Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has announced government-owned research organisation CSIRO will open five offices in the US.
There will be a primary office in the San Francisco Bay area, with satellite offices in Chicago, Seattle, Houston and Washington DC.
“The offices will promote Australian innovation and drive scientific and industrial engagement in the US,” she said. “They will work closely with research, industry and business partners to bring Australia’s cutting-edge capabilities to the US marketplace.”
CSIRO already has offices overseas, one in the Chilean capital Santiago for cooperation on mining technology, and another near Montpelier in France for agricultural research.
In 2015 CSIRO CEO Larry Marshall released a ‘Strategy 2020’ document for the organisation, which included a stronger global presence as one of its key pillars.
Dr Marshall was at the US announcement. He spent most of his working life in northern California, where he worked at Stanford University, and founded six startups. He holds 20 US patents, mostly in laser technology. A PhD graduate of Macquarie University, he returned to Australia in 2015 to become head of CSIRO.
“To accelerate innovation rates in Australia we need to accelerate international engagement, especially in regions where there is a significant opportunity to return value to Australia,” he said. “Having a US presence is a no-brainer.
“Our focus is firmly on bringing benefit back to Australia. That philosophy will be applied to everything we do in the US. We’re looking forward to igniting Aussie innovation in such an exciting, dynamic market.”
CSIRO says that it has already done some business with 49 of the US Fortune 500 companies, and that nearly three-quarters of CSIRO’s international revenues come from partnerships with US based organisations
These include Alcan, Barrick Gold, Canadian National Research Council, Chevron, DuPont, GE, GE, NASA, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Syncrude, and the US Department of Agriculture.
Each of the offices will have a technology focus, partially based on some of CSIRO’s existing US relationships:
• San Francisco – information technology
• Seattle – aeronautical engineering. CSIRO already has staff member seconded to Boeing’s R&D and manufacturing facilities based there.
• Houston - energy, oceanography and atmospheric science. (CSIRO has worked with NASA from time of the first lunar landings).
• Chicago – agriculture, food, and biosecurity.
• Washington DC – a small representation within the Australian Embassy.