Research highlights include the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy, development of the first polymer banknote, 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.
Recently, the CSIRO has been actively defending its patent for the use of wireless technologies which are a standard for many modern day laptops. A class action has been filed by US corporations Microsoft, Apple and Dell to renege on paying royalties on the wireless patent filed by the CSIRO in 1996.
In October 2005 the journal Nature announced that 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 UTD (University of Dallas, Texas) announced they were able to make transparent carbon nanotube sheets that will bring carbon nanotube products to the masses.
Employing over 6600 staff, the CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and biological control research stations in France and Mexico. The primary roles of the 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 the CSIRO is divided into 16 operational 'Divisions'. These are:
In 2007, the divisions of Industrial Physics and Manufacturing and Materials Technology merged to form a new division, Materials Science and Engineering.
In addition, CSIRO is a participant in a number of joint ventures, including:
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. As of Jan 2008, the CSIRO supported the following 9 "Flagships:
In April 2007, funding for a new Flagship was announced by the Federal government. It will be investigating the effects of Climate Change.
CSIRO's Air Quality Modelling and Dispersion Team is a part of the Marine and Atmospheric Research division.
Some of the widely used air quality dispersion models developed by CSIRO are:
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 the 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.
Notable inventions and breakthroughs by the CSIRO include:
The CSIRO today has expanded into a wider range of scientific inquiry. This expansion began with the establishment of the CSIRO in 1949 which, as well as a name change, reconstituted the organisation and its administrative structure. Under Ian Clunies Ross as chairman, the CSIRO pursued new areas such as radioastronomy and industrial chemistry.
|Chief Executive||Period in office|
|Albert Rivett||1 January 1927–31 December 1945|
|Arnold Richardson||1 January 1946–18 April 1949|
|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–present|
On September 19, 2008, the Federal Circuit ruled in Buffalo’s favor and has remanded this case to the district court ruling that the district court’s Summary Judgment was insufficient on the merits of obviousness of CSIRO’s patent. Therefore, this case will be tried again before the district court. In this connection Buffalo is hopeful that it will shortly be permitted to, once again, sell IEEE 802.11a and 802.11g compliant products in the United States.