The nation’s peak science and technology body welcomes the Australian government’s first step to secure the future of Australia’s research sector, acting on the National Research Infrastructure Roadmap published more than two years ago.
CEO of Science & Technology Australia (STA), Kylie Walker, said the STEM sector would be pleased to see the government’s commitment to sustained operational funding beyond the next ten years.
“Regularly refreshing and renewing the research infrastructure Roadmap and Investment Plan will ensure that our facilities remain relevant to our requirements,” Ms Walker said.
She said the peak body had been asking for long-term investment and certainty for research infrastructure for some time.
“In the lead up to the 2016 Roadmap, STA called for stable operational funding and investment in staff to maintain and run the crucial kit that powers the nation’s knowledge production,” Ms Walker said.
“Today’s announcement has given us a first crucial step towards long-term stability for research facilities to put Australia on a strong footing for the future.”
Though pleased with the government’s response, Ms Walker said she was surprised there was no specific plan for the technical staff needed to keep the invaluable equipment working at peak performance.
“Providing training and a stable career trajectory for this highly skilled technical workforce will ensure that these critical research facilities run at their highest capacity,” she said
Ms Walker acknowledged the leadership and hard work of those STEM leaders who produced the National Research Infrastructure Roadmap.
“We’re pleased that the government has taken a long-term view, and hope to see a consultative and proactive approach when renewing the Roadmap and Investment Plan in the years to come.”
Some of the biggest investments between now and 2021/22 are being made in eResearch ($72.2m), the National Imaging Facility ($53.6m), and Bioplatforms Australia ($48.1m).
Development of the next National Research Infrastructure Roadmap will begin in 2019.
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