The National Health and Medical Research Council’s new grant system went live last week – only $10m over the original contract price
The new system, SAPPHIRE, was originally budgeted at $5.8m, including “an operational component.” The cost is now $16.2m which interested Senator Deborah O’Neill, (Labor NSW), who asked how come, in Estimates.

“Are you building a Rolls Royce?” Senator O’Neill asked the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Tony Krizan who explained the NHMRC’s “expectations have grown dramatically” and capability is added to support the Medical Research Future Fund.

Given the investment in tech increased as the system developed perhaps the senator meant a Tesla.

“At this stage I wouldn’t classify the project as being a cost blowout. Certainly, it is a significant amount; I acknowledge that. But, rather than being a project, it is a beast that is evolving,” Mr Krizan added.

“How many more millions are going to be invested in its beastliness?” Senator O’Neill asked.

“We are reaching our limit for the moment and we are deploying what we can, but I am not able to advise you on that, because it depends what further expectations are brought forward and if further resources are brought forward,” Mr Krizan replied.



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