Australia’s National Science Agency Invest $50 million over five years to develop technology to address important national challenges.
The four new research programs fall under CSIRO’s Future Science Platforms (FSPs), currently worth $200 million. FSPs will focus on breakthrough energy storage systems, permanent carbon locking, immune resilience, and advanced engineered biology.
CSIRO’s chief scientist, Professor Bronwyn Fox, said bringing industry and science together offers a great opportunity for innovation.
“CSIRO’s science platforms of the future are a big part of our strategy to stay at the forefront of discovery. They are an essential part of how we do science – they are our investment in cutting-edge, transformative research where we push the boundaries of science and lean towards the impossible,” said Professor Fox.
“The fundamental research that these four new science platforms of the future will undertake will pave the way for innovations and catalyze new industries that will help us better manage our health, food security, natural resources and environment in the decades to come.
FSP Director of Breakthrough Energy Storage Systems, Dr Adam Best, said research was needed to make charging electric vehicles as simple as filling gas tanks or keeping devices charged for several days. He also added that “on a larger scale, it could even mimic pumped hydropower through new technology and make it more responsive to grid needs.”
According to the director of the Permanent Carbon Locking FSP, Dr. Andrew Lenton, this project will focus on new solutions to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it permanently. Dr Lenton said the technology has the potential to support new industries and reshape existing ones.
Due to the focus on immune technologies in recent years, Immune Resilience FSP Acting Director Dr Tim Doran said there are a number of biotechnology opportunities if Australian research builds on this dynamic. He said research should focus on improving immune resilience in humans and animals.
Regarding FSP Advanced Engineering Biology, Acting Director Dr. Colin Scott said that new tools for biological design and prototyping would be a boon for generating new goods and services.
“This research will help create the 50,000 jobs and $30 billion a year that have been identified in CSIRO’s synthetic biology roadmap,” said Dr Scott.
“This is a really exciting time for the bioeconomy in Australia. We are seeing significant growth in start-ups and the broader innovation ecosystem. Increased investment in this area of research will help make from Australia a world leader in engineering biology.
The CSIRO FSP initiative was launched in 2016 to address Australian national challenges and now supports 20 unique research programs.
Earlier this year, CSIRO researchers published a paper on innovative vaccine storage and transport that extends their shelf life without the need for refrigeration.
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