Funding to save synchrotron
The Federal and Victorian Governments have announced nearly $100 million in joint funding initiative to keep the Melbourne based Australian Synchrotron running for the next four years.
Under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to be signed in the coming hours, the Federal Government will contribute $69 million, while the Victorian Government will contribute $26 million to the project.
The future of the research facility was thrown into doubt when the Federal Government and incoming Liberal Government refused to confirm funding in either of their budgets.
Federal Science Minister Senator Chris Evans said the funding will allow the facility to continue its cutting edge experimental research.
“Without this funding deal, the ongoing operation of the facility was in doubt, jeopardising important research here in Australia,” Senator Evans said.
Victorian Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business, Louise Asher, said the new arrangement meant the Australian Synchrotron will continue to provide a platform for future medical research and innovation in Victoria.
"The Synchrotron has found its rightful home as a truly national science facility," she said.
"Victorian researchers and industry partners will continue to experience the benefits of ready access to advanced scientific infrastructure in this State."
Research conducted at the Synchrotron, which is the size of a football field, has already:
- laid the foundations for the development of a new class of anti-malarial drugs;
- identified the distributions of nutrients in cereal grains which could help improve the nutritional value of foods; and
- helped develop an energy efficient high-temperature superconductor (HTS) that could be used in motors, generators and transformers.
"The Australian Synchrotron is used by major companies for research. For example, research is being conducted at the facility on behalf of Rio Tinto to recover copper from ores and tailings. Research has also been conducted for BHP Billiton and Cochlear, amongst many other companies," Senator Evans said.
The Australian Synchrotron hosts more than 3000 researchers each year and conducts about 500 experiments each year.