What will the National Innovation and Science Agenda mean for Australia? Our Chief Executive, Dr Larry Marshall, discusses putting science, research and technology at the centre of Australian productivity.

CSIRO's contribution to Australian innovation

When it comes to inventions, Australia’s track record is great, for example: Australia is responsible for WiFi, ultrasound for medical imaging and the Cochlear implant.  But did you know that we also have the lowest level of research collaboration in the OECD? So here before us, lies a challenge.  All of us in research and industry need to push the boundaries of knowledge into new places like never before.  Innovation is the key to unleashing Australia’s potential.

Today the Government announced its National Innovation and Science Agenda to support Australia’s future- a future that we, at CSIRO, will help create.  Find out from our Chief Executive, Larry Marshall why innovation is so pivotal.

In your view, what is the innovation package all about?

The National Innovation and Science Agenda is about putting science, research and technology at the centre of Australian productivity.  Australia is great at invention, but we need also to be great at turning that inventiveness into value, creating jobs, new markets and export opportunities, in other words into innovation. 

What is the Innovation fund for?

We will create a $200m Innovation Fund aimed at bringing some of the best science and research outcomes to market.  CSIRO will operate this fund on behalf of the nation investing in Australia’s strategic priority areas as defined by our megatrends work, the Australian National Outlook and our forthcoming market roadmaps and consistent with the Growth Centres and national science priorities.  With the right strategic interventions, technology can pave the way to a brighter future for our nation. 

How important is collaboration to the success of innovation in Australia?

I say this all the time, but I truly believe that innovation is a team sport. We are only successful when we work with Government, industry and other research organisations to deliver positive impact for Australia. The government is supporting our innovation catalyst strategy by $5m a year for the expansion of our accelerator program to other institutions. This will be a bridge between CSIRO and the participating universities, and an opportunity to build deep collaboration between researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, start-ups and established companies

Larry Marshall on beach

Dr Larry Marshall.

How did Data61 get funded?

We received $25m per year of increased funding dedicated to data science efforts through Data61 – it’s a powerful message from our government to reward taking risk to innovate. Data61 has a mission of unleashing the potential in Australian industry, specifically focusing on cybersecurity, data analytics, a data research network to link business with data researchers, and improving the data literacy of Australian business. CSIRO took on substantial commitment in supporting NICTA, but we must dare to be different to innovate. 

What do you expect to see as a result of this package?

I am confident that these opportunities will help improve translation of publically funded research into commercial outcomes, increase digital capability and stimulate innovation in Australia.

Work with us to help unleash Australia’s innovation potential. We partner with small and large companies, government and industry in Australia and around the world.


  1. We’re now living in a world of technology, people can think of some imaginations, like they can make it possible.

  2. Trouble is every other industrialised nation is doing the same thing.

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