Future Science Platforms portfolio expands to include 10 fields

In its efforts to be at the forefront of scientific development, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is investing $35 million in two new programs: Space Technology and Artificial Intelligence. They will join eight other fields of study in CSIRO’s Future Science Platforms portfolio.  

“Our Future Science Platforms aim to turn Australia’s challenges into opportunities where new science can break through seemingly impossible roadblocks to give Australia an unfair advantages on the world stage,” CSIRO head Dr. Larry Marshall said. “Innovation needs deep collaboration, so our FSPs bring together this nation’s world-class expertise across all fields of science, technology, engineering and maths to deliver real solutions to real world problems.”

Space Technology will receive $16 million of the funding, with an initial focus on advanced technologies for Earth observation. The program will then work its way to concentrate on object tracking and resource utilisation in space with a goal of developing manufacturing and life support systems for lunar and Mars missions.

Back down on Earth, the other $19 million for Artificial Intelligence will go toward improving machine learning for a wide scope of projects: food security and quality, health and wellbeing, sustainable energy and resources, resilient and valuable environments, and Australian and regional security. Research areas will include prediction and understanding of complex data, enabling trustworthy inferences and risk-based decisions, and data systems for “ethical, robust, and scalable AI.”

The other fields in the Future Science Platforms portfolio are: Active Integrated Matter, Deep Earth Imaging, Digiscape, Environomics, Hydrogen Energy Systems, Precision Health, Probing Biosystems, and Synthetic Biology. By 2022, CSIRO will have invested $205 million in future sciences since the portfolio’s 2016 launch.

“CSIRO is here to solve Australia’s greatest challenges through innovative science and technology,” Marshall said, “and to do that we have to invest in the big thinking and breakthrough research that will keep us ahead of the curve.”