The Government’s announcement of a national roadmap for research infrastructure will help Australia to prioritise new facilities in areas like advanced manufacturing, biosecurity and medical therapies.
“Bunsen burners are no longer the principal tools in modern science and research. This roadmap sets out a plan for the kinds of infrastructure that researchers will need to cure disease, improve food security, and develop new technology,” said Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson.
“While this plan is an important step in setting the priorities for Australia’s research infrastructure, how it will be funded remains unclear,” Ms Robinson said.
“Universities Australia continues to be concerned that the proposed closure of the $3.7 billion Education Investment Fund (EIF) would mean a lack of long-term funding for the vision set out today,” she said.
“It’s great to have a map, but you also need petrol in the tank to reach your destination.”
In this week’s Federal Budget the Government announced it will develop a Research Infrastructure Investment Plan, which will “assess future research infrastructure projects against emerging Government priorities”.
Over 35,000 Australian researchers rely on major Australian research facilities, which include those funded under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), the Australian Synchrotron, and large-scale international collaborations such as the Square Kilometre Array.
The roadmap was developed by Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel and an expert working group who directly consulted with more than 580 stakeholders. Universities Australia made its own submission during the consultation period.
“I would like to congratulate Dr Finkel and the working group on their excellent work in developing a bold vision for Australia’s research infrastructure future,” she said.