Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
|Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation|
|Jurisdiction||Commonwealth of Australia|
|Headquarters||Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia|
|Minister responsible||Chris Evans, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs, Science and Research|
|Agency executive||Megan Clark|
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is the national government body for scientific research in Australia. It was founded in 1926 originally as the Advisory Council of Science and Industry.
Research highlights include the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy, development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote, the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus which causes rabbit haemorrhagic disease for the control of rabbit populations. CSIRO's research into ICT technologies has resulted in advances such as the Panoptic search engine (now known as Funnelback) and Annodex.
In October 2005, the journal Nature announced CSIRO scientists had developed near-perfect rubber from resilin, the elastic protein which gives fleas their jumping ability and helps insects fly. On 19 August 2005, CSIRO and the University of Texas at Dallas announced they were able to make transparent carbon nanotube sheets that will bring carbon nanotube products to the masses.
Research groups and initiatives 
Employing over 6,600 staff, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and biological control research stations in France and Mexico. The primary roles of CSIRO include contributing to meeting the objectives and responsibilities of the Australian Federal Government and providing new ways to benefit the Australian community and the economic and social performance of a number of industry sectors through research and development.
Research undertaken by CSIRO is divided into operational 'Divisions'. As at September 2010, these divisions are:
- Astronomy and Space Science (including the Australia Telescope National Facility)
- Earth Science and Resource Engineering
- Energy Technology
- Food and Nutritional Sciences
- ICT Centre
- Land and Water
- Livestock Industries
- Marine and Atmospheric Research
- Materials Science and Engineering (including former Molecular and Health Technologies)
- Mathematics, Informatics and Statistics
- Process Science and Engineering
- Plant Industry
- Ecosystems Sciences (including Entomology)
In 2007, the divisions of Industrial Physics and Manufacturing and Materials Technology merged to form a new division, Materials Science and Engineering. On 1 July 2010, the Materials Science and Engineering division then merged with Molecular and Health Technologies to form a new division, also called Materials Science and Engineering, led by Dr Calum Drummond.
In addition, CSIRO is a participant in a number of joint ventures, including:
- Ensis — forestry and forest products, with New Zealand's Forestry research organisation named Scion
- Food Science Australia — with the Victorian Government (known as "CSIRO Division of Food and Nutritional Sciences" as of 1 July 2009)
- The Australian e-Health Research Centre — with the Queensland Government
- CSIRO Chile Centre of Excellence
- Australian Synchrotron
- Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) - with NASA and JPL
"Flagship" initiative 
The CSIRO "Flagship" initiative was designed to integrate, focus and direct national scientific resources. In May 2005, the government announced the launch of CSIRO's $97 million Flagship Collaboration Fund, which is intended to encourage cooperative research between universities, CSIRO and other research agencies.
- Climate adaptation
- Energy transformed
- Food futures
- Light metals. [closed 2010]
- Minerals down under
- Future manufacturing
- Preventative health
- Water for a healthy country
- Wealth from oceans
- Sustainable agriculture
In April 2007, funding for a new flagship was announced by the federal government. It will be investigating the effects of climate change.
Air quality modelling and dispersion team 
CSIRO's Air Quality Modelling and Dispersion Team is a part of the Marine and Atmospheric Research division.
The "Australian Air Quality Forecasting System" is provided jointly by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO. The Bureau of Meteorology generates the high resolution weather forecasts and CSIRO has created computer models to calculate pollution levels.
A precursor to CSIRO, the Advisory Council of Science and Industry, was established in 1916 at the initiative of Prime Minister Billy Hughes. However, the Advisory Council struggled with insufficient funding during the First World War. In 1920 the Council was renamed the "Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry", and was led by George Handley Knibbs (1921–26), but continued to struggle financially.
