The May 2018 Federal Budget included announcement of Australian Government’s Research Infrastructure Investment Plan (RIIP), and additional investment $1.9 billion (over 12 years) in the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).
Key issues relevant to IMOS are as follows:
- Operational funding already approved for 2018-19 ($16.46M) will be extended for another four years (to 2022-23) with indexation.
- Subject to ongoing performance and future national priorities, the NCRIS commitment presents an opportunity for IMOS to be sustained out to 2029.
- New investment of $22M has also been made available over a five year period, from 2017-18 to 2021-22. The $22M is a mix of much needed capital re-investment, and increased operating expenditure.
Of primary importance is meeting the requirements of the Department of Education and Training (the Department), who administer NCRIS funding on behalf of Australian Government. The first major milestone has been achieved with the University of Tasmania (as Lead Agent for IMOS) signing the NCRIS funding agreement in late June 2018. This enables all of the funding to flow, subject to IMOS meeting its agreed milestones.
The IMOS Board has responsibility for approving business plans and progress reports provided to the Department in line with the NCRIS funding agreement. The Board met on 24 May 2018 and authorised the University of Tasmania to sign the NCRIS funding agreement. It also approved a 2018-22 planning process proposed by the IMOS office. The Board will meet on 21 August 2018 to review progress, and on 26 November 2018 to consider final recommendations on allocation of ongoing and new funding.
Key points to note about the IMOS 2018-22 planning process are as follows:
- It will cover the four financial years from 2018-19 to 2021-22. While we know that baseline funding (of $18.2M) will be available in 2022-23, this will be led in reserve pending further information about NCRIS funding for 2023-29.
- It will be guided by the IMOS Strategy 2015-25, National Science and Implementation Plan 2015-25, and IMOS Five Year Plan (2017-22), noting that funding available is not sufficient to fully implement all growth opportunities identified in the Five Year Plan.
- At the request of the IMOS Office, Facility Operators have provided four year budgets for the period 2018-22 based on approved scope of work in the current year (2018-19), plus indexation and allowance for capital replacement. This is an essential first step as it allows us to determine the level of funding available for new activities in line with the Five Year Plan. These budgets are under final review by the IMOS Office, and we thank our Operating Institutions and their staff for providing the required information in a timely and accurate manner.
Guidelines to inform preparation of IMOS Annual Business Plans and Budgets for the next two years (2017-19).
The Guidelines are available here.
In December 2015, the Australian Government released its National Innovation and Science Agenda. The Innovation Agenda includes an ongoing commitment to the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), backed by $1.5BN of investment over the next ten years.
During 2016, Australia’s Chief Scientist will chair an expert group to undertake a road-mapping process to identify specific future research infrastructure capability requirements. The new, ongoing commitment to NCRIS will commence from 2017-18 at the level of $150M per annum plus indexation i.e. $153.9M in 2017-18.
The IMOS community needs to be prepared to engage with future NCRIS. Development of a credible, scalable, multi-year plan is an essential step. It was proposed that we do this for a five year timeframe (2017-22) as the ten year NCRIS funding commitment is likely to have a mid-term review point.
The IMOS Five Year Plan (2017–22) is now available here (Issued 23 September 2016).
- The milestones and steps in the development of the IMOS Five Year Plan (2017-22) are outlined here.
Draft 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap
The Draft 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap was made available for comment in early December 2016. The IMOS response was submitted on 13 January 2017.
The Roadmap sets out Australia’s national research infrastructure priority areas for the coming decade. These priorities will support areas of research, science and innovation in areas where Australia excels, can deliver the greatest long-term national benefit and foster strategic international partnerships.
2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap Capability Issues Paper
As IMOS nears the end of its first decade of operation, it is important that we make plans for sustaining the observing system over the very long term. The IMOS Office and Advisory Board have developed a new forward strategy for the period 2015-25. After consultation with stakeholders on a draft version, the IMOS strategy has now been finalised - see below.
Updated November 2015