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The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is responsible for the administration of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth) (ITAA36).

CSIRO is an approving authority pursuant to s 73A(6) of the ITAA36. Under that provision, CSIRO assesses whether entities (specifically institutions, associations or organisations) applying for ARI status are undertaking scientific research which is, or may prove to be, of value to Australia.

Under this provision, scientific research means any activities in the fields of natural or applied science for the extension of knowledge.

The ATO Guidelines for Approved Research Institutes (the Guidelines) have been adopted by CSIRO for the purpose of assessing whether an entity is undertaking scientific research which is, or may prove to be, of value to Australia. The Guidelines provide that to gain ARI approval an entity must (among other things) have a suitably qualified research committee that evaluates the merits of proposed research programs and determines how any research funds held are applied to research purposes.

Initial request to become an Approved Research Institute

Applications for ARI status must be submitted directly to the ATO:

Australian Taxation Office
PO BOX 3373
Penrith NSW 2740

The full requirements that the entity must satisfy to be approved as an ARI are set out in the Guidelines, which can be found on the ATO website.

The ATO will undertake a preliminary assessment of applications. Applications will then be forwarded to CSIRO for substantive assessment if the applicant’s field of research focus is aligned with CSIRO’s expertise.

Applications in the fields of medicine or social sciences and humanities will usually be assessed by the other approving authorities under s 73A(6) of the ITAA36, being the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment’s Research and Higher Education Infrastructure Branch (depending on the research area).

Once the application has been assessed and finalised, the ATO will notify the applicant of the outcome.

Please note:

All initial applications are required to be submitted to the ATO. Applications submitted directly to CSIRO will not be assessed.

Variation to research committee membership

Membership of a research committee, including variation to its composition, is subject to the prior approval of the approving authority.

All requests to vary the membership of the research committee of an ARI must be progressed directly to CSIRO for approval if it was the original approving authority.

Research committees must consist of at least five people, the majority of whom:

  • are appropriately qualified in the field of research to be undertaken, or
  • have appropriate experience in reviewing research.

Individuals should be nominated based on their proven ability to direct a research program. Accordingly, requests to vary an ARI’s research committee membership must be accompanied by the following supporting documentation:

  • a curriculum vitae for each incoming member, containing their relevant academic qualifications and professional appointments, as evidence of their ability to direct research programs.
  • a signed statement from each incoming member agreeing to serve on the research committee.
  • signed consent from each member of the research committee including the names of all members of the research committee.

To vary your research committee, please provide the required documentation as listed above to

CSIRO will contact the ARI directly to advise of the outcome of the variation request, or to seek additional information.

Review of CSIRO-approved ARIs

CSIRO may, at any point, conduct a review and assess an ARI’s ongoing eligibility.

Under s 73A(7) of the ITAA36, CSIRO may withdraw the approval of an ARI at any time if it is no longer satisfied that the ARI is undertaking scientific research which is, or may prove to be, of value to Australia.

In making this determination, CSIRO will consider whether the entity is still meeting the eligibility criteria set out in the Guidelines, as well as any other information it considers relevant.

Where CSIRO has formed a preliminary view that an entity may no longer be eligible for ARI status, CSIRO will notify the entity in writing and provide its reasons for this view.

CSIRO will ensure that the entity is afforded procedural fairness, including a reasonable opportunity for the entity to respond, before it makes a final decision to withdraw an entity’s ARI status.

Use of CSIRO's name and logo

CSIRO’s approval of an ARI is not an authorisation for the ARI to use CSIRO’s name, logo or branding in any public communications or statements including in online materials or on social media platforms.

For any ARI related queries, please contact

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