Mission Responsible

August 25th, 2020

CSIRO is partnering with government, universities, industry and the community to develop responsible mission-driven science and innovation

Project Duration: March 2020 – February 2022

Ust Lensky Nature Reserve, Sakha Republic, Russia

Credit: Photo by USGS on Unsplash

Advancing responsible mission-oriented agri-food innovation for Australia

The Challenge

CSIRO is developing mission-driven science and innovation to address Australia’s greatest national challenges. This will bring together research agencies, universities, industry, government and the community to work collaboratively on outcomes that lead to positive benefit, new jobs and economic growth. This includes bolstering Australia’s COVID-19 recovery and building long-term resilience. Many of the missions also intersect with the challenge of securing food production under a changing climate, now and into the future, and how we will do that in a sustainable way.

Mission-oriented innovation is gaining momentum around the world as a way to address the grand challenges faced by society. For example, mission-oriented agricultural innovation is known for harnessing diverse networks across the sector to contribute to agricultural innovations that aim to achieve a positive societal goal.

But missions are, in many ways, experiments. We don’t yet know what will ensure that different missions achieve their intended innovation goals, how they are directed toward those goals, nor whether they might change direction as they progress. We are also still exploring how we might best design these collaborative approaches to achieve responsible mission-oriented agri-food innovation for Australia.

Our Response

CSIRO’s Responsible Innovation Future Science Platform (RI FSP), and Agriculture and Food Business Unit are codeveloping a design approach for the CSIRO Missions around responsible, directed innovation. This approach addresses those aspects of agri-food innovation that focus on helping farmers overcome drought, mitigate climate impacts, increase yield and profitability, and create a sustainable Future Protein Industry. All while leveraging the world’s love of Australian-grown food.

This research project presents an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the nature and potential of mission-oriented innovation in practice. The first step involves the co-development of an analytical framework to explore the mission experience by engaging with partners involved in the agri-food-related Missions. In doing so, this project will provide operational and strategic insights for CSIRO and our collaborating partners along with new scientific contributions to national and international innovation policy debates.

Project Impacts

It is anticipated this research will deliver an evidence-based approach to designing and catalysing better directed and more responsible mission-oriented innovation. More specifically, the work will identify the increased societal benefits that are generated from responsible agri-food innovation. This will be fostered through the development of learning processes and tools designed to improve societal outcomes in relation to food security and sustainability for Australia.


CSIRO: Simon Fielke, Andy Hall, Katie Ricketts, and Peat Leith (Project Leader)

Read more about the CSIRO Missions: https://www.csiro.au/en/about/challenges-missions/Missions

Also see the CSIRO Newsroom: CSIRO sets sights on new ‘Team Australia’ missions program