The CSIRO is hunting for a new head of its data science arm, Data61, after current CEO Adrian Turner announced he will step down from the role in September.

Turner is a tech entrepreneur who spent nearly two decades in Silicon Valley and will shortly begin a new venture.

He has been CEO of Data61 since 2015.

CSIRO Chief Executive, Dr Larry Marshall, said Turner had made a real impact.

“Adrian Turner has made a significant contribution to CSIRO and Australia in understanding and harnessing the opportunities that digital and data science can deliver,” Dr Marshall said.

“Our relationship will continue beyond Data61, with CSIRO and Adrian exploring how we can work together on the new venture.”

In his time at Data61, Turner has advocated strongly for Australia to become world leader in technology.

Turner has seen the potential of digital innovation to transform our economy, and signed a pledge with ACS to pursue the same goals of drivers of Australia’s digital future.

“Every sector of the global economy has been re-defined as a result of digital science and technology and the extensive use of data,” he said last year.

"This next digital wave to revolutionise existing industries and create entirely new ones is ours to capture. But the opportunity is perishable if we don't collectively take action now.”

Turner has driven a push for adopting artificial intelligence, seen the potential in blockchain technology, and helped start the conversation about job automation.

As an active member of the Australian computer science community, Turner opened the new cyber security hub in Docklands, and spoke at the 2016 Reimagination Thought Leaders’ Summit.

He has also been on the boards of AustCyber and the Australian eHealth Research Centre.

The CSIRO has begun a global search for Turner’s replacement.