Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, is investing $35 million in frontier research in space technology and artificial intelligence (AI).
The investment will include the development of advanced imaging of Earth from satellites, in addition to cutting-edge data science to support the growth of AI technology.
The investment is part of CSIRO’s Future Science Platforms portfolio, aimed at dedicating research to new and emerging opportunities for Australia.
They 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 ‘future’ fields.
Space Technology and Artificial Intelligence join eight other areas of future science, including in the fields of health and energy.
By 2022, the CSIRO Future Science Platforms program would have invested $205m since it was launched in 2016.
Space Technology will receive $16m to identify and develop the science to leapfrog traditional technologies and find new areas for Australian industry to work in.
It will 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.
AI 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.
CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall said the CSIRO Future Science Platforms have an important role to play in inventing and securing Australia’s path to prosperity.
“Our Future Science Platforms aim to turn Australia’s challenges into opportunities where new science can break through seemingly impossible roadblocks to give Australia an unfair advantage on the world stage,” said Marshall.
Innovation needs deep collaboration, to together this nation’s world-class expertise across all fields of science, technology, engineering and maths to deliver real solutions to real world problems, he 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,” said Marshall.