The 2021 National Research Infrastructure (NRI) Roadmap has been launched by the federal government announcing it will invest $900 million over five years on the tools, technology and skills to make Australian research even more globally competitive.
Acting Minister for Education and Youth Stuart Robert said funding certainty in the research and innovation sectors would boost Australia’s comparative advantage, including through our National Manufacturing Priorities.
“Our National Research Infrastructure gives researchers the critical skills, facilities and services they need to carry out leading-edge research. The roadmap provides clear direction for investment in research infrastructure to support them to innovate on a macro and micro level. At a practical level, they will be able to generate nationally significant and interoperable data sets, run simulations on world-class computing facilities, and access advanced manufacturing and fabrication services.” Minister Robert said.
The NRI roadmap was developed over the past year with the research sector. It recommends continued investment in research infrastructure, including the Australian National Fabrication Facility, Australian Research Data Commons, Bioplatforms Australia, and Integrated Marine Observing System.
The roadmap confirms that a highly skilled workforce will underpin Australia retaining and improving its research competitiveness, and our ability to deliver on national priorities and to leverage international collaboration.
“We know that further investment is essential for our universities and research institutions to continue delivering world-class outcomes, retain their research staff, recruit talent, and drive the vision set out in the roadmap,” Minister Robert said.
The federal government will provide $4 billion from 2017-18 to 2028-29 for cutting-edge infrastructure through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). This $900 million is part of that commitment.
The Government is also considering further investments identified in the roadmap, such as in digital research infrastructure, synthetic biology, research translation infrastructure, environmental and climate research infrastructure, and collections.
“The 10-year roadmap will ensure research infrastructure remains relevant and responsive to the needs of Australia’s world-class research and innovation sectors,” Minister Robert said.
Minister for Science and Technology Melissa Price said Australian research has for decades driven global innovation.
“The government believes strongly that we need to achieve better outcomes in translating Australian research into commercial outcomes. The roadmap encourages greater commercialisation of research by allowing industry and researchers to engage more effectively. We also recognise the importance of job security and professional development opportunities to get the most out of our research workforce and to ensure we retain the best researchers in Australia. I thank the expert working group chaired by Dr Ziggy Switkowski AO for its dedication and contribution in producing such a valuable piece of work for our nation’s future prosperity.” Minister Price said.
The Government will respond fully to the roadmap’s recommendations in its 2022 Research Infrastructure Investment Plan to be released later this year.
The 2021 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap can be accessed here.