Research investment plan to be unveiled

Karen Sweeney
Australia's Chief Scientist Alan Finkel has developed a research investment plan for the nation

The federal government and scientists are hopeful of breakthroughs in disease detection and agriculture from a new national plan.

The government announced $2 billion over 10 years in last week's budget for a Research Infrastructure Investment Plan to provide state-of-the-art research facilities and create jobs.

The plan, released on Tuesday, is in response to a 2016 infrastructure road map developed by Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel.

"The benefits include new diagnostics for early disease detection, micro-sensors used in advanced agriculture and new metal alloys for construction and machinery," Dr Finkel said.

The government's plan adopts Dr Finkel's recommendation to focus on nine research areas, including digital data and e-research platforms, advanced fabrication and manufacturing, and biosecurity.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the funding would ensure scientists and researchers have the tools to support their work.

"Australia's prosperity depends on the work being done in these research labs today and into the future," he said.

The investment plan includes consolidating the national research collection's animal and plant specimens under one roof and upgrading sequencing and mass spectrometry equipment for medical research, agribusiness and conservation.

Research ship RV Investigator will be funded for an extra 120 days at sea, a total of 300 days.