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Go8 Media Release: Go8 welcomes Government’s commitment to research infrastructure but denounces RBG cuts

The Group of Eight (Go8), comprising Australia’s research-intensive universities, welcomes the Australian Government’s continued commitment to national research infrastructure with Education Minister Dan Tehan’s confirmation of funding of $10 million for six projects.

“The Go8 universities spend in excess of $6billion annually on research and it is pleasing to see the Minister’s acknowledgement of the crucial importance of Australian researchers having access to the advanced research infrastructure provided through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS),” Go8 Chief executive Vicki Thomson said.

“‘However, while it is reassuring to see the Government’s continued commitment to research infrastructure funding, this commitment is undermined by cuts announced just last month to research funding.

“The MYEFO 2018-19 cuts to Research Block Grant funding of $328.5 million over three years is counterproductive to ensuring we continue to do research which changes and saves lives and adds to the economy. It is this funding, now slashed, which literally keeps the lights on in Australia’s research labs and cutting it totally undermines Australian research and specifically initiatives such as the Medical Research Future Fund.

Investment in research is an investment in the economy.   An economic analysis undertaken for the Go8 by London Economics showed that every $1 of Go8 research income delivers almost $10 in benefits to the private sector.

The Go8 is strongly invested in ensuring the success of our NCRIS network, including through our universities’ leadership on behalf of the research community of 12 of the continuing NCRIS facilities identified for funding under the Government’s Research Infrastructure Investment Plan.

“These facilities have demonstrated again and again their value to the nation– including the National Imaging Facility led by The University of Queensland, The National Computational Infrastructure led by The Australian National University, and the Population Health Research Network led from The University of Western Australia.’

The National Research Infrastructure census snapshot released by the Department of Education yesterday showed there was nearly a 10 per cent increase in commercialisation outputs from NCRIS facilities over 2015-16 and 2016-17 and that citation rates of academic publications developed using NCRIS facilities were on average twice that of similar publications.

“Over the forward estimates, Go8 led facilities attract nearly $500 million in NCRIS funding and along with their partners bring significant resources as well as the necessary expertise to add to that investment”

Go8 universities are involved in all six projects Minister Tehan announced as receiving funding yesterday, and are lead agents for the following four:

  • The Australian Plant Phenomics Facility (The University of Adelaide)
  • Heavy Ion Accelerators (The Australian National University)
  • The Australian Phenomics Network (The Australian National University)
  • The Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network or TERN (The University of Queensland)

Contact: Vicki Thomson, Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 417 808 472