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Chief Executive's report

image of CSIRO Chief Executive Larry MarshallChief Executive of CSIRO, Dr Larry Marshall

For more than 100 years, CSIRO has been solving the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology. Every day, our people get out of bed fuelled by a passion for unlocking a better future for our community, our economy and our planet. As you will see they continue to do an outstanding job of delivering on our purpose.

In this annual report, you’ll see some of our world‑class science translated into high-impact solutions aligned with the six national challenges we’ve identified. These challenges leverage the strengths of our strong networks of partners from government, industry, business, academia and the community around common goals to create unique advantages for Australia. They are designed to connect our purpose with the issues that matter most to Australians: food, health, environment, sustainable energy and resources, future industries, and a secure Australia and region.

I’m proud and honoured to look back on all team CSIRO has achieved this year. From extracting ultra‑high purity hydrogen from ammonia and powering fuel cell vehicles, to collecting data about the Great Barrier Reef to protect this treasured Australian landmark, to launching the Future of Health report so we can keep Australia’s health system efficient, equitable and affordable. These are projects that are critical to ensuring Australia’s future sustainability, prosperity, and security.

Following our success in digital agriculture, this year we’ve continued our digital transformation across the full depth and breadth of CSIRO’s deep domain expertise, from manufacturing to health and others, to accelerate the pace and scale of our impact. This annual report captures some early examples of the power of combining digital tech with domain expertise, like combatting the impact of drought with the National Drought Map and developing the world’s most advanced sensor system for large‑scale ore sorting to rapidly determine ore quality. The report also shows progress on the capability programs that are enabling this transformation, including our Digital Academy and our Managed Data Ecosystem.

Importantly, CSIRO doesn’t solve any of these challenges alone. We collaborate with every Australian university, government department, across Australia’s major industries with businesses of all sizes, and internationally. This year we worked with more than 3,300 customers, including 377 Australian corporations, 375 international corporates, and over 950 small to medium enterprises. Some of our most significant collaborations this year included expanding our 30-year partnership with Boeing into space science, and signing a $20 million partnership with Fortescue to develop hydrogen technologies, both investments in industries of the future.

Australia’s future depends on a strong community of STEM professionals and advocates. To inspire the next generation, we delivered programs to more than 190,000 primary and secondary school students, promoting STEM capability, development and education in the classroom. We also lifted our profile by participating in the world‑famous Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade and promoting our stories through the media to a combined audience of more than 22 million people this year. In a world where trust is still under pressure, CSIRO is one of Australia’s most trusted brands, alongside the Australian Red Cross and the Bureau of Meteorology.

Everything we do is driven by our extraordinary and committed 5,500 people around the country. To see our people flourish, we’re committed to inclusion and diversity. In line with our Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Action Plan, we implemented a ‘50/50 If not, why not?’ pledge to call out gender imbalances in teams, committees and around decision-making tables, among other initiatives. We also introduced the Thrive Wellbeing program, and in this year’s staff survey, we recorded an all-time high of 92 per cent of our people fully supporting what CSIRO stands for – a testament to our shared commitment.

Solving the greatest challenges has never been more important, and this annual report showcases an adaptive and responsive organisation that will continue to deliver on its purpose and unlock a better future for all Australians.

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Dr Larry Marshall
Chief Executive, CSIRO