CSIRO announces research job cuts

CSIRO announces research job cuts

Summary: CSIRO Staff Association has said a decision to cut a number of jobs from the CSIRO's wireless division is "short-sighted".

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The CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) has announced that it will cut a number of researcher roles as it seeks to prioritise certain projects within the government organisation.

The CSIRO confirmed to ZDNet yesterday that a number of positions had been removed from the ICT Centre, and indicated that more cuts may be on the way.

"We are relatively early on in the process and have identified three people — one scientist and two technical — who are surplus to the ICT Centre's requirements, but not necessarily to CSIRO. It is hoped the staff can be redeployed within CSIRO," the organisation said in a statement.

"CSIRO's investment in different areas of research is governed by an internal science investment prioritisation process. Major projects, including the Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder radio telescope, are appropriately staffed."

CSIRO Staff Association, part of the Community and Public Sector Union, has claimed that a number of research roles in the CSIRO's wireless laboratory are also set to go as a result of budgetary pressures.

Association president Dr Michael Borgas said that it was a bad look given that the CSIRO this year collected AU$220 million in patent settlements from US companies AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile for the use of its wireless local area network (WLAN) technology.

"The development of Wi-Fi has delivered both fame and fortune to CSIRO and the Australian government," Borgas said.

"So to hear eight months later that CSIRO plans to sack researchers working on the next generation of wireless innovation is almost incomprehensible."

As CSIRO is cutting at least three positions from the ICT Centre, which staffs 60 people, Borgas said that this was already a 5 percent cut to the department.

"It's reasonable to predict that the loss of these additional research positions will result in some loss of capability," he said.

"Our members working in ICT certainly think so. Staff say that these latest cuts will bite deep and strike bone."

Topics: Government, Government AU, Wi-Fi, Australia

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Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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3 comments
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  • Life As A Patent Troll Not So Lucrative After All?

    I thought they were minting it in royalties after winning those patent lawsuits against all the Wi-Fi product makers. Are they discovering that patent trolling isn't such a sound business strategy after all?
    ldo17
  • Huh?

    They're a government research organisation who are tasked with coming up with innovative solutions to problems. They're partially funded by the government but they're also expected to commercialise those innovations through patents and commercial spin-offs. The US companies they sued used the technology that they invented without a license.

    They didn't buy the patents off some other company, they're not a dodgy shell company that only exists to make money buy suing for patent infringement, and unlike a lot of the patent disputes going on at the moment (Apple, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Google etc) what they invented and sued over has real life value and usefulness. The money they collect goes into other research activities.

    I fail too see how disparagingly calling them patent trolls helps the debate about whether it is a good idea to cut staff from the same area that came up with the invention that earns them millions of dollars in royalties each year. You can only cut fat for so long before you start cutting into flesh.
    tophy
    • Re: they're not a dodgy shell company that only exists to make money buy s

      How else are they making money, then?
      ldo17