The ten-year draft roadmap – released for consultation yesterday by the Government – proposes nine national research infrastructure focus areas.
These include biosecurity, a social science data platform, astronomy and advanced manufacturing.
The report also underscores the crucial leadership role of sustained government investment to give planning certainty to other co-investors in research infrastructure.
It notes: “The importance of the Government’s role in protecting the national research infrastructure investment cannot be understated.”
Universities Australia welcomes the recommendations, including recognising the need for a skilled research workforce and the plan to establish an independent body to provide expert advice to Government on future infrastructure investment.
This was a measure recommended by UA in its submission to the roadmap’s earlier issues paper.
“This roadmap is the big vision that we need for Australia’s research infrastructure capability,” said Universities Australia’s Chief Executive Belinda Robinson.
“In uncharted terrain, it’s easy to get lost or to take wrong turns without a detailed map of the landscape and a clear sense of your destination.”
“This map sets out our destination and the paths we’ll need to take to get there to develop the research capacity so fundamental to our future economic prosperity,” Ms Robinson said.
“The recommendations would also deliver certainty and stability to build on Australia’s internationally recognised research infrastructure, developed and supported in our universities.”
The extent of the implementation of the report’s nine recommendations will, however, depend on the further development of an investment plan – the subject of the report’s third recommendation.
The roadmap was developed by an expert committee chaired by Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel, and including University of Queensland Provost Professor Aidan Byrne and National Health and Medical Research Council Chief Executive Professor Anne Kelso.
“UA thanks the expert working group and their key staff for their forensic work in developing this detailed document.”
“We look forward to ongoing work with the Government as it considers the final recommendations early next year.”
The draft roadmap is open for consultation until 16 January 2017.