Digital Mission – Food Provenance

CSIRO is piloting a Digital Missions Model to co-ordinate large-scale research within Data61 and its broader network with the intention to move towards mission based science and a national Digital Mission program.

The concept of a Digital Mission is that of a collection of interrelated problems that may be addressed by fundamental scientific research, but are unlikely to be solved by status quo forces and require cross-disciplinary and cross-organisational cooperation between a broad variety of actors. The resolution of these integrated research and development outputs and inputs would lead to significant impact for Australia, the region and globally.

The primary impact pathway for digital missions is development of digital and data technology platforms that can catalyse and enable industry investment in new products, service and business models. It is this investment that ultimately address the nominated societal, economic or environmental issue.

Before embarking on a full Digital Mission Program with a path to impact over multiple years, we are piloting the Digital Mission Model in order to:

  1. develop and refine internal systems and processes;
  2. inform the definition of objectives and platform architecture for a full Digital Mission;
  3. engage and align internal and external collaborators;
  4. make a start on research and development of foundational technologies; and
  5. evaluate the effectiveness of the Digital Mission Model.

A successful pilot digital mission will advance our understanding of specific problems within the first full digital mission, and deliver research and technology milestones including feasibility and proofs of concept of technologies that may form the basis of a future digital mission platform. It is helping Data61 to develop and hone the right organisational structures to execute digital missions, including oversight and accountability, governance mechanisms, technology programs, resource allocation and reporting. Under the Pilot Digital Mission we also hope to test different approaches for engaging with industry and other partners, leveraging new and existing market engagement activities to validate a consortium model for future collaboration. The output of these latter activities is a more informed and validated set of approaches to running digital missions.

The Pilot Digital Mission focuses on ‘visible and connected supply chains’. This Digital Mission addresses research questions of relevance to food provenance and providing safety assurance for Australia’s primary industries. A number of teams are conducting research and development activities in areas that can be grouped into common themes:

  1. connecting the physical to the digital;
  2. improving the effectiveness and efficiency of information processing; and
  3. understanding and solving human-related aspects and problems in supply chains.

These activities focus on addressing the problems and opportunities associated with increasing international consumer confidence around the origin, quality, and handling of Australian food.

The research program is helping to align CSIRO research with national market access and export growth strategy.

Red and green apples, brocolli and carrots with processed products derived from these fresh fruits and vegetables sitting in bowls in front of them.

fresh fruit and vegetables and processed food derived from them (Source: CSIRO)