In 1916, the Australian Government established the Advisory Council of Science and Industry as the first step towards a 'national laboratory'. By 1920, this had evolved into the Institute for Science and Industry under an Act of the Federal Parliament. In 1926, this Act was revised to form the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Focus areas of CSIR today include: astronomy and space, animals and plants, environment, farming and food production, health, information technology, mining and manufacturing and renewables and energy.
CSIRO commits the majority of its resources to its Research Program through large-scale, multidisciplinary research partnerships with Australian universities, publicly funded research institutions, the private sector and selected international organisations.
CSIRO is a lead partner of the Australian Solar Thermal Research Institute (ASTRI). It is an $87 million, eight year international collaboration with research institutions, industry bodies and universities transforming Australia into a global leader in concentrating solar thermal power technologies.
CSIRO also provides technical and advisory services to industry and government.
CSIRO hosts national research infrastructure on behalf of the broader scientific community to assist with the delivery of research.
The Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF) invests in science that addresses issues of national priority. Some programs operate on a competitive basis, others by invitation on the basis of identified needs.