In 1926 The Science and Industry Research Act replaced the Institute with the 'Council for Scientific and Industrial Research' (CSIR). The CSIR was structured to represent the federal structure of Australian government, and had state-level committees and a central council. As well as this improved structure, the CSIR benefited from strong bureaucratic management under George Julius, David Rivett, and Arnold Richardson. CSIR research focussed on primary and secondary industries. Early in its existence, it established divisions studying animal health and animal nutrition. After the depression, the CSIR extended into secondary industries such as manufacturing.
CSIRO today has expanded into a wider range of scientific inquiry. This expansion began with the establishment of the CSIR to the CSIRO by the Ben Chifley Labor government in 1949 which enlarged and reconstituted the organisation and its administrative structure. Under Ian Clunies Ross as chairman, CSIRO pursued new areas such as radioastronomy and industrial chemistry.
Notable inventions and breakthroughs by CSIRO include:
- A4 DSP chip
- Aerogard, insect repellent
- Atomic absorption spectroscopy
- Biological control of Salvinia
- Development of Linola (a flax variety with low alpha-linolenic acid content) with a longer life used as a stockfeed
- Distance measuring equipment (DME) used for aviation navigation
- Gene shears
- Microwave landing system, a microwave approach and landing system for aircraft
- Use of myxomatosis and calicivirus to control rabbit numbers
- Parkes Radio Telescope
- The permanent pleat for fabrics
- Polymer banknote
- Relenza flu drug
- Sirosmelt lance
- 'Softly' woolens detergent
- X-ray phase contrast imaging
- Wi-Fi wireless local area network
Historic research 
CSIRO had a pioneering role in the scientific discovery of the universe through radio "eyes". A team led by Dr J. Paul Wild built and operated (from 1948) the world’s first solar radiospectrograph, and from 1967 the 3 km diameter radioheliograph at Culgoora in New South Wales. For three decades, the Division of Radiophysics had a world-leading role in solar research, attracting prominent solar physicists from around the world.
CSIRO owned the first computer in Australia, CSIRAC, built as part of a project began in the Sydney Radiophysics Laboratory in 1947. The CSIR Mk 1 ran its first program in 1949, the fifth electronic computer in the world. It was over 1000 times faster than the mechanical calculators available at the time. It was decommissioned in 1955 and recommissioned in Melbourne as CSIRAC in 1956 as a general purpose computing machine used by over 700 projects until 1964. The CSIRAC is the only surviving first-generation computer in the world.
Between 1965 and 1985, George Bornemissza of CSIRO's Division of Entomology founded and led the Australian Dung Beetle Project. Bornemissza, upon settling in Australia from Hungary in 1951, noticed that the pastureland was covered in dry cattle dung pads which did not seem to be recycled into the soil and caused areas of rank pasture which were unpalatable to the cattle. He proposed that the reason for this was that native Australian dung beetles, which had co-evolved alongside the marsupials (which produce dung very different in its composition from cattle), were not adapted to utilise cattle dung for their nutrition and breeding since cattle had only relatively recently been introduced to the continent in the 1880s. The Australian Dung Beetle Project sought, therefore, to introduce species of dung beetle from South Africa and Europe (which had co-evolved alongside bovids) in order to improve the fertility and quality of cattle pastures. Twenty-three species were successfully introduced throughout the duration of the project and also had the effect of reducing the pestilent bush fly population by 90%..
Domain name 
CSIRO was the first Australian organisation to start using the internet and was able to register the second-level domain csiro.au (as opposed to csiro.org.au or csiro.com.au). Guidelines were introduced in 1996 to regulate the use of the .au domain.
