Australian research landscape

Below are presented the key Australian policy developments in Science and Innovation, mainly focused on the NISA agenda and related new opportunities.

Australian research priorities:

  • National Innovation and Science Agenda – NISA (2016):

The National Innovation and Science Agenda is essential to Australia’s politics in the fields of Research and Innovation. NISA Website.

NISA has entered an active phase of implementation since August 2016. It includes a strong international dimension, demonstrated via the Global Innovation Strategy. These instruments are competitive and open to all partner countries (no budget predefined by partner country). Global Innovation Strategy Website.


Strategic advisory bodies :

  • Office of the Chief Scientist:

The Australian Chief Scientist supplies independent and high-level advice to the Prime Minister and to the other ministers on the subjects relate to sciences, technologies and innovation. He also presides at the Commonwealth Science Council, in order to identify the challenges and the opportunities for Australia, which can be resolved, at least partially, through science. He plays a major role in defining Australian research politics. Chief Scientist Website.


  • Office of Innovation and Science Australia:

OISA is an independent committee which is responsible for providing strategic advice to the government in the fields of science, research and innovation. This committee is complementary to the Commonwealth Science Council which advises the government on the high-level scientific challenges which Australia faces. The creation of the Office of Innovation and Science was announced as a part of the government National Innovation and Science Agenda-NISA. Its reports are available on this link.


Sectorial scientific reports published by the Australian Academy of Science’s committees:

The Australian Academy of Science calls on committees of researchers by scientific sectors to analyze their scientific sector. It publishes these strategic analyses in the form of ten-year plans, reports or publications. To see the reports.


Key Australian research actors:

  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation- CSIRO:

The CSIRO is the most important agency for Australian federal research. CSIRO Website.


The CSIRO plays an active role in the implementation of the NISA Agenda via its 2020 strategy. CSIRO Strategy.


  • Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation –ANSTO:

ANSTO is the national nuclear organization which is at the heart of the Australian nuclear expertise. ANSTO website.


  • Geoscience Australia:

Geoscience Australia is the organization which advises the government on all geoscience questions, but is also the custodian of the nation’s geographical and geological data and knowledge. Geoscience Website.


Geoscience Australia’s Data Cube offers a new approach to organize and analyze the large quantity of satellite images and earth observation data. Data Cube Website.



  • Universities:

There are 43 universities in Australia and some are grouped in cluster organizations that seek to advance their members’ interests.

  • The Group of Eight – Go8:

The Go8 is the key organization defending the interests of 8 Australian research-intensive universities: the University of Melbourne, The Australian National University, the University of Sydney, the University of Queensland, the University of Western Australia, the University of Adelaide, Monash University, and the University of New South Wales. Go8 Website.


  • The Australian Technology Network -ATN

The Australian Technology Network gathers five universities with a strong emphasis in engineering: the Queensland University of Technology, the University of Technology Sydney, RMIT University, the University of South Australia, and Curtin University. ATN Website.


  • Universities Australia:

Universities Australia is the organization representing all Australian universities and supports a sustainable national university system which can be defined by its quality, accessibility, innovation and its high level of performance, positioning Australia as a world leader and respected international partner. Universities Australia Website.


Funding Agencies:

  • The Australian Research Council – ARC: Competitive research funding covering the entire scientific spectrum except for medical research. ARC Website.


  • The National Health and Medical Research Council – NHMRC: Competitive funding for medical research. NHMRC Website.


  • The Industry Growth Centres:

The Industry Growth Centres Initiative (the Initiative) is an initiative guided by industry and focused on domains where Australia has a high degree of competitiveness, or a strong strategic priority. Industry Growth Centres Website.


  • The Cooperative Research Centres:

The Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) program is a competitive, merit-based program, which aims to support partnerships of collaborative research led by industry, as well as gathering partners, researchers and the community. The CRC program is managed by AusIndustry, a division of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. CRC Website.


  • The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporations – RIRDC:

The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporations statute was established in 1990 by the Australian government allowing them to work with the Australian rural industries in the organization and the funding of their needs in research and development, in particular for the new emerging industries and on rural problems of a national scale. RIRDC Website.