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Australia’s approach to COVID-19 set us on the path to where we are now – we gave science a voice. Using that voice, in collaboration with our partners, what we achieved together over the last 12 months is astounding.

Reflecting on one of the most trying periods in our nation’s history, CSIRO purpose, to solve the greatest challenges with science and technology, has never been in sharper focus.

Our science directly contributed to the acceleration of the global fight against COVID-19 and the achievement of something incredible: in less than a year, science delivered the development and manufacture of the first human vaccines against a coronavirus. 

As vaccines started rolling-out across the country, our people were working on how we rebuild our economy with new and transformed industries, how we mitigate and adapt to threats like drought, fire, flood and climate change, and how we build resilience to future shocks from infectious diseases. 

Our people collaborated widely with Australian universities, government, industry and business on a program of missions to secure Australia’s future wealth, sustainability and prosperity.

We are investing in the future science and technology that will give Australian businesses a competitive advantage as we move into a post-COVID era that will be more digitised. A focus on lowering emissions and improving our preparedness for future shocks will also increase our sustainability and resilience. 

We achieved some incredible things over the last year, but we did not do it alone. Our partners worked tirelessly, our government elevated the voice of science to lead Australia through this crisis and 25 million Australians supported the scientists who support you. 

We are proud of what our people delivered for Australia in these challenging times. We were there when Australia needed us, and we are here helping our nation to prepare for future challenges. We will continue to deliver solutions from science and steer Australia to a more prosperous and resilient future. 

2020–21 at a glance

  • We committed to invest more than $100 million over 4 years to deliver collaborative missions that will drive recovery and resilience.
  • In May, we launched our first mission aimed at catalysing a new clean hydrogen export industry worth $11 billion per year in Gross Domestic Product and 8,000 jobs. The mission attracted $68 million of co-investment from partners. 
  • Main Sequence, the deep technology fund founded by CSIRO, raised a second CSIRO Innovation Fund of $265 million to invest in deep-tech start-ups and create new companies from science.
  • We created a new Indigenous Science Program.
  • Our new Sustainability Strategy 2020–30 provides a framework to improve our environmental, economic and social impact performance, and it enables us to be an exemplar of sustainable culture, practice and operations.
  • We achieved Gold Employer status at the Australian LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) Inclusion Awards, and we made progress on our Science in Australia Gender Equity Action Plan. 
  • We had 5,221 people delivering impact across 58 sites. 
  • 160,000 students took part in STEM education programs.
  • We reduced our carbon emissions by more than 60 per cent. 
  • We introduced 2 new Future Science Platforms: Quantum Technologies and Microbiomes. 
  • We worked with 492 international customers across 70 countries.
  • We engaged with over 3,900 industry and government entities and attracted 944 new customers.  


CSIRO Annual Report 2020-21 PDF (13 MB)

CSIRO Annual Report 2020-2021 TXT (648 KB)

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