Australia has a diverse range of world-recognised government research organisations. These organisations conduct long-term, mission-led research in critical areas for Australia and the world. They have enduring international relationships and support research globally, including through their role as hosts for large scale research infrastructure facilities and scientific collections.
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world. CSIRO is involved in over 800 international activities and is ranked in the top 1% of world scientific institutions in 13 of 22 research fields. CSIRO works with leading organisations around the world, and is recognised internationally for its quality research.
CSIRO hosts a number of Australia’s national research facilities and scientific infrastructure, available to both international and Australian users from industry and research. Facilities include:
- Australia’s Marine National Facility – a blue-water ocean research facility which enables world-class research in Australia’s vast marine estate. Its marine research vessel, the RV Investigator, is state-of-the-art, and supports atmospheric, oceanographic, biological and geosciences research from the tropical north to the Antarctic ice-edge.
- Australian Animal Health Laboratory – one of only six high-containment animal research centres in the world, designed to allow scientific research into the most dangerous infectious agents.
- Australia Telescope National Facility – one of the world's most advanced radio astronomy facilities, and the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
- Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex – part of NASA's Deep Space Network – an international network of antennas that supports interplanetary spacecraft missions and radio and radar astronomy observations for the exploration of the Solar System and the universe.
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) is Australia’s national nuclear research and development organisation and is the focus of nuclear expertise in Australia. ANSTO has agreements with international partners with the view to stimulating joint activities for the advancement of science and engineering and, subsequently, innovation.
ANSTO manages a number of unique research facilities, including:
- Open Pool Australian Lightwater (OPAL) reactor – one of the world’s most effective multi-purpose research reactors. The OPAL reactor produces radioactive products for use in medicine and industry and its neutron beams are used for scientific research, allowing scientists to see the internal structure of many materials.
- Australian Synchrotron – a world-class research facility that produces light many times brighter than the sun to see the invisible structure and composition of materials from the macroscopic to the atomic – with a level of detail, speed and accuracy not possible in conventional laboratories, for diverse scientific and industrial applications.
- Australian Centre for Accelerator Science – includes four operating accelerators used to analyse materials to determine their elemental composition and age, fundamental to advancing knowledge in areas such as climate science.
Australian Institute of Marine Science
The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) is a leader in tropical marine science and, through strong collaborative links nationally and internationally, coordinates and delivers large-scale, long-term world-class marine research. AIMS has working relationships with more than 90 organisations across all Australian states and territories, and in 20 countries around the globe.
The AIMS National Sea Simulator (SeaSim) is a world-class marine research aquarium facility for tropical marine organisms in which scientists can conduct cutting-edge research. Using SeaSim, Australian and international scientists can research the impact of complex environmental changes with large, long-term, experiments in which they can manipulate key environmental factors.
The AIMS research fleet provides access to all of Australia’s tropical marine environments. Two large purpose-built ships, the RV Cape Ferguson and the RV Solander, and a number of smaller vessels, take researchers to the diverse habitats that make up Australia’s tropical marine environment.
Geoscience Australia (GA) is Australia’s national geoscience research and geospatial information agency. GA’s work supports a diverse range of topics, including resource development, natural hazards such as tsunami and earthquakes, environmental issues, including the impacts of climate change, groundwater research, marine and coastal research, carbon capture and storage, and vegetation monitoring.
Australia's position on the globe places it in an ideal spot to assist in acquiring satellite data for northern hemisphere satellite operators to obtain comprehensive earth observation coverage. GA plays an important role in global earth observation operations through international collaboration.
Bureau of Meteorology
The Bureau of Meteorology has an ongoing commitment to world-class research that supports and advances the quality, breadth, timeliness and utility of its products and services. The Bureau research and development team’s overarching goal is to provide underpinning science and technology for environmental intelligence—information that supports decision-making over timescales from minutes to decades.
The Bureau’s climate research and weather services have high-value applications in the aviation, maritime, defence, emergency management, and agriculture sectors.
The Bureau has many national and international partners and partnerships, in research, development and delivering science into service. Through formal representation at national and international levels the Bureau contributes valued advice and direction across environmental domains.
Australian Antarctic Division
The Australian Antarctic Division, based in Hobart, Tasmania is responsible for the advancement of Australia’s strategic, scientific, environmental and economic interests in the Antarctic by protecting, administering and researching the region.
It does this by leading, coordinating and delivering the Australian Antarctic Program, which is focused on conducting world-class science of critical national importance and global significance. The Australian Antarctic Program utilises combined sea, air and continental transport capabilities to undertake wide-ranging marine, ice and aviation-based research activities.
Australia also works closely with other countries’ Antarctic programs to operate cooperatively on the ice and at sea.
Australian Astronomical Observatory
Highly regarded internationally, Astralis is Australia’s national optical and infrared observatory. Astralis’ mission is to provide advanced state-of-the-art optical and infrared observing facilities that allow Australian astronomers to do world-leading science. It operates the 3.9m Anglo Australian Telescope (AAT) and the 1.2m UK Schmidt Telescope (UKST), and manages access to large international telescopes on behalf of the astronomical community.
Astronomy research and instrumentation projects are driven by international collaboration, which maximises access to and input from the expertise of world leaders in this highly specialised area. International engagement is thus a core and integral part of Astralis’ business activities.
Astralis also plays a key role in global projects through:
- instrumentation development for various facilities
- world class high performance computing
- software capability that enables processing and delivery of large data sets.
National Measurement Institute
The National Measurement Institute (NMI) is Australia’s ‘one-stop shop’ for measurement and sits at the peak of Australia’s measurement system. NMI participates in high-level research and international collaborations, with recent collaborations aimed at improving the definition of the kilogram, the accuracy of time and frequency measurements, and the standard of direct voltage.
NMI offers a broad range of scientific and technical capabilities that address all sectors of measurement at the highest levels of precision and integrity.
Partnerships with other organisations are essential to NMI’s ability to serve its clients’ interests effectively. These partnerships range from multi-lateral scientific collaborations to work conducted under contract, all of which aid in the transfer of expertise and technology to industry.