$650m in funding to support national research infrastructure

Tuesday, 31 October, 2023

$650m in funding to support national research infrastructure

The Australian Government has approved $650 million in funding to support national research infrastructure through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). The funding will support NCRIS projects to sustain and build new capabilities that will deliver a significant boost to research excellence in areas including renewables and low-emissions technologies, medical science and agriculture.

Access to national research infrastructure is provided through a network of 26 projects under NCRIS. This includes physical tools and equipment, like microscopes or supercomputers, data on Australia’s environment and cities, and technical advice and services. Users relying on NCRIS range from early-career researchers and small businesses who would otherwise struggle to access research infrastructure, to global research leaders tapping into the unique facilities that NCRIS provides.

The latest funding will support 80 projects across 25 lead agencies from 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2027, enabling facilities to maintain or expand the research infrastructure they provide to support an estimated 51,000 researchers annually — while addressing some of the nation’s biggest challenges. The 2023 funding round prioritises transformative investments in medical research, synthetic biology and climate research, with funding including:

  • $23m to the Australian National Fabrication Facility to maintain and upgrade facilities nationwide for projects such as pain-free diabetes tests, quantum technology manufacturing and sensors for driverless cars;
  • $47m for the Integrated Marine Observing System, led by the University of Tasmania, to boost real-time information for mineral exploration, fishing trawlers and marine resource management;
  • $19m for the Southern Coastal Research Vessel Fleet to build a research vessel to provide climate-change data to the South Australian Government and local councils as well as the federal government; and
  • $55m to Bioplatforms Australia, leading a collaboration of NCRIS projects, to position the nation as a world leader in synthetic biology, delivering new bioindustries that give Australians early and secure access to better food and cutting-edge medical products.

Projects will align with priority areas identified through the government’s $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund, including renewables and low-emissions technologies, medical science, transport, value-add in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and resources, as well as defence and enabling capabilities. The full list of projects is available here.

“These investments allow our world-class universities and researchers to work on game-changing projects that are good for our economy and good for Australia,” said Minister for Education Jason Clare.

“This is a strategic investment that will help to deliver the solutions we need for the challenges ahead.”

Image credit: iStock.com/Atstock Productions

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