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 $1.9 billion over 12 years (from 2018 to 2030) to support important pieces of national research infrastructure and make sure Australian researchers can access them.
The 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 includes:
- A $2.2 billion investment to address NRI priorities
- Plans for future investment
- NRI resources including:
- Information on projects
- Reports, surveys and census information
- Information sheets
- Program guidelines and reports
Roadmaps outline Australia’s research infrastructure needs. They are prepared by an expert working group after consulting with the research community.
Consultation for the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap included:
- Previous Roadmaps
- The Clark Review of Research Infrastructure
- The National Research Infrastructure Capability Issues Paper
- Public consultations on the issues paper
The roadmap identifies 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.
Read the Government Response to the Roadmap.
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.
The NCRIS network currently supports national research capability through 24 active projects. It is made up of more than 200 institutions employing well over 1900 highly skilled technical experts, researchers and facility managers.
For a list of infrastructure projects currently funded by NCRIS, go to funded research infrastructure projects.
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.
Data infrastructure strategy
Data is an important part of research directed at major challenges. The Australian Research Data Infrastructure Strategy responds to the 3 key elements needed for collaborative research:
- Appropriate infrastructure
- A collaborative and open culture for research data
- Researchers and data experts with the right skills
Funding support and initiatives for NRI prior to NCRIS include:
- Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme (CRIS)
- Super Science Initiative
- Education Investment Fund (EIF)
International collaboration and shared research infrastructure is supported and encouraged. International collaboration activities include:
- Research infrastructure workshops
- Participating in conferences and forums
National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy Census
The Census collects data to help evaluate how the projects in the NCRIS program are performing. A snapshot of the findings of the 2017-18 NRI includes:
- 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.
For direct inquiries, email: NCRIS@dese.gov.au