Chief Executives 
|Chief Executive||Period in office|
|David Rivett||1 January 1927 – 31 December 1945|
|Frederick White||19 April 1949 – 13 December 1956|
|Stewart Bastow||1 January 1957 – 30 June 1959|
|No designated chief executive||1 July 1959 – 4 December 1986|
|Keith Boardman (acting)||5 December 1986 – 4 March 1987|
|Keith Boardman||5 March 1987 – 4 March 1990|
|John Stocker||5 March 1990 – 4 March 1995|
|Roy Green (acting)||5 March 1995 – 20 July 1995|
|Roy Green||21 July 1995 – 2 January 1996|
|Roy Green (acting)||3 January 1996 – 4 February 1996|
|Malcolm McIntosh||5 February 1996 – 7 February 2000|
|Colin Adam (acting)||7 February 2000 – 14 January 2001|
|Geoff Garrett||15 January 2001 – 31 December 2008|
|Megan Clark||January 2009|
Recent controversies 
Diet book 
In 2005 the organisation also gained worldwide attention (and criticism) for publishing and promoting the Total Wellbeing Diet book which features a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. The book has sold over half a million copies in Australia and over 100,000 overseas but was criticised in an editorial by Nature for giving scientific credence to a "fashionable" diet book sponsored by meat and dairy industries.
802.11 patent 
In the early 1990s, CSIRO radio astronomy scientists John O'Sullivan, Graham Daniels, Terence Percival, Diethelm Ostry and John Deane undertook research directed to finding a way to make wireless networks work as fast as wired networks within confined spaces such as office buildings. The technique they developed, involving a particular combination of forward error correction, frequency-domain interleaving, and Multi Carrier Modulation, became the subject of U.S. Patent 5,487,069, which was granted on 23 January 1996.
In 1997 Macquarie University Professor David Skellern and his colleague Neil Weste established the company Radiata, Inc., which took a nonexclusive licence to the CSIRO patent for the purpose of developing commercially viable integrated circuit devices implementing the patented technology.
During this period, the IEEE 802.11 Working Group was developing the 802.11a wireless LAN standard. CSIRO did not participate directly in the standards process, however David Skellern was an active participant as secretary of the Working Group, and representative of Radiata. In 1998 it became apparent that the CSIRO patent would be pertinent to the standard. In response to a request from Victor Hayes of Lucent Technologies, who was Chair of the 802.11 Working Group, CSIRO confirmed its commitment to make non-exclusive licenses available to implementers of the standard on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.
In 1999, Cisco Systems, Inc. and Broadcom Corporation each invested A$4 million in Radiata, representing an 11% stake for each investor and valuing the company at around A$36 million. In September 2000, Radiata demonstrated a chip set complying with the recently-finalised IEEE 802.11a Wi-Fi standard, and capable of handling transmission rates of up to 54 Mbit/s, at a major international exhibition.
In November 2000, Cisco acquired Radiata in exchange for US$295 million in Cisco common stock with the intention of incorporating the Radiata Baseband Processor and Radio chips into its Aironet family of wireless LAN products. Cisco subsequently took a large write-down on the Radiata acquisition, following the 2001 telecoms crash, and in 2004 it shut down its internal development of wireless chipsets based on the Radiata technology in order to focus on software development and emerging new technologies.
Controversy over the CSIRO patent arose in 2006 after the organisation won an injunction against Buffalo Technology in an infringement suit filed in Federal Court in the Eastern District of Texas. The injunction was subsequently suspended on appeal, with the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit finding that the judge in Texas should have allowed a trial to proceed on Buffalo’s challenge to the validity of the CSIRO patent. In 2007, CSIRO declined to provide an assurance to the IEEE that it would not sue companies which refused to take a license for use in 802.11n-compliant devices, while at the same time continuing to defend legal challenges to the validity of the patent brought by Intel, Dell, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Netgear.
In April 2009, Hewlett-Packard broke ranks with the rest of the industry becoming the first to reach a settlement of its dispute with CSIRO. This agreement was followed quickly by settlements with Microsoft, Fujitsu and Asus and then Dell, Intel, Nintendo, Toshiba, Netgear, Buffalo, D-Link, Belkin, SMC, Accton, and 3Com.
The controversy grew after CSIRO sued US carriers AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile in 2010, with the organisation being accused of being “Australia’s biggest patent troll”, a wrathful “patent bully”, and of imposing a “WiFi tax” on American innovation.
