What's the 'next big tech' to change our lives? We're investing in six blue-sky research projects that will change Australia's innovation future. Introducing our Future Science Platforms.

factory_silhouettted-peopleFor most of us it’s hard to imagine a life without smartphones and WiFi. But, as recently as the 90s we were too busy listening to Nirvana and watching 90210 to grasp how  ubiquitous this technology would become.

This begs the question – what’s next? How can we possibly envisage and prepare for the next big technology that will reshape our lives?

There’s probably only one thing we know for sure – science will be at the forefront of any next life-changing innovation.

And this is where our Future Science Platforms (FSPs) come in. We’ve picked six areas of research that we think will lead to breakthrough innovation in our future – possibly years and years into our future. They’re the equivalent of our big ticket ‘frontier’ research areas.

These include networks to help our farmers feed billions more people and technology that monitors our health in real-time.

Synthetic Biology

This project involves the design, fabrication, and construction of new biological parts, devices, systems, and machines, as well as the re-design of existing, natural biological systems for useful purposes. Synthetic biology enables revolutionary advances in cellular factories, designer organisms and biological devices. Think using yeast cells as biofactories to produce sustainable biofuels and vaccines

Deep Earth Imaging

In the future, Australia’s mineral, energy and water resources will come from far greater depths in the Earth. 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. So, “we’re going deep” and working on technologies that look further inside the Earth for the minerals we need to make the things we depend on like cars, computers, batteries, toothpaste… the list goes on.futurescienceplatforms_webbanner_blog


We’re creating the next generation of decision support tools to transform our agricultural industries and environmental planning, policy and implementation. These networks will help farmers feed billions more people using sensor data and smart analytics to match crops to future soil and weather conditions.


We can help conserve our biodiversity and ecosystems by reinventing the ways we measure and monitor ecosystem health, predict biodiversity responses to environmental change, manage biological resources and detect biosecurity threats.

Active Integrated Matter

We’re bringing together big data, advanced autonomous systems and materials science to create smarter machines that can custom manufacture almost anything, just as it’s needed.  This ground-breaking advances in a new technology platform that combines materials, robotics, processing and sensing technologies and autonomous science. Rise of the machines!

Probing Biosystems

A revolution in healthcare and agriculture through devices and systems to obtain real-time information from living organisms about their health and well-being. This will give us the ability to provide health and medical interventions that are timely, customised and highly specific. Imagine a world where we could detect cancers before they recur.

Our FSPs represent an investment in science that underpins innovation and has the potential to help reinvent and create new industries for Australia.

They will help us to foster a new generation of researchers and allow Australia to attract the best students and experts to work with us on future science. FSPs will be critical in turning Australia’s challenges into opportunities to invent a better future for us all.

We’ll be posting more information about our FSPs in the coming months as our projects come to life.

Find out more about each project on our website.


  1. I’m a bit sceptical about predictions of “big breakthrough innovation areas” as a basis for investment. Warren Buffett said: predictions of the future tell you much about those doing the predicting, but nothing about the future. If history is a guide, the areas of science and innovations that have biggest impacts will evolve from specific discoveries and technology developments not well predicted, and in directions and markets not well predicted. Maybe better to allow the big areas of science investment and development evolve quickly step-by-step into unforeseen directions, through nimble R&D management, highly responsive to R&D progress and market opportunities?

  2. I’m sorry to not see anything to help us exist in a changed climate.

    1. Sue, reread Digiscape and Environomics, I think you’ll find they cover that. Synthetic biology and Probing Biosystems will also play a significant role.

  3. Wow! Exciting, relevant and all extremely necessary.

  4. Excellent areas for innovation. Very excited to see CSIRO’s progress.

  5. Interesting

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