Tehan on the front foot ahead of funding cuts to come

Research funding reductions are expected in the Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook next week and Universities Australia has pre-empted the announcement with a case against the cuts (below). But yesterday Education Minister Dan Tehan pre-empted the pre-emption, announcing expert inquiries into required investment for the government’s “$2.2bn research infrastructure investment plan.”

The experts will investigate infrastructure requirements for synthetic biology, climate and earth systems (the ACCESS weather model) and a national environmental prediction system. There are another five reviews to come.

“Australian researchers have been at the forefront of innovation, from WiFi to black-box flight recorders, and we need to ensure we continue to invest in research that improves lives and grows our economy,” Mr Tehan says.

As to the $2.2bn, which might come up in MYEFO – it’s a bunch of dosh, but it is scheduled to last until 2028-29.

Panel members are –

Synthetic biology: Sakkie Pretorius (Chair) – Macquarie U, Joseph Trapani – Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Claudia Vickers – CSIRO, Mark Jacobs – Queensland Government, Phil Wright – NSW Government

ACCESS: Greg Ayers – (Chair) – ex Bureau of Meteorology, Peter May – BoM, Helen Cleugh CSIRO, Ben Evans – National Computational Infrastructure, Tas van Ommen – Australian Antarctic Division, Andy Pitman – ARC centre for climate system science

Environmental prediction system: Rob Vertessy – ex BoM, Andrea Hinwood – Victorian Government, Steve Morton – Charles Darwin U, Warwick McDonald, CSIRO, Bronwyn Harch – DVC R Uni Queensland, Phil McFadden ex Geoscience Australia, Adam Lewis – Geoscience Australia


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