Future Science Platforms (FSPs) are an investment in science that underpins innovation and that has the potential to help reinvent and create new industries for Australia. FSPs will see us grow the capability of a new generation of researchers and allow Australia to attract the best students and experts to work with us on future science.
Here's a short summary of the visions behind each of our new Future Science Platforms: a multi-year, multi-disciplinary investment in our collective future - bringing CSIRO and our partners together to work on the big ideas.
Active Integrated Matter
AIM harnesses digital technology, autonomous systems, and materials science to deliver the transdisciplinary scientific breakthroughs needed for Enlightened Industry, or Industry 5.0. It helps industry tackle global challenges and take advantage of future trends.
AIM uses CSIRO expertise in materials, robotics, processing and sensing technologies and autonomous science to bridge the gap between improving what’s currently possible and paving the way for what soon will be.
Advanced Engineering Biology
Engineering biology – also known as synthetic biology – has the potential to unlock a new bio-economy to deliver 50,000 new jobs and $30 billion a year to Australia. This FSP aims to supercharge new biotechnology delivery through streamlined, molecular design and engineering tools, highly efficient bioproduction systems and data-driven decision-making tools. This will enhance our ability to develop biological goods and services that support food security, health and sustainable manufacturing.
Producing biological goods and services using advanced engineering principles is fundamental to developing the next iteration of our bio-based economy. By focusing on making significant advances in engineering biology, this FSP can enhance our ability to develop biological goods and services that support food security, health and sustainable manufacturing.
The Autonomous Sensors FSP was created to support the digital transformation of our science and of industries in Australia. Sensors allow us to collect, integrate and interpret large volumes of information, enabling rapid understanding and prediction of the physical world. Without the development of new transformational sensors and autonomous sensor platforms, the digital revolution and our scientific ambitions will be limited by the constraints of current sensor technology. Current sensor technology does not allow us to detect, measure or analyse properties at the scale or resolution that are key to solving challenges in our science domains.
This FSP will accelerate the generation of new tools to enable growth of digital decision making within domains; combining fundamental sensor research with autonomous engineering solutions to provide new advanced sensing and platform technologies for the environmental monitoring, health monitoring, mining, agriculture, and manufacturing domains. Advances in these areas require innovations in sensor technology to allow us to sense with increasing accuracy, sensitivity, traceability, and resolution, with technology adapted for the uniquely Australian challenges of harsh environmental conditions and remote locations.
There is a growing acknowledgement that the best results ensue when humans work collaboratively with machines, in both physical and digital worlds. In addition, psychology and behavioural science tell us that humans, especially decision makers, distrust ‘black boxes’, leading to poor technology adoption in some domains, while in other cases humans can over-trust systems they don’t understand.
Collaborative Intelligence will develop the science that enables human intelligence and technology to work harmoniously together across multiple domains, exceeding the performance of using either alone.
Deep Earth Imaging
In the future, Australia's minerals, energy and water resources will come from far greater depths in the Earth and from deep offshore sources, but our ability to find and exploit these resources is limited by the deep and complex cover of sediments and weathered material that covers 80 per cent of Australia's land mass. The science of Deep Earth Imaging will help us more precisely image subsurface rock properties to unlock the potential of this vast and relatively under-explored area.
Digiscape is about harnessing the digital revolution for Australian farmers and land managers. We will solve multiple real-life knowledge shortfalls in the land sector simultaneously by building a common big data infrastructure that will support next generation decision making and transform agricultural industries and environmental action.
Environomics aims to reinvent how we measure and monitor ecosystem health, predict biodiversity responses to environmental change, manage biological resources, detect biosecurity threats and more. This next generation of environmental science will be based on genomics, phenomics, big data informatics and simulation.
Hydrogen Energy Systems
Australia has access to vast energy resources through sun, wind, biomass, natural gas and coal, all of which can be used to produce hydrogen and/or the desired energy carrier compound. The fuel could be used domestically in transport, power generation and to offset more carbon-intensive resources, and Australia could also become a world-leading exporter of low emissions hydrogen.
The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating our understanding of the immune systems in both humans and animals, leading to innovations in immune-based technologies. This FSP will focus on new and emerging science that will provide an even deeper understanding of these systems, so we can modulate and harness immune responses to diseases. This will enable better protection against diseases and swifter responses to emerging health threats.
The rapid acceleration in immune-based technologies in recent years has opened up so many biotech opportunities. This FSP will build on that momentum. The innovative research we are planning will help to further unravel the complex nature of immune systems and develop new strategies to enhance immune resilience in both humans and animals.
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (MLAI)
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (MLAI) are capabilities that will transform economies and the basis of competition globally, unlock new societal and environmental value and accelerate scientific discovery. Many of the challenges facing our society require multidisciplinary solutions which are larger than a single human brain can solve. MLAI provides the opportunity to solve science challenges using data-driven or model-driven science, increased data interpretation speeds, or increased speed of data analysis.
The MLAI FSP will explore questions such as: how do we use machine learning to augment a scientist's ability to generate and learn from scientific data? What is the best way to include domain constraints (such as physical laws) and design constraints (such as privacy and fairness) into machine learning models? Where can we exploit genomic information in plant and animal breeding? Why is deep learning so effective in extracting meaningful features? How can we provide explainable AI for decision-making to protect the great barrier reef? Solving these types of challenges will open new vistas of scientific knowledge and positive impact.
Microbial interactions are integral to biological function across systems for plants, animals, and the wider environment. The Microbiomes for One Systems Health (MOSH) FSP is developing new understanding of how microorganisms connect across the environment to human continuum, and how perturbations to microbiomes impact on diversity, functionality and systems health.
