Science budget boosted
The Federal budget has provided a record $9.3 billion for science and research across all portfolios, up from $8.9 billion last year.
Health and medical research has avoided anticipated losses with funding to the National Health and Medical Research Council increasing to $850 million from $786 million last year. Funding for the Australian Research Council has increased by $101.5 million to $801.2 million.
Programs that have seen reductions include the Cooperative Research Centre program, which has been cut by a further $7.4 million to $165.2 million for 2011-12, continuing a declining trend in funding since 2007-08 when funding for the program peaked at $211.9 million. This year’s budget provides for a total funding cut over four years of $33.4 million.
Another program to take a cut is the Collaborative Research Networks, which will see funding reduced by $10 million a year over two years from 2013. The Collaborative Research Networks program was established last year with funding of $114 million for government grants over six years from 2011. The program was designed to encourage less research-intensive smaller and regional universities to develop their research capacity and adapt to a performance-driven research system by teaming up with other institutions in areas of common interest.
Funding for Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) has fallen from $444 million to $434 million for 2011-12, and the Rural Research and Development Corporations will receive $26.6 million less this year, down from a total of $241.3 last year to $214.7 this year.