Friday, 24 Mar 2023

CSIRO aims to accelerate commercialism in new strategy as staff decry scientific diversion

CSIRO aims to accelerate commercialism in new strategy as staff decry scientific diversion


CSIRO aims to accelerate commercialism in new strategy as staff decry scientific diversion

Australia's leading science agency, the CSIRO, has unveiled a "significant" new working model to promote commercial deals, in a move towards reliance on external funding that one top scientist claims will be "crippling".

Guardian Australia understands the focus shift has been done without informing the science minister, Ed Husic.

In a presentation on 14 October, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) told more than 200 senior staff there was an opportunity to "make some significant fundamental changes", according to a document supplied to Guardian Australia.

Entitled "New proposed structures for Growth", the plan states that while "significant progress" had been made in the past five years, there was "a growing need to operate seamlessly as "one-CSIRO in our research, customer and partner relationships".

It also highlighted "accelerate commercialisation" as the top objective in CSIRO's 2022-23 strategy. Among seven strategic priorities, for instance, "science-driven university partnerships" would shift to "impact-driven university partnerships".

"I nearly fell off my seat," said one senior staff member, who added the changes would amp up demands to find so-called "mission-scale market interventions".

The scientist, who requested anonymity, said the growth structure put "on steroids" the existing dependence on commercial tie-ups, adding "a lot of people don't like the way it's headed".

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