Greater benefit from microbiome interactions and deliberate interventions will be captured through more informative and predictive frameworks for biological function and through a more reliable capacity to directly manipulate microbiomes across hosts and environments.
The MOSH-FSP will provide new opportunities for bio-based solutions to be developed and applied for the health of natural and managed ecosystems and for capturing benefit to plants, animals and humans through interactions with microorganisms.
Permanently removing carbon from our atmosphere at the speed and magnitude demanded remains a challenge. This FSP will work towards a solution by driving radical innovation at the nexus of biology, chemistry and engineering in both carbon capture and carbon storage science. Researchers will explore the systems and architecture needed to integrate carbon storage and carbon streams in novel ways, enabling better use of Australia’s natural assets.
If we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, breakthroughs and innovation in permanent carbon removal are needed. This FSP is bringing together deep knowledge, cross-cutting capability and the expertise of our partners to deliver fast, scalable and cost-effective solutions for reducing net emissions, while positioning Australia to take full advantage of growing international carbon markets.
Australia's current healthcare system is focussed on treating illnesses, but to keep up with our ageing population the focus needs to switch to keeping healthy people healthy. Through engagement with the community to understand their expectations and attitudes to a more tailored healthcare paradigm, and building on programs and developments already underway in the medical field, Precision Health will focus on creating an integrated platform that can be used to proactively manage a person's health throughout the course of their life through highly tailored food, nutrition and lifestyle interventions.
A revolution in healthcare through devices and systems to obtain real-time information from living organisms about their health and well-being. This will lead to the ability to provide health and medical interventions that are timely, customised and highly specific. Innovative autonomous sensing technology also strengthen future biosecurity control for the nation.
The first quantum science revolution of the early 20th Century provided the foundation for technologies which make hand-held devices, fibre-optic networks and GPS satellites possible. Recent advances in our ability to sense, isolate, and control quantum states are now fuelling a second revolution in quantum technologies, allowing us to work with matter and information in fundamentally new ways.
CSIRO is well positioned to explore and grow capability in the nascent quantum technologies industry. We anticipate through building on our existing quantum technologies expertise and further developing cross-CSIRO connections we can use quantum technologies to solve practical problems to deliver real-world impact, in previously inconceivable ways. Through the application of quantum science, a breadth of technologies are on the horizon which will: accelerate drug and materials development in healthcare; enhance national security and support defence; improve secure communications for space industries, the public and private sector; increase productive natural resources exploration and management; and expand computer modelling and problem-solving capabilities.
We're progressing on our roadmap to deliver world leading solutions in the burgeoning quantum technologies industry.
The pace of change of emerging science and technology is creating complex issues for societies and their decision-makers. The Responsible Innovation (RI) FSP is a program of research that assesses the potential risks, benefits and uncertainties of future science and technology and ensures socially responsible science and technology is designed and delivered for all Australians.
Building on our existing social science capability, we examine the significant policy, regulatory and ethical challenges presented by novel and disruptive innovations and technologies, which if left unresolved, could hinder progress and innovation needed for future science to deliver benefits to society and future generations. In order to do this successfully, we integrate our tried and tested evaluation and assessment scientific methodologies and processes, and apply new criteria that are purpose-built for these emerging areas.
Revolutionary Energy Storage Systems
As technology advances, our energy storage requirements will also need to evolve. At the grid level, new management systems are required to incorporate more renewable energy into a power network designed for fossil fuel technologies. Disruptive change is crucial if we are to move towards meeting our future energy needs safely, efficiently and sustainably. This FSP will work on the science solutions that will take us well beyond the limitations of today’s energy storage options and systems.
This FSP has been set up to solve those critical science and technology challenges that will bring about the energy storage revolution that we need to have. Unlocking the secret to efficient and safe energy storage could see us charge electric vehicles as easily as we now fill our petrol tanks, or keep portable our devices charged for many days without the need for a top up. On a larger scale, it could even be mimicking pumped hydro through new technology and making it more responsive to the needs of the grid.
Launched in November 2018, the Space Technology FSP aims to build capability and generate new innovations with the potential to generate significant societal benefits and commercial opportunities. Research projects supported by the program address the high-value, high-risk leapfrog R&D areas prioritised by the Australian Space Agency to accelerate the growth of the Australian space sector. Our research looks to harness our nation’s technical strengths and natural advantages to drive opportunities for growth and secure Australia’s footprint in the global space ecosystem.
Our Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform is positioning Australia to play a role in one of the fastest growing areas of modern science so that we can understand global developments and contribute to advances in areas including manufacturing, industrial biotechnology, environmental remediation, biosecurity, agriculture, and healthcare research. Synthetic biology (Synbio) is a rapidly expanding multi-billion dollar industry with significant potential for generating societal benefits and commercial opportunities. It will drive innovation in a diverse range of new and existing industries in the future. Our mission is to grow Synbio capacity within CSIRO and across Australia
The Valuing Sustainability FSP is developing next generation science that provides confidence that actions across supply chains lead to positive outcomes for land, water, biodiversity and people. We work across scientific disciplines and with diverse groups in regional communities, industries and supply chains, to co-develop and test measures of sustainability which reflect real outcomes and can guide investment and innovation for ongoing improvement. This does not just require excellent science, but science that connects the concerns of industries, communities, investors, consumers, and governments with the diverse outcomes they are trying to achieve.
Related to this page
- Active Integrated Matter
- Autonomous Sensors
- Collaborative Intelligence
- Deep Earth Imaging
- Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
- Precision Health
- Probing Biosystems
- Quantum Technologies
- Responsible Innovation
- Space Technology
- Synthetic Biology
- Valuing Sustainability