Australia’s leading research-intensive universities say the Government’s long-awaited response to the 2016 Research Infrastructure Roadmap underscores the critical value of research to the national economy.
The Group of Eight’s (Go8) Chief Executive, Vicki Thomson, said collectively and individually, the Go8 universities have a significant role in leading, developing and managing Australia’s major national research infrastructure facilities.
“We are also at the forefront of leading Australia’s participation in key international research infrastructure endeavours, such as the Giant Magellan Telescope and the European Molecular Biological Laboratory.
‘It is not simply our publicly funded researchers, including from our universities, who will welcome the Government’s direction, but our Australian industry which benefits in myriad ways from engaging with or using the work of our national research infrastructure facilities.
“Internationally, the Research Infrastructure Roadmap, together with investment of $1.9 billion over the next 12 years will be welcomed as a strong signal of Australia’s capacity as a research nation.
“We are however disappointed that the Plan fails to establish an independent, advisory body to the Government as recommended by the Group of Eight and in the National Research Infrastructure Roadmap but we do recognise the Government’s commitment to seek advice from ‘relevant experts.’”
“The Go8 had also called for national research infrastructure to leverage the remaining Education Infrastructure Fund (EIF) currently in the Future Fund, in keeping with the original intent for those funds to be used to support education and research infrastructure. We remain disappointed that this landmark fund appears to have been subsumed for purposes other than its original intent,” Ms Thomson said.
Meanwhile, the Investment plan and associated funding does provide a level of certainty for Australia’s 40,000 researchers and others to continue their vital work and for the facilities themselves which employ currently nearly 2000 technical experts, researchers and facility managers.
“We look forward to working with Government in taking this important plan through, including through over half of the NCRIS network currently led by the Go8,” Ms Thomson said.
Contact: Vicki Thomson Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 417 808 472