National Research Infrastructure

Australia is an established global leader in world-class research. The Australian Government helps maintain this reputation by ensuring researchers have access to cutting edge research infrastructure.

National Research Infrastructure

National research infrastructure (NRI) refers to the:

  • Facilities, equipment and resources that are needed to perform research
  • Experts needed to run the infrastructure

Infrastructure can be physical, like a supercomputer or microscope, or intangible, like a data collection or software platform.

The Australian Government has invested $4 billion over 12 years (from 2018 to 2029) to support important pieces of national research infrastructure and make sure Australian researchers can access them.

NRI is a critical platform for the research sector. It supports Australians through:

  • Countless more jobs, including in small business, across almost every sector of the economy
  • Research that supports improved health and wellbeing of Australians
  • The capacity to address critical national issues such as food security and support for a healthy environment
  • Policies relating to research and science and development

The NRI Strategic Framework explains the process used to identify and support important pieces of NRI. It includes:

  • A $2.2 billion investment to address NRI priorities
  • Plans for future investment
  • Roadmaps

Australian Government investments in NRI, guided by Roadmaps, funded by Research Infrastructure Investment Plans and enacted through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) program, have resulted in a mature and networked suite of projects supporting Australian research

Roadmaps

The Government develops roadmaps to drive investment in research infrastructure. They are prepared by an expert working group after consulting with the research community.

Roadmaps identify needs and sets priorities for Australia’s national research infrastructure. This can include:

  • Naming specific pieces of infrastructure
  • Recommending a ‘Scoping Study’, an activity to figure out what infrastructure is needed to achieve a particular research goal

A new Roadmap is created every 5 years.

Development of the 2021 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap has commenced. To get involved and sign up for updates visit the 2021 NRI Roadmap website.

Investment Plans

A Research Infrastructure Investment Plan (RIIP) provides specific funding for a set of projects that will meet Australia’s research infrastructure needs.

Research infrastructure needs are identified in the most recent Roadmap. Sometimes, new needs arise in between Roadmaps, and these can also receive funding in a RIIP.

A new Research Infrastructure Investment Plan comes out every 2 years.

The RIIP helps:

  • Support Australian researchers to remain internationally competitive
  • Maximise the potential for economic benefits from scientific discoveries.

National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS)

The National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) is the program that manages Australia’s national research infrastructure.

The NCRIS program is based on a set of Guidelines.

NCRIS currently supports 22 funded projects, plus pilot projects and an international membership – see for a list of currently funded projects.

The projects are led by organisations including universities, publicly funded research organisations and private companies.

The projects form a network involving over 200 delivery partnerships, and employing over 1900 highly skilled technical experts, researchers and facility managers.

You can read NCRIS case studies on the real life outcomes of research conducted at NCRIS facilities. These demonstrate the social and economic return from the investment in national research infrastructure.

National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy Census

The Census collects data to help evaluate how the projects in the NCRIS program are performing. The findings of the 2017-18 Census identified:

  • Key industries
  • Research outcomes
  • Use of facilities
  • Employment benefits

The census also found that for every $1 of investment the government put into NCRIS, there was total of $1.29 of co-investment from other sources.

Previous NRI Funding Programs

Funding support and initiatives for NRI prior to NCRIS include:

  • Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme (CRIS)
  • Super Science Initiative
  • Education Investment Fund (EIF)

Contact

For direct inquiries, email: NCRIS@dese.gov.au