Australia's marine scientists are set to continue benefiting from world-class research infrastructure managed by the University of Tasmania, thanks to a Federal Government funding boost.
Federal Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham recently announced a $14,243,000 allocation to the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) for 2016-17, under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).
IMOS is led by the University of Tasmania in partnership with the Australian marine and climate community.
It operates a wide range of observing equipment throughout Australia's coastal and open oceans, making all of its data accessible for science, research, teaching, and other uses.
IMOS Director Tim Moltmann welcomed the Government's latest commitment of funds.
"Continued support from the Australian Government at this level is fantastic news," he said.
"IMOS is currently in its 10th year of operation, and these new funds will take us into the first year of a second decade."
Mr Moltmann said funding continuity was necessary in order to study issues that were large scale and long term.
He said variability and change in climate and weather were driven by the ocean and substantial resources were extracted from Australia's ocean territory, and needed to be done so safely, efficiently and sustainably.
"Studying these important issues requires ongoing access to high quality observations and data," Mr Moltmann said.
"That's what IMOS provides."
In addition to the 2016-17 NCRIS funding allocations, details of the Expert Working Group that will set the future direction of national research infrastructure for the next decade were also released.
Mr Moltmann said the Australian Government, under its 'Building world-class national research infrastructure' initiative, had given the NCRIS $150 million a year of indexed funding certainty through the National Innovation and Science Agenda, for the next 10 years.
"Perhaps even more exciting than the new funding for next year is the long term commitment to NCRIS," Mr Moltmann said.
"For the first time in several years we can again begin to make multi-year plans for the future."
Mr Moltmann said the ability to plan into the future was particularly important for a research infrastructure project.
He emphasised that IMOS was not funding research but was laying down an infrastructure that had enabled hundreds and hundreds of projects to date, and would enable thousands more into the future.
IMOS is the only NCRIS project led out of Tasmania, and the only one led by a University outside of the Group of Eight.
"Leadership of IMOS plays to the University of Tasmania's strengths through our research intensiveness, our priority in marine, Antarctic and maritime research, and our partnerships with the Tasmanian science community and beyond," Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Brigid Heywood said.
"We're delighted by the ