CRC Program cut by $80 million
Staley: "Disappointing, but we have the chance to prove ourselves"
The Commonwealth Budget has included a cut to the Cooperative Research Centre Program of $80 million over the forward estimates. The current funding round will not proceed as planned with only continuing CRCs able to apply for funding at the 3 July deadline. Funding for the following two years of new CRCs will be affected, but the extent is not yet clear. The future of the Program will be determined following a review, which was already scheduled to be conducted this year.
"Obviously it is bad news" said CRC Association CEO Tony Peacock last night. "I hoped we had done enough to show the Government the value of the CRCs, and I do believe they understand its value. CRCs deliver applied research that has been demonstrated to boost GDP".
"$80 million is a lot, and I feel terrible for those people that have been working so hard on the current funding round. But no existing CRCs are affected, including those in contract negotiations following the last round. We have a major review coming up and we need to redouble our efforts again to demonstrate the value of the Program" said Dr. Peacock.
"The coming review will be critical to our future" said CRC Association Chairman Tony Staley. "Every time we have been reviewed in the past, we have shown that cooperative, large scale collaboration with the end-users in the driver's seat is effective. Seeing the amazing outcomes from the current CRCs, I'm confident we can show that value to the Government".
Dr. Peacock pointed out that the Government had to make some very tough choices. "Obviously, I'd have preferred no cuts. But I recognise that the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme and the ARC's Future Fellows scheme are really valuable too, and they were without any budget. So I'm glad resources were found for them. Many of our partner agencies like CSIRO and DSTO are going to go through pain, and others have gone altogether. The Government has to make these hard decisions and our job is to make sure CRCs continue to perform. Clearly the Government wants to see effective applied research working closely with industry -- no one is better positioned to deliver that than the CRCs".