The Australian Government is committed to strengthening the capacity of Australian universities to deliver world-class research training in world-class research environments and has put in place incentives to encourage "the best and brightest Australian and international students to undertake higher research degrees and to encourage demand through better linkages with business".
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Australia has a long standing tradition of innovative, exciting research. Meet the people who top their fields, who think Australia is the best place to work...
Universities are the primary source of research training in Australia, with an estimated 70% of university research relying on post graduates.
The Australian Research Council (ARC), which advises the government on research matters and manages grants, provides funding to almost 4,650 research projects Australia-wide, involving more than 10,200 researchers. But it also has international scope.
Excellence in Research
Through the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative the ARC compares Australia's university research effort against international benchmarks, to improve the quality of research and identify emerging research areas and opportunities.
Opportunities for international collaboration throughout the research community are on the increase; the first round of the ARC Future Fellowships scheme in 2009 saw 19 Australian mid-career researchers return home, and 22 international researchers come to Australia. As well, ARC’s Linkage program helps to broker partnerships between researchers and industry, government and community organisations, both in Australia and overseas.
Naturally, universities also establish their own links. For example, in late-2009, the Group of Eight (Go8) – a coalition of the Universities of Adelaide, Melbourne, NSW, Queensland, Sydney, Western Australia, ANU and Monash University – funded 36 new joint research projects under the Go8-Germany Research Co-operation Scheme.
Since signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in 2007, the scheme has provided almost EUR 2 million to foster research collaboration. The scheme targets early career researchers, funding the mobility costs of collaboration on themes including sustainable energy production, emissions trading and migration.
Research & Development
Australia also has a strong research and development capability. There are about 50,000 people in higher education organisations involved in R & D.
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the biggest government R & D agency in Australia, is one of the world’s largest and most diverse research institutions. It has a staff of about 6,500 includes 4,000 scientists and other researchers working in more than 50 laboratories and field stations in Australia and overseas. Internationally, CSIRO is involved in more than 740 research activities with scientific organisations and agencies in more than 80 countries. Their research covers health, agribusiness, information technology, manufacturing, sustainable energy, mining and minerals, space, the environment and natural resources.