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4 February 2016 Statement

I've had the privilege of leading CSIRO for a jam packed twelve months and I am expecting the next twelve to be just as full on.

This year we've already seen China's economy slowing, the price of oil and other commodities dropping, 2015 'winning' the title of hottest year ever recorded, and Zika virus spreading -  and it's only the beginning of February. 

We must embrace change and turn it to our advantage if we want to flourish, predict what's coming rather than react.  Indeed, just like a startup, our nation needs to re-invent itself (pivot) in order to navigate a new and uncertain future. This is the essence of the National Science and Innovation Agenda, and the essence of the planning in CSIRO's Strategy 2020.

So CSIRO has some big new plans to launch in 2016. We have planned new investment in digital technology and big data, largely through our newest business unit – Data 61. We'll also use big data to find the next generation of resources, and will work with industry and universities to get more from ore. Precision agriculture is an area where we can get huge productivity gains and our health services are also ripe for this type of disruption so we will be accelerating our work in both these spaces.

We will grow our capability to prepare for and respond to the extreme weather events we are expecting in future. We will also increase our ability to understand the impacts of Blue Economy developments such as new fisheries and resource projects to minimise any adverse impacts and provide communities with trusted information about those projects.

And we're setting up an Innovation fund which can help accelerate the uptake of t much-needed technologies for example in energy generation and storage in a low emission economy.

There is a lot that we want to do, and with finite resources, we must pick and choose where to prioritise. We can't do everything. Along with the growth plans, we'll be exiting some areas, especially where we can see others in the innovation system are working, or there is limited take-up from partners.

We're here to be Australia's national innovation agency and I'm convinced we're on the cusp of a step change in the way we live and prosper, a change which has science at its centre. Bring on the next twelve months.

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