Article ID: CBB981396666

Realignment and change: CSIRO and industry 2000–10 (2023)


In the first decade of the twenty-first century, CSIRO’s role broadened toward national mission-oriented research, less directly focused on supporting Australian industry. In terms of its legislated mandate, it deliberately placed increased emphasis on ‘contributing to the achievement of national objectives’ and less emphasis on ‘assisting Australian industry’. This change was accompanied by an organisational restructuring with the introduction of a national flagships' research program and a matrix management structure. We analyse this process of change and the reasons behind it and we investigate the effects of the new approach on CSIRO’s relationship with industry, and its technology transfer activities. While there was continuity in its commercial performance, the pattern of CSIRO’s client-directed research changed substantially, with a reduction in manufacturing-related research, and a notable growth in health- and environment-related research, in the main part for government agencies and departments. By the end of the decade the organisation had established a clear role for itself in the national innovation system, in which its relationship with Australian industry was no longer the dominant feature. It was a disruptive decade for CSIRO, but one in which the organisation demonstrated its capacity to adapt to a changing external environment.

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Authors & Contributors
Orchiston, Wayne
Spurling, Thomas H.
Upstill, Garrett
Stephen R. Morton
Margaret H. Friedel
Bergersen, F. J.
Historical Records of Australian Science
Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage
Science as Culture
Social Studies of Science
University of Pittsburgh Press
Halstead Press
Springer Nature
Radio astronomy
Scientific communities; interprofessional relations
Government sponsored science
Land use
Gani, Joseph
Pearcey, Trevor
Slatyer, Ralph Owen
Fraser, Robert Donald Bruce
Anderson, Joan Mary
Time Periods
20th century, late
21st century
20th century
19th century
20th century, early
Sydney (Australia)
United States
Tasmania (Australia)
Papua New Guinea
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) (Australia)
Australian National University

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