Further fuel was added to the controversy after a settlement with the carriers, worth around $229 million, was announced in March 2012. Encouraged in part by a somewhat jingoistic announcement by the Australian Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans, an article in Ars Technica portrayed CSIRO as a shadowy organisation responsible for US consumers being compelled to make “a multimillion dollar donation” on the basis of a questionable patent claiming “decades old” technology. The resulting debate became so heated that the author was compelled to follow-up with a defence of the original article. An alternative view was also published on The Register, challenging a number of the assertions made in the Ars Technica piece.
Total income to CSIRO from the patent is currently estimated at nearly $430 million. On 14 June 2012, the CSIRO inventors received the European Patent Office (EPO) European Inventor Award (EIA), in the category of “Non-European Countries”.
Close relationship with Monsanto in GMO Wheat trial decision-making process 
The CSIRO have been accused of a close relationship with Monsanto that has led to the increase in genetically modified crops. The GM Wheat was proposed and approved while two directors of Nufarm – the exclusive distributor of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready products in Australia – were serving on the board of CSIRO.
CSIRO–Novartis–DataTrace scandal 
On 11 April 2013, the Sydney Morning Herald ran a story on how CSIRO had "duped" the Swiss-based pharmaceutical giant Novartis into purchasing an anti-counterfeit technology for its vials of injectible Voltarin. The invention was marketed by a small Australian company called DataTrace DNA as a method of identifying fake vials, on the basis that a unique tracer code developed by CSIRO was embedded in the product. However, the code sold to Novartis for more than A$2M was apparently not unique, and was based on a "cheap tracer ... bought in bulk from a Chinese distributor". Novartis was contractually bound not to reverse-engineer the tracer to verify its uniqueness. The Sydney Morning Herald report alleges that this was done with the knowledge of key CSIRO personnel.
See also 
- Australian Animal Health Laboratory
- Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme
- Australian Dung Beetle Project
- Australian Space Research Institute
- Australia Telescope National Facility
- George Bornemissza
- Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs)
- CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research
- CSIRO Publishing
- Peter Rathjen
- Backing Australia's Ability
- "Funnelback Home Page". Funnelback.com. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
- "CeNTIE Home Page". Ict.csiro.au. 4 July 2005. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
- Elvin CM, Carr AG, Huson MG, Maxwell JM, Pearson RD, Vuocolo T, Liyou NE, Wong DC, Merritt DJ, Dixon NE (13 October 2005). "Synthesis and properties of crosslinked recombinant pro-resilin". Nature 437 (7061): 999–1002. doi:10.1038/nature04085. PMID 16222249. Retrieved 2006-04-24.
- "CSIRO Divisions".[dead link]
- CSIRO FSA/CNFS web site
- "CSIRO Flagships website". Csiro.au. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
- "CSIRO to help adapt to climate change (media release)". Csiro.au. 18 April 2007. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
- Air Quality Modelling and Dispersion Team
- Beychok, M.R. (2005). Fundamentals of Stack Gas Dispersion (4th ed.). self-published. ISBN 0-9644588-0-2. www.air-dispersion.com
- TAPM documentation[dead link]
- LADM documentation[dead link]
- AUSPLUME brief summary[dead link] (scroll down beneath slide)
- AUSPUFF brief summary[dead link] (scroll down beneath slide)
- DISPMOD brief summary[dead link] (scroll down beneath slide)
- "Dr John Paul Wild". CSIRO. 16 May 2008. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
- Steven Pass, David Hornsby. "CSIRAC". Department of Computer Science and Engineering. University of Melbourne. Retrieved 2006-05-08.
- "Museum Victoria's CSIRAC information site". Retrieved 2008-04-26.
- Bornemissza G. F. (1976). "The Australian dung beetle project 1965–1975". Australian Meat Research Committee Review 30: 1–30.
- "AARNET – About Us – History". Australian Academic and Research Network. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- "Dr Megan Clark: Next Chief Executive of CSIRO". Csiro.au. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
- Total Wellbeing Diet[dead link]
- "The town taking the CSIRO challenge". A Current Affair. 6 December 2005. Archived from the original on 13 December 2005. Retrieved 2006-04-24.
