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$1.9b research investment to aid economy and environment



A multi-billion research investment strategy announced by the Federal Government on 15 May aims to tackle cancer, boost farm crops and cyber security and effect better management of the Great Barrier Reef, among other planned benefits.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham and Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash said the Government’s new $1.9 billion Research Infrastructure Investment Plan would be critical to the lives of Australians.

The Plan directly responds to recommendations from the National Research Infrastructure Roadmap developed by a group of experts led by Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel AO.

“Our research plan will mean a better Australia for families, businesses and farmers,” Mr Birmingham said.

The Government will partner with researchers and facilities across Australia’s universities and other research institutions, which Mr Birmingham said would result in a stronger economy, a healthier environment and cutting-edge medicines and treatments.

“With the nearly $2 billion we’ve committed over the next decade to upgrade and strengthen Australia’s research facilities, our world-leading scientists and researchers will have the tools they need to support their vital work.

“This is the single largest and most comprehensive investment in research by any Australian Government and it builds on the $189 million we announced last year for computational infrastructure and astronomy facilities as well as the $150 million per annum of indexed funding certainty we delivered in 2016 for the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy under the National Science and Innovation Agenda.”

Australia’s prosperity depends on the work being done in these research labs today and into the future, Mr Birmingham said

Ms Cash said the Government’s investments would help unleash innovation potential across the country.

“This investment will ensure our researchers and industry have greater access to state-of-the-art facilities and advances in research, driving economic growth, creating jobs, and producing outcomes that will be enormously beneficial for us all,” she said.

The investment would facilitate international science and research partnerships in areas like astronomy, food security, bioscience, quantum computing, resource management and nanotechnologies, Ms Cash said.

“Our plan secures more than 370 technical roles and a further estimated 500 jobs for highly skilled technicians. Every year an estimated 40,000 students and researchers, people in industry, government and business will benefit from the upgrades.

“This is an investment to drive scientific discoveries and innovations that will improve the lives of people around the world, and create businesses and jobs in Australia.”

The Research Infrastructure Investment Plan can be viewed here.