At CSIRO's Data61, our focus is to respond to big shifts in society and reimagine Australian industries by applying data science and digital technology to them. In every recession, in every revolution, in every major shift of an economy around the world, science and technology has created new industries and those new industries created new value that grew the economy and changed the way we work and live.

With more than 1,000 data scientists and 300+ PhD students from 70 countries, combined with talent embedded in 30 partner universities, Data61 is one of the world’s largest data-driven digital research and development organisations.

Data61 operates as a global network of third parties such as academia, government and business, also known as the D61+Network. We are the single entry point into Australia’s innovation ecosystem.

Data61 is creating Australia’s data-driven future. We’re mission driven for the benefit of the country and for our future generations.

— Adrian Turner, CEO, Data61

At Data61, we operate with a can-do culture and a spirit of entrepreneurship. We have the courage to take commercial and technical risks. We don’t do conventional problems with cookie cutter solutions.

We apply creativity and new technology to solving hard issues that have positive social, economic and environmental impact because we want to create a more prosperous future for the next generations. 

Explore the videos below, where we chat to CEO Adrian Turner about what it's like to work at Data61.

At CSIRO's Data61, our focus is to respond to big shifts in society and reimagine Australian industries by applying data science and digital technology to them.  ©CSIRO, Karl Schwerdtfeger

Part 1 - An introduction to Data61

Welcome to Data61. Data61 is Australia's data science research organisation and we're working not only for the benefit of Australia but also solving globally important problems as well, underpinned by data science. We are more than a thousand people including students and more than 650 PhDs in all focused on data science. What's important about data 61 is at a time where we've got convergence of multiple science disciplines from data science, to material science, synthetic biology, entirely new industries are going to be created that are data-driven and informed by the convergence. We really have an opportunity to create not only a new industry but really impact and affect what it means to be human as well as delivering societal and environmental impacts through our data science.


Part 2 - Data61 as a network

At Data61 we've organised as a network rather than an institution. We've applied platform thinking to Data61 ourselves but we also believe that the cadence and speed and the ability to bring global context into the decisions we make around the problems that we choose to focus on requires a global network. The network involves a single collaboration agreement across 30 of Australia's universities, with approximately a third of Australia's ICT PhDs under scholarship in the Data61 network. We're also part of CSIRO which is Australia's national science agency that has eight other areas of domain including agriculture and health and energy and minerals that the organisation focuses on. We have a rare ability to combine and team around data science projects that also include those domain areas. Our objective is to focus on the most important problems and challenges for the country but also for the world and then assemble teams wherever they are inside the organisation and outside the organisation and bring them together to solve those problems for Australia, but also in a global context.

At Data61 we also believe that the R&D model is fundamentally broken today and will undergo change itself, just as most other functions inside of organisations have undergone change. That global spend on R&D is a 1.6 trillion dollar spend and we're developing both the infrastructure of the business model and the relationships to reframe and reimagine how R&D itself takes place and how scientific discovery shifts in a data-driven world.

Data61 as a network

Part 3 - Data61's Culture

At Data61, we place a lot of emphasis on culture and we have a defined set of values that really hinge around putting our people first, providing a work environment when people can do the best work of their careers, identifying organisational obstacles and removing those so that team can move fast and have more scope for creativity. But we also have a can-do culture and an entrepreneurial culture and one of mastery where we're continually looking to improve every aspect of what we do all the time and also one of being fearless and risk-taking. There's a culture within the organisation to really stretch, to experiment with new things and push the boundaries of the way things are done today. Our singular focus on data as an organising principle is unique. The 61 is Australia's calling code and it really reinforces that we believe that the underlying and fundamental denominator in the world that we're moving to is data. We've organised our research programs around the lifecycle of data. Within cyber physical systems, machine learning and analytics, software and computational systems, or decision science.

Data61's Culture

Part 4 - Data61's Diversity

We place a lot of emphasis on diversity within Data61 and definitely punch above our weight in terms of cultural diversity. We have team inside of Data61 from 61 countries around the world. We also have relationships into many institutions in many other countries and collaborate deeply with those. We also have in place structured programs and targets for gender diversity. This is not just within Data61 but within the broader CSIRO and that includes the organisation applying for SAGE certification

Data61's Diversity

Part 5 - Data61's Impact

At Data61 we're focused on the largest, most impactful challenges for the country. Some of the work that we've done (and you'll be able to see this on the broader Data61 website) includes everything from groundbreaking work around privacy preserving data sharing, groundbreaking work around platforms for open data, groundbreaking work around natural hazard evacuation modelling. We're doing work around tracking bees and looking at reasons or trying to understand reasons for colony collapse disorder, recognising that a big proportion of the world's food requires pollination. We're also working on computational law with a view to developing a platform and ultimately automate aspects of compliance and we're helping Australia with free trade flows developing new systems for natural language processing and interpretation of free-trade agreement to make it easier for people wanting to export to understand how they can do that what, what support is available for them to do that and what other implications are. We've also done a lot of work in computer vision, helping autonomous systems to see and have a strong robotics capability. That extends through to medical imaging analysis and lastly a big focus on cybersecurity and that work spans not only Data61 but other organisations in the country as well and includes not only embedded and trustworthy systems but also includes other projects related to cybersecurity including relationship into the Australian cybersecurity growth network (or, 'AustCyber') that has the mandate of jump-starting a vibrant domestic cybersecurity sector for the country

Data61's Impact

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