The Committee assists the Board to fulfil its governance responsibilities through the provision high level advice on the ongoing delivery of ocean research capabilities for the nation.

Charter

Marine National Facility Steering Committee

December 2016

Purpose

The purpose of the Marine National Facility Steering Committee (MNFSC) is to assist the Board to fulfil its governance responsibilities through the provision of high level advice on the ongoing delivery of ocean research capabilities for the nation.

The Committee will manage the delivery of the:

  • Strategic directions with reference to the Australian and international scientific and political context;
  • Allocation of time on the Facility; and
  • Performance of the Facility.

Specific responsibilities

In fulfilling its purpose, the Committee will:

  • Provide high-level advice to the MNF Director and more broadly, to CSIRO on:
    • Strategic directions for the MNF, with reference to the Australian and international scientific and political context, including establishing policy guidelines for the operation of the MNF;
    • Allocation of time on the Facility;
    • Performance of the Facility to CSIRO; and
    • The most appropriate advisory sub committees to discharge its duties.
  • Committee members also act as advocates for the MNF and for Australia’s marine based research capability with its many stakeholders within Australia and internationally. They will promote the wide and effective use of the Facility, and raise awareness of the Facility and the research that it supports in a wide range of forums.
  • Support the Board’s expectation that the CSIRO’s role in the operation of the MNF will be appropriately recognised in activities undertaken by the MNFSC imparting a positive reputation for the organisation.

With respect to the allocation of time for access and use of the Facility:

  • There will be no guaranteed allocation of research time on the Marine National Facility for any users including CSIRO staff.  Use of the Facility for marine based research will be based on an independent assessment of scientific merit, national benefit and technical feasibility.
  • The MNFSC will appoint appropriate advisory subcommittees to discharge its duties,  with membership drawn from the Australian marine based research community to provide advice to the MNFSC on assessment of proposals, scientific operations, equipment needs, feedback from users, and any other marine research matters relevant to the National Facility’s operations as required.
  • The MNFSC will advise the MNF Director on the appropriate policy guidelines for the subcommittees.
  • The MNF Director is responsible for coordination of the time allocation process and will provide administrative support to the subcommittees.
  • Scheduling of the Facility will be consistent with the scientific priorities determined by the MNFSC, and is the responsibility of the MNF Director.
  • Use of Facility time by CSIRO staff for purposes other than research, such as maintenance of the facility or testing new equipment, will be determined by the MNF Director.

Terms of Reference

Marine National Facility Steering Committee (MNFSC)

December 2016

Principles

The Director of the Marine National Facility (MNF) manages the delivery of the Facility to its users. The Director is employed by CSIRO and through the Executive Director for National Facilities and Collections is ultimately responsible to the Chief Executive, CSIRO. The MNF is subject to CSIRO’s governance structures and policies.

An external Marine National Steering Committee (MNFSC) provides high-level advice to the MNF Director.  MNFSC members also act as advocates for the MNF.

The Committee is charged with providing advice to the MNF Director consistent with CSIRO’s ongoing delivery of ocean research capabilities for the nation and with advocating on behalf of the Facility.

The operational procedures are consistent with the principles set out in the “Guidelines For The Operation Of National Research Facilities” report to the Prime Minister by the Australian Science and Technology Council (ASTEC), January 1984.

The Terms of Reference for the MNF is outlined below.

Terms of Reference

1. General

  • Members of the MNFSC are appointed by the CSIRO Board.
  • Members are expected to provide high-level advice to the MNF Director and more broadly, to CSIRO on:
    • Strategic directions for the MNF, with reference to the Australian and international scientific and political context, including establishing policy guidelines for the operation of the MNF;
    • Allocation of time on the Facility;
    • Performance of the Facility to CSIRO; and
    • The most appropriate advisory subcommittees to discharge its duties.
  • Committee members also act as advocates for the MNF and for Australia’s marine based research capability with its many stakeholders within Australia and internationally. They will promote the wide and effective use of the Facility, and raise awareness of the Facility and the research that it supports in a wide range of forums.
  • The Board expects the CSIRO’s role in the operation of the MNF will be appropriately recognised in activities undertaken by the MNFSC, imparting a positive reputation for the organisation.
  • The MNFSC will raise urgent matters with the Board via the CSIRO Governance Office as and when they arise.
  • The Chair and Members of the MNFSC, other than employees of CSIRO, are not Officers of CSIRO, as defined in sections 8 and 25 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and serve in an advisory capacity only. Non-CSIRO Members of the MNFSC do not take part in the management of CSIRO, and do not have any corporate governance responsibilities as defined in Division 4 of the CAC Act.
  • The MNFSC will comprise at least seven Members comprising an independent Chair representing the user community and at least three independent representatives (from government, industry and the user community) and, in ex-officio capacity, the Executive Director of CSIRO Digital, National Facilities and Collections, or nominee, the Chair of the National Marine Science Committee and the Chief Scientist of the Australian Antarctic Division. All appointments (other than ex-officio appointments) are made by the CSIRO Board, and will be made for a fixed term of up to 2 years with the possibility of a second 2 year term.
  • Nominations for MNFSC membership are made to the CSIRO Board Chairman by the CSIRO Chief Executive Officer in consultation with the MNF Director following consultation with the Secretary of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, and with relevant government, industry and marine science community representatives.
  • The MNF Director is not a member of the MNFSC, but will generally be present at MNFSC meetings.  
  • Non-CSIRO members of the MNFSC have a particular responsibility to provide input on behalf of the communities they represent and to provide feedback to the MNF and CSIRO on behalf of those communities.   Their skills are to be appropriately exploited by the Committee and by the MNF Director, in providing high-level advice in areas such as finance, strategic planning, science and political issues.
  • The MNFSC will meet at least annually but up to three times per year as required.
  • MNFSC members may also be called upon by the MNF Director to provide advice and assistance throughout the year, including contributing to review committees or panels as appropriate.
  • Members are paid sitting fees as set by rulings of the Remuneration Tribunal.
  • The MNF Director will provide an Annual Report, endorsed by the MNFSC, to the Chief Executive Officer of CSIRO for forwarding to the CSIRO Board, detailing the MNF’s operations, including the allocation of time, science and finances.

2. Time Allocation

  • As a general policy, there will be no guaranteed allocation of research time on the Marine National Facility for any users including CSIRO staff.  Use of the Facility for marine based research will be based on an independent assessment of scientific merit, national benefit and technical feasibility.
  • The MNFSC will appoint appropriate advisory subcommittees to discharge its duties, with membership drawn from the Australian marine based research community, industry and government to provide advice to the MNFSC on assessment of proposals, scientific operations, equipment needs user feedback and any other matters relevant to the National Facility’s operations as required.
  • Appointment terms for the MNFSC subcommittees will be determined by the MNFSC.
  • The MNFSC will advise the MNF Director on the appropriate policy guidelines for the subcommittees.
  • The MNF Director is responsible for coordination of the time allocation process and will provide administrative support to the subcommittees.
  • Use of Facility time by CSIRO staff for purposes other than research, such as maintenance of the facility or testing new equipment, will be determined by the MNF Director.

3. MNF governance diagram

  • CSIRO Board
  • CSIRO Executive
  • MNF Director
    • MNF Ships Group
    • CSIRO O&A Service Level Agreement
    • ASP Ship Management Contract
  • MNF Steering Committee
    • Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC)
    • National Benefit Assessment Panel (NBAP)
    • Supplementary Scheduling Committee (SSC)

Marine National Facility governance structure.

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