In a move not set out in the budget papers the government will continue the Future Fellows scheme, offering 50 four-year appointments in 2015.
Education Minister Christopher Pyne is expected to announce what amounts to a half round of Future Fellows in coming weeks. This will keep the programme active while the higher education reforms remain in the Senate.
Mr Pyne had tied the Future Fellowship programme to the Senate passing his deregulation legislation and critics in the research community had just about written the fellowships off. However a spokesman for Mr Pyne says, “the government remains committed to the Future Fellows programme continuing and it will remain a part of the higher education reform legislation.”
The programme joins the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy as a target for cuts, which has survived.
The Future Fellows programme was established in 2008 to keep brilliant mid-career Australian researchers from moving overseas and to lure home others who had.
It was originally intended to wind up from 2013, with that year’s expected to be final appointments. However it was reprieved for a year that May. Mr Pyne then announced 150 new fellowships in the Abbott Government’s first budget last year.
“The government remains committed to the Future Fellows programme continuing and it will remain a part of the higher education reform legislation,” Mr Pyne’s spokesman added.