Research infrastructure roadmap to guide investment

Federal Innovation Minister Senator the Hon. Kim Carr recently released a roadmap for the future of Australia’s research infrastructure.

The 2011 Strategic Roadmap for Australian Research Infrastructure sets out the government’s priority areas for national, collaborative research infrastructure over the next five-to-10 years.

The roadmap was developed by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research through extensive consultation with the research community and a broad range of stakeholders.

The roadmap includes a section on sustainable energy that indicates the potential for disruptive technologies in energy systems affecting sectors such as energy generation, hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation, vehicle technology and electrical power networks.

“To capture a portion of the high-value growth markets arising from such developments, Australia will require infrastructure that supports research along the value chain from materials design to component prototyping and testing,” the report states.

The government is driving a range of activities, including the Clean Energy Future plan and the associated Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Clean Energy Innovation Program.

ARENA will administer the $3.2 billion in Australian Government support for research and development, demonstration and commercialisation of renewable energy technologies, including a number of current renewable energy initiatives.

Senator Carr said world-class research was the key to a thriving innovation system and world-class research required world-class tools.

“Research infrastructure is the platform that enables Australian researchers to contribute at the forefront of science and research,” Senator Carr said.

“This roadmap sets out the facilities that will be needed by researchers and industries around the world, to foster partnerships and lead to groundbreaking discoveries and practical solutions.”

Senator Carr said facilities funded as a result of previous roadmaps were achieving great things and a number had been recognised as world-leading initiatives.

“This roadmap will certainly focus those efforts and it will complement the work being undertaken across the government to ensure a richer, fairer and greener future, with high-skill, high-wage jobs,” he said.