- "A recipe for trouble". Ergogenics. 8 January 2006. Retrieved 2006-04-24.
- Matthews, Mark; Bob Frater (November 2003). "Creating and Exploiting Intangible Networks: How Radiata was able to improve its odds of success in the risky process of innovating" (PDF). Australian Government, Department of Education, Science and Training. pp. 8–9. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Skellern, David (5–9 July 1999). "Tentative Minutes of the IEEE P802.11 Full Working Group" (PDF). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Cooper, Dennis (4 December 1998). "Letter to Mr V Hayes, Chair, IEEE P802.11" (PDF). Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Matthews, Mark; Bob Frater (November 2003). "Creating and Exploiting Intangible Networks: How Radiata was able to improve its odds of success in the risky process of innovating" (PDF). Australian Government, Department of Education, Science and Training. p. 16. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- "Press Release: Cisco Systems to Acquire Radiata, Inc.". Cisco Systems, Inc. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Heskett, Ben (9 May 2001). "Cisco still confident after networking shock". ZDNet. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Reardon, Marguerite (30 January 2004). "Cisco retires wireless chipsets". CNET News. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Moses, Asher (15 November 2006). "CSIRO wins landmark legal battle". The Age. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Venkatesan, Arun (3 December 2008). "Buffalo Allowed to sell wireless products again (for now)". TechCrunch. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Winterford, Brett (2 October 2007). "No backdown from CSIRO over Wi-Fi patents". ZDNet. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Moses, Asher (1 April 2009). "CSIRO cashes in on patent claim". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Duckett, Chris (15 April 2009). "Microsoft, Fujitsu, Asus settle with CSIRO". ZDNet. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Stevens, Tim (21 May 2010). "CSIRO's patent fight targets more victims: AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile". Engadget. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Flynn, David (23 April 2009). "CSIRO could scoop billions from Wi-Fi patent". APC Magazine. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Popper, Ben (3 June 2010). "Australia's Biggest Patent Troll Goes After AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile". CBS News. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Stevens, Tim (21 May 2010). "CSIRO's patent fight targets more victims: AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile". Engadget. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Masnick, Mike (2 June 2010). "CSIRO Wants To Expand Its WiFi Tax: Sues Mobile Operators". TechDirt. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Chirgwin, Richard (1 April 2012). "Champagne at CSIRO after WiFi patent settlement". The Register. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Brodkin, Jon (3 April 2012). "WiFi patent case results in $229 million payment to Australian government". Ars Technica. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- "Media Release: Aussie scientists bring home millions in wifi windfall". Australian Government. 1 April 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Mullin, Joe (5 April 2012). "How the Aussie government "invented WiFi" and sued its way to $430 million". Ars Technica. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Mullin, Joe (6 April 2012). "Responses and clarifications on the CSIRO patent lawsuits". Ars Technica. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Chirgwin, Richard (10 April 2012). "CSIRO patent-trolls ALL OF AMERICA!". The Register. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- "CSIRO wins legal battle over wi-fi patent". ABC News. 1 April 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- "EPO's European Inventor Award 2012 goes to outstanding inventors from Germany, France, Denmark and Australia". European Patent Office. 14 June 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- "Greenpeace calls on CSIRO to come clean on commercial relationships," 15 July 2011.
- "How the CSIRO cheated a global drugs giant". The Sydney Morrning Herald. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
- Currie, George; Graham, John, The Origins of CSIRO: Science and the Commonwealth Government, 1901–1926, CSIRO, Melbourne, 1966
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation|
- CSIRO website
- Commonwealth of Australia. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). (1949–) National Library of Australia, Trove, People and Organisation record for CSIRO
- Commonwealth of Australia. Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). (1926–1949) National Library of Australia, Trove, People and Organisation record for CSIR
- Patent Suit
- CSIRO Publishing
- The Australian e-Health Research Centre