Science in Government

Science and research is integral to the advice, decisions, policies, guidance, information, regulations and legislation considered, developed or provided by NSW Government agencies.

NSW Government institutions and agencies also manage and produce significant scientific knowledge; research infrastructure including equipment, specimen and data collections and research libraries and provide information and expert technical advice to Government to inform policy, standards and practice as well as supporting and partnering with industry, schools and the wider community.

Many government agencies commission or fund research directly and participate in wider research collaborations with significant social, economic and environmental impacts. These include supporting the work of the Hendra Virus taskforce, ARC Centres of Excellence, Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) including the Plant Biosecurity CRC, and the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, and state-based initiatives such as AdaptNSW.

Below are some of the major institutions and agencies with a role in science and research.


AUSMUS Australian Museum

The Australian Museum: Australia's first museum houses scientific and cultural collections; provides public exhibitions, education services, reports and specialist advice; and is home to the Australian Museum Research Institute, the Australian Centre for Wildlife Genomics, the Lizard Island Research Station and hosts the prestigious annual Eureka prizes.

Photo: The Australian Museum is located in College Street, Sydney. (source: )

Museum of
  Applied Arts and Sciences logoMuseum of
  Applied Arts and Sciences

The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences: Formerly known as the 'Powerhouse', MAAS is a museum of science, technology, design, decorative arts and social history; providing inter-active exhibitions and educational programs. Specialist research centres, collections and services range from the Mars Lab, the Migration Heritage Centre and Lace Study centre, to agricultural equipment and conservation resources.

Pictured: The MAAS is situated on Harris Street at Ultimo, in inner-Sydney. (source: )

Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust logoRoyal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust

The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust: The Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney is the oldest scientific institution in Australia. In addition to public gardens, herbaria and education, the Trust houses scientific samples and libraries and the science program includes evolutionary ecology, horticultural, plant diversity and pathology research. It is home to the Australian PlantBank, a world class scientific facility with a seed bank and laboratories specialising in research and conservation of native species. Research into the Wollemi Pine ('dinosaur tree'), one of the great botanical discoveries of modern times, is conducted at the Mount Anan gardens.

Pictured: The Royal Botanic Garden are set beside the glorious Sydney Harbour. (source:

Art Gallery of NSW logoArt Gallery of NSW

The Art Gallery of NSW is recognised for its collections, exhibitions and lectures; however, its library and research tools also provide links to international scholarship, institutions and collections. The gallery has a leading scientific role in identifying the provenance of works and conserving the collections.

Pictured: The Art Gallery of NSW is located adjacent to The Domain just east of Sydney's CBD. (source: )

State Library of NSW logoState Library of NSW

The State Library of NSW is a world-leading library and centre of digital excellence specialising in Australian history, culture and literature, spanning social and applied sciences, Aboriginal studies, Antarctic exploration, family history, biography, business, law and health. The Library collects and preserves contemporary and heritage print and digital works, including manuscripts, maps, pictures, photographs, newspapers, prints and recordings. Collections include specialist and rare books, and reference libraries.

Pictured: The Library is located on Macquarie Street, Sydney. (source: )

Taronga Conservation Society logoTaronga Zoo

Taronga Conservation Society: the Sydney and Dubbo zoos play an international role in the care and conservation of native and exotic species, including breeding programs and research. Scientific projects include population dynamics, wildlife health, marine science, and terrestrial and behavioural ecology. The Sydney zoo also hosts the Australian Shark Attack File, with over 30 years of information and trends on shark - human encounters.

Pictured: Taronga Zoo Sydney is located at Bradley's Head, on the city's Lower North Shore. (source: )

NSW Government agencies

Department of Primary Industries logo The Department of Primary Industries is the largest provider of science and research services within the NSW Government. The Department undertakes strategic science which underpins the growth, sustainability and biosecurity of primary industries in NSW through primary industry Centres of Excellence, research stations, fishery and aquaculture units and forests.

With scientists ranked in the top 1% of world research institutions in agricultural science, and plant and animal science, the Department is also partner in a range of CRCs and scientific alliances with other Government agencies, universities and commercial partners. The Department provides diagnostic and analytical services for agriculture and its knowledge, expertise and infrastructure spans agricultural production, animal genetics, food safety, biosecurity, climate and water research, natural resource management and emergency management. Key offices with a science and research role include:

Office of
  Enviroment and Heritage logo

The NSW Office of Enviroment and Heritage (OEH) is responsible for protecting environment and heritage, including the natural environment, Aboriginal country, culture and heritage, and built heritage. Scientific activities include provision of expert scientific and technical advice; development and management of data sets; undertaking research and modelling and development of tools and resources to support other programs.

Partnering with UNSW Australia's Climate Change Research Centre and the ACT Government, OEH developed AdaptNSW, interactive tools and resources providing fine scale local projections of future changes in temperature, rainfall and other climate variables. These projections, together with OEH climate change adaptation programs and the NSW Adaptation Research Hub will help local government, industry and the community to assess and prepare for climate change impacts and better manage resources such as water.

Department of Health logo

NSW Health undertakes and supports leading science and research in NSW to obtain evidence and inform policy and health practice. Key offices and agencies with a science and research role include:

  • The Office for Health and Medical Research in the NSW Ministry for Health- responsible for supporting the health and medical research sector, articulating key research directions and providing a range of supports.
  • The Agency for Clinical Innovation- works with clinicians, consumers and managers to design and promote better healthcare through clinical networks, development of guidelines and models of care and evaluating and providing specialist advice on healthcare innovations.
  • The Clinical Excellence Commission- responsible for leading safety and quality improvement in the NSW public health system, undertaking audits and reviews on clinical practice and developing resources such as toolkits and mobile apps to support implementation of findings.
  • Health Protection- responsible for monitoring the incidence of notifiable infectious diseases and controlling their spread; and providing advice on environmental issues affecting human health.
  • NSW Health Pathology- a clinical and scientific service providing pathology, forensic and analytical science services for Local Health Districts, Specialty Networks, the NSW Food Authority and local government and law enforcement bodies.