical in underpinning a rapid pivot to new ways of working this year. It has unlocked new opportunities for CSIRO as well as Australia, which we will seize by increasing the pace and scale of our science delivery through digital technologies, as well as building digital capability in our workforce and adapting our workplaces for future ways of working.

How we measure success

Our science aims to deliver our purpose for solving the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology. We actively review and monitor our performance including through the use of performance measures as part of our performance framework.

We measure our success based on the following:

  • delivering benefits to Australia
  • ensuring customer satisfaction
  • disseminating excellent science
  • industry is adopting our solutions
  • building strong, collaborative relationships
  • being Australia's trusted advisor
  • collaborating internationally for national benefit
  • investing in national challenges
  • developing the next generation of STEM talent
  • enabling the use of science infrastructure and collections
  • ensuring staff safety and wellbeing
  • enhancing our positive culture.

Primary activities to deliver our purpose

1. Conduct and encourage the uptake of world-class scientific research

  • Mission program establishment
  • Digital transformation
  • Improved approach to portfolio management
  • Customer growth and retention
  • Responding to COVID-19
  • Australia's climate and disaster resilience
  • State of the Climate report
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Global strategy (including Regional Team Australia program)
  • Partners and investors
  • Australia's sustainable future

2. Mobilise and develop the best talent for the benefit of Australia

  • Continuous improvement of STEM programs
  • Increase SME engagement

3. Manage national research infrastructure for the nation

  • Deliver the SKA site and technical operations for Australia
  • Deliver the $70 million technical upgrade of Pawsey's supercomputers

Ensure the sustainability of CSIRO

  • Health, Safety and Environment Management Culture and System
  • Refresh culture plan including wellbeing and values
  • CSIRO Workforce strategy including interchange
  • New ways of working
  • 2020–21 Security Action Plan
  • 2020–21 Property Plan
  • Increased agility of our operations


Corporate Plan 2020–21 PDF (7 MB)

Corporate Plan 2020–21 HTML (133 KB)

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