There is no change to appropriation funding for CSIRO, following the Government’s additional funding commitment in October’s budget of $459 million over four years, to address any reduction to CSIRO’s external revenue resulting from the impact of COVID-19.
There are, however, a number of new initiatives that CSIRO will be central to:
- A Digital Economy Strategy investment of $1.2 billion covering a range of measures including:
- An investment of $53.8 million over four years to create the National Artificial Intelligence Centre that will drive business adoption of AI technologies by coordinating Australia’s AI expertise and capabilities. CSIRO will be managing the Centre.
- $24.7 million over six years in the skills of the future by establishing the Next Generation AI Graduates Program to attract and train home-grown, job-ready AI specialists. CSIRO will run the scholarships program.
- An additional investment of $22.6 million over six years for a Next Generation Emerging Technology Graduates Program that will provide more than 200 competitive national scholarships in emerging technologies. This will also be run by CSIRO.
- $387 million in new funding over 10 years for the construction and operations of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope at CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO).
- An investment of $850.4 million over five years for the Agriculture 2030 package of measures to support the farm sector’s ambition of a $100 billion industry by 2030, support Australia’s soils and biodiversity stewardship, and maximise the benefits of Australia’s fisheries and forestry resources. CSIRO expects to work closely with the Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment (DAWE) to help shape initiatives under this package. Specific measures include:
- A new $371 million biosecurity package to strengthen Australia’s ability to keep out exotic pests and diseases and improve our ability to fight an outbreak.
- $147.9 million to support the National Soils Strategy.
- Funding to support other measures related to food waste; encouraging stewardship and biodiversity on agricultural land.
- Support for trade and production in agricultural markets; growth of forestry and fisheries industries and improving employment opportunities in the agriculture industry.
- An investment of $4.7 million to increase the uptake of innovative agricultural practices and digital technologies.
- Funding under the Technology Investment Roadmap of $1.6 billion over 10 years from 2021-22 to incentivise private investment in technologies identified in the Government's Technology Investment Roadmap and Low Emissions Technology Statements, grow new export industries, create jobs and reduce emissions.
- $209 million for a new Australian Climate Service that will support better and faster decision making to ensure communities, infrastructure, and businesses are safe, secure and resilient in the face of natural hazards. The new Service – which brings together world-leading expertise from the Bureau of Meteorology, Geoscience Australia, CSIRO, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics – will support communities and business to better anticipate, manage and adapt to the risks that a changing climate will bring. This is part of a larger $1.2 billion investment over five years to improve Australia's capability to better prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters.
Through these initiatives, CSIRO will continue to work with industry, government, and the research community to use innovative science and technology to address Australia’s greatest challenges.