Acknowledging technology and scientific changes over time, the Government’s approach to strategic long term planning for National Research Infrastructure (NRI) incorporates the development of regular roadmaps (every five years) to refresh the ten-year vision of the NRI system based on strategic policy and priorities for research, in consultation with the research sector. Investment plans will be developed every two years to reaffirm and update investment activities informed by these roadmaps.
Recent strategic planning and investment processes
The 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap (2016 Roadmap) was released in May 2017. The 2016 Roadmap was developed by an Expert Working Group led by Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO. The 2016 Roadmap made nine recommendations and identified nine focus areas, which comprised 36 priority areas for investment.
Research Infrastructure Investment Plan
The 2018 Research Infrastructure Investment Plan and 2020 Research Infrastructure Investment Plan (Investment Plans) respond to the key recommendations outlined in the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap.
The 2018 Investment Plan was developed by the Department of Education and Training and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and released on 15 May 2018. It outlines $2.2 billion in additional funding to address the 2016 Roadmap’s recommendations and NRI priorities. Between 2017-18 and 2021‒22, $572.3 million of this funding will be provided to 24 existing NRI facilities, the European Southern Observatory and to support eight scoping studies for new capabilities. Most of this funding will be made through NCRIS. The eight scoping studies will help Government understand NRI requirements for new capabilities, and their outputs will be considered as part of a future Investment Plan.
The remaining $1.63 billion of investment will be made available from 2022-23 through NCRIS. The allocation of this funding to facilities and projects will be considered by Government following consideration of future roadmaps and investment plans which will provide advice on research and investment priorities.
Past reviews and processes
In December 2015, the Government announced $150 million per annum of ongoing funding (indexed) to fund the operations of NCRIS projects, as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda. The 2015 Clark Review of Research Infrastructure, led by Mr Philip Clark, found NCRIS to be an appropriate program design and recommended the Government develop a Roadmap to identify priority projects to fund. Successive Roadmaps in 2006, 2008 and 2011 identified priorities and set out recommendations relating to NRI.