A Missed Opportunity To Ramp Up Australia's Research Investment

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12th May 2010, 12:20am - Views: 524





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Australian Academy of Science

Media Release

AAS 17/10

11 May 2010


A MISSED OPPORTUNITY TO RAMP UP AUSTRALIA’S RESEARCH

INVESTMENT 


The Australian Academy of Science, representing Australia’s leading scientists, strongly welcomed

last year’s budget, which contained a substantial increase in Australia’s research funding.


This budget continues these commendable commitments in a tight economic environment, but it is

concerning that there are some apparent deficiencies and little further progress.


‘In last year’s budget, there was a long overdue increase of about 25% in Australia’s research

funding, particularly to the Universities, but this focussed on new buildings and large pieces of

equipment. The Academy notes that we still need to attract and retain the best people in science

to occupy the labs, run the experiments, and keep Australia at the forefront of world research.

Some major initiatives, such as the ‘Australia Fellowships’ in medical research, come to an end

this year,’ commented Professor Bob Williamson, the Secretary for Science Policy of the

Academy. 


President of the Academy Professor Suzanne Cory was concerned at the lack of on-going funding

for the International Science Linkages scheme past the 2010/2011 budget. ‘A Parliamentary

Inquiry into Australia's International Research Collaboration will report later this year, and we hope

the Government will respond with renewed funding for this crucial area, guided by whole of

Government strategy. Currently, valuable programmes with long term international partners are in

jeopardy, as forward planning cannot be undertaken.’ 


The President commented that ‘we need a bold vision for the future of research in science, maths

and engineering in Australia. This vision is essential for our country’s future.’ She welcomed the

Government’s decision to ensure that Hospitals will now receive essential research funding from

the Commonwealth. ‘However, it is a pity that there has been no rationalisation of funding to cover

real research costs for Universities, CSIRO, Medical Research Institutes and Hospitals,’ she said.


CONTACT DETAILS:  


Professor Bob Williamson, Secretary for Science Policy, 

Australian Academy of Science,

Work Phone: (03) 8344 4181

Mobile: 0409-706255

Email: r.williamson@unimelb.edu.au







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