New program and funding to shore up Australian Synchrotron
Funding for a new program to manage researcher access will enable continuation of the Australian Synchrotron.
The program will be managed by Monash University with the support of the Federal Government's investment of $30 million. Australian universities will also invest around $25 million.
Announcing the funding, Science and Research Minister Senator Chris Evans said the unique properties of synchrotron light provide experimental research results that are more accurate and clear than those obtained using traditional laboratory equipment.
"That is why it is vital Australian researchers have access to a synchrotron in their own backyard," Senator Evans said.
The new program follows an announcement in March this year of a $100 million agreement between the Australian and Victorian Governments to secure the future of the Synchrotron. This was in addition to earlier Commonwealth commitments of more than $114 million to the facility since 2006 and contributions from the Victorian Government of more than $207 million.
"The Gillard Government is enhancing Australian researcher access to the facility to ensure Australia builds on its world-class reputation and addresses the big questions facing the 21st century,” Mr Evans said.
"Under the Synchrotron Initiative, Monash University will implement a peerâ€‘reviewed, merit-based program to ensure Australian and overseas universities and medical research institutions benefit from synchrotron access over the next four years.
"The Australian Government is ensuring Australia's best minds have access to world class facilities."
This $30 million Government investment is being provided by the Australian Research Council ($25 million) and National Health and Medical Research Council ($5 million). The NHMRC previously funded the development of a medical beamline on the Synchrotron. This additional funding will help ensure the beamline is fully utilised.
Senator Evans said with the strong need to undertake R&D to transform industries and see them through challenges such as climate change, economic change and skills shortages, there has never been a more vital time to invest in the facility.
"As the Australian Synchrotron can be used to study the most precise nature of any biological and industrial material, it can be used by almost any industry across a wide range of research fields."