CSIRO puts $35 million into space technology and AI research

The CSIRO will invest $35 million in space technology and artificial intelligence (AI), including for the development of advanced imaging of Earth from satellites and cutting-edge data science.

The investment is part of CSIRO’s Future Science Platforms (FSP) portfolio, which aim to help reinvent old and create new industries, as well as grow the capability of a new generation of researchers through specially-created student places in these fields.

Space technology will receive $16M to initially focus on advanced technologies for Earth observation, and then address challenges such as space object tracking, resource utilisation in space, and developing manufacturing and life support systems for missions to the Moon and Mars.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning will receive $19M to target AI-driven solutions for areas including food security and quality, health and wellbeing, sustainable energy and resources, resilient and valuable environments, and Australian and regional security.

The primary research areas include platforms to improve prediction and understanding of complex data; platforms to enable trustworthy inferences and risk-based decisions; and data systems to enable ethical, robust and scalable AI.

By 2022, the CSIRO Future Science Platforms program will have invested $205 million since it was launched in 2016.

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said the Future Science Platforms aim to turn Australia’s challenges into opportunities.

“Innovation needs deep collaboration, so our FSPs bring together this nation’s world-class expertise across all fields of science, technology, engineering and maths to deliver real solutions to real world problems,” Marshall said.

“CSIRO is here to solve Australia’s greatest challenges through innovative science and technology – and to do that we have to invest in the big thinking and breakthrough research that will keep us ahead of the curve.”