CSIRO announces research job cuts

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

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."