“Science & Technology Australia applauds the government for protecting the research budget and recognising the critical role science plays in Australia’s social and economic prosperity, said Anna-Maria Arabia CEO of STA, Australia’s peak body for the science and technology sector.
The Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) has confirmed that the temporary grants pause has been lifted and grants available via the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) have not been affected by savings measures.
“Secure ARC, NHMRC, and Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) funding goes a long way to assisting scientists plan and conduct research and STA recognises that protecting the research budget has been challenging with falling revenue and difficult budget conditions,” Ms Arabia said.
“STA remains strongly concerned about the flow on effects as a result of savings measures that affect indexation arrangements to Sustainable Research Excellence and Facilitation Funding in universities.
“In addition to teaching, universities conduct a significant amount of research so it is anticipated that research intensive universities will be hard hit by changes to these arrangements.
“STA urges the government to continue to look for ways to support the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy and to adequately support the indirect costs of research.
“Australia gains most from its investment in research when long term funding certainty is achieved.
“While governments do need to account for every dollar of spending to ensure taxpayers receive value for money, budget cycles that place the research budget under question every six months are unproductive.
“It would be difficult to find a taxpayer who has not reaped the extraordinary return from the government’s investment in science and research”, Ms Arabia concluded.