The CSIRO has announced that construction of its new $120 million Marine National Facility research vessel, the Investigator, has begun in Singapore.

Predominately concerned with marine and atmospheric research, the 93.6 metre research vessel will be conducting research from Antarctic waters to Australia’s tropical north.

The contract to construct the vessel was awarded to Teekay Holdings Australia, which is partnered with the Sembawang Shipyard in Singapore.

The Tasman Sea has been identified as a global warming hotspot, according to research released in scientific journal Nature Climate Change.  

Nominations have opened for the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science.

The Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS), Monash University,  has signed a collaborative agreement with European pharmaceutical company, Les Laboratoires Servier, covering drug discovery and research on G Protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs), the largest drug target family in the human genome.

The Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI) has urged the Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan to protect the future health and prosperity of Australians by maintaining the Government’s investment in health and medical research in the 2012-13 Budget.


AAMRI President, Professor Julie Campbell, said the Government had recognised the importance of health and medical research in the 2011-12 Budget, maintaining investment and announcing a Strategic Review of the sector.


“We ask that it stays on course in the upcoming Budget for the benefit of the nation.” 


AAMRI’s 2012-13 Federal Budget submission also requests that the Government create a level playing field in health and medical research, based on merit, not organisation type. 


“Australia’s enviable international record in health and medical research is in large part due to the excellent performance of our nation’s independent medical research institutes,” Professor Campbell said. 


“Yet, under current arrangements, a researcher from an independent medical research institute would receive less than a university-based researcher to perform the same project. We’re just asking for a fair and balanced funding system.”

The Menzies Research Institute Tasmania is looking for a new Director, following the resignation of Professor Simon Foote who has taken up his new position as Dean of the Australian School of Advanced Medicine at Macquarie University, Sydney.

Applications for Round 2 of the Federal Government’s Digital Enterprise Program are due by Friday 3 February.  

Flinders University’s Centre for Nanoscale Science and Technology is launching NanoConnect, a pilot program to demonstrate to businesses how nanotechnology could help improve their products and processes.

Four new people have been appointed to the  NSW Innovation and Productivity Council which advises the Government on proposed programs and initiatives to promote both public and private sector innovation and productivity in NSW.

Senior executives are being recruited for the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), the new national regulatory and quality assurance agency for the higher education sector.

The Western Australian Government has reappointed Professor Lyn Beazley as the Chief Scientist of Western Australia.

Researchers from Cornell University in the United States have found a connection between hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and the release of substantial amounts of stored methan gas.

The University of Melbourne’s Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society (IBES) has become a member of a new research consortium - the Green Touch™ Initiative - which brings together leading Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry players and researchers to fundamentally re-invent the network and reduce ICT energy consumption up to a factor of 1000.

The Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced new terms of reference and new membership for the Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council (PMSEIC) following a recent review of its operations and membership.

Australia needs to strengthen industry support and engagement with its leading innovation programs to increase competitiveness and productivity, two reports commissioned by GE, have found.

The New South Wales Government has announced $7 million in grants to two research groups as part of the translational cancer research program.

The Australian Government is calling for applications from consortia seeking to establish a Cooperative Research Centre (CRC).


The Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education will conduct information sessions for the latest CRC program selection in all Australian capital cities from Monday 13 February until 24 February.


The CRC program has been supporting research partnerships between publicly funded researchers and end user organisations to address major challenges for 20 years. Since 1991, 190 CRCs have been funded. Priority areas for this round are clean manufacturing, social innovation and sustainable regional communities.


Further details are available including eligibility requirements and dates for information sessions for the CRC Program.

UniQuest, the main research commercialisation company of the University of Queensland, has facilitated a strategic research collaboration agreement with Janssen-Cilag Pty Ltd in Australia, one of the Janssen pharmaceutical companies, to develop a promising treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

Under the agreement, Dendright Pty Ltd will receive an upfront seed grant to fund pre-clinical development of its treatment for rheumatoid arthritis . Dendright remains wholly owned by UniQuest. No other terms of the deal were disclosed.

The seed grant will help Professor Ranjeny Thomas and her team at the UQ Diamantina Institute pursue a new treatment for RA, which may also apply to other autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

In 2011, Professor Thomas was a plenary speaker at the prestigious American College of Rheumatology Conference in Chicago and a finalist in the Health category of the Australian Innovation Challenge Awards for her research towards a vaccine for RA.

A report released by the Australian Industry Group, Business Investment in New Technologies, has recommended tax breaks and better collaboration between publicly funded research organisations and business to improve public sector take-up of new technologies.

Three major Chinese companies have joined The University of Western Australia and 15 other Chinese and Australian science and industry partners to develop new international collaborative approaches to energy and mining research.

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