Scientists ‘surprised’ by research funding conditions

The heads of some of the country's leading scientific facilities say they were caught by surprise late last year to discover that funding for world-renowned research infrastructure was linked to the passage of university fee deregulation, writes Matthew Knott for The Sydney Morning Herald.

Education Minister Christopher Pyne has said that A$150 million (US$115 million) funding for the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, or NCRIS – which has been described as the "backbone of research in Australia" – is contingent on the government's stalled higher education reforms passing the Senate. NCRIS facilities directly employ 1,700 highly skilled staff at 27 sites across the country.

Labor and the Greens have accused the government of trying to "blackmail" the Senate. Astronomer and Nobel laureate Professor Brian Schmidt said last week that the cuts would be a "hit to research like I have never seen in the 20 years I have been in Australia".
Full report on The Sydney Morning Herald site