Established in 2012, the CBA is a joint initiative of ANU and CSIRO founded on world-class biodiversity science spanning evolutionary biology, genomics, bioinformatics, spatial modelling, population and ecosystem ecology, and paleoecology; and key infrastructure such as the National Biological Collections and advanced genomic and computer laboratories, including the Ecogenomics and Bioinformatics Lab (EBL).

The capacity and reach of the CBA was further developed in 2018 with the University of Canberra (UC) joining the Centre.