Following his reappointment, CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall outlines his perspective on the critical role of science and technology in driving Australia’s COVID-19 recovery efforts and the power of bold, visionary collaboration to build our future resilience and solve our greatest challenges.
Dr Larry Marshall is Chief Executive of CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency and innovation catalyst. CSIRO solves the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology. Their collaborative research turns science into solutions for food security and quality; clean energy and resources; health and wellbeing; resilient and valuable environments; innovative industries; and a secure Australia and region.
CSIRO’s work has delivered environmental interventions like myxomatosis and dung beetles, enabled great Australian industries like cotton and wool, and saved lives with enhanced food products and 3D printed body parts, and changed the world with inventions like fast WiFi.
Larry is a scientist, technology innovator and business leader with a wealth of experience in creating new value and impact with science. He has a PhD in Physics and became a global leader in laser research, for which he was honoured as a Federation Fellow and later as an ATSE (Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering) Fellow.
He invented the “eye-safe” laser which enabled lasers to be used safely in public. He was inspired at Stanford to found his first company, Light Solutions, which invented the world’s first solid-state green laser for the treatment of blindness in diabetics. Light Solutions merged with infra-red laser company Iris Medical in 1995, and the green-laser sales propelled the new company Iridex to IPO (initial public offering) on Nasdaq.
He was CEO/MD and founder of another five companies, frequently based on Stanford’s science, in biotechnology, telecommunications, semiconductors, and venture capital, including Arasor which he took public in 2006. In 2007, he became MD of Southern Cross Ventures, specialising in Australian innovation, where he delivered the first Nasdaq IPO of an Australian-venture backed startup commercialising science.
He has 100 publications and conference papers, holds 20 patents, and has served on 20 boards of high tech companies operating in the US, Australia and China. Larry is a Male Champion of Change committed to tackling gender equality. He is a passionate supporter of Australian innovation, returning to Australia to lead CSIRO, which he believes is the essential catalyst to improve Australia’s innovation performance.