CSIRO announces multi-million-dollar AI and space tech funding

CSIRO invests a further AU$35m ($25.5m) to carry out R&D to enhance existing industries as well as creating new opportunities in AI and space technology

19Nov

Australian space agency CSIRO has announced that it is investing a further AU$35m ($25.5m) to advance AI, machine-learning (ML) and space technology research to its existing Future Science Platforms (FSP) portfolio.

According to CSIRO, the FSP platform aims to develop new and refurbish existing industries and increase the possibility "of a new generation of researchers through specially-created student places in these "future" fields".

Of the million-dollar funding, AU$16m ($11.6m) will be dedicated to space technology to carry out R&D to enhance traditional technologies and create new industries. AI and ML will receive AU$19m ($13.8m) to target AI-based solutions in areas such as food security and quality, health and wellbeing and sustainable energy and resources.

The space tech investment will initially concentrate on advanced tech for earth observation and will then aim to address other space issues such as resource utilization and life support systems for space missions, CSIRO said. Conversely, the AI and ML investment will look to optimize prediction and understanding of complex data and aim to develop ethical, robust and scalable AI data systems.


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CSIRO chief executive Dr. Larry Marshall stated that the CSIRO Future Science Platforms plays a vital role in sustaining Australia's path to prosperity.

"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," Dr. Marshall said.

The FSP platform, which was launched in 2016, is projected to receive AU$205m ($149.5m) in investment by 2022.

The investment into CSIRO's space tech builds on the launch of the company's 2018 space roadmap. In the report titled A Roadmap for unlocking future growth opportunities for Australia, CSIRO outlined their strategy to triple the size of Australia’s space industry by 2030, predicting the size of the domestic space sector to reach AU$10–12bn ($7–8bn) by 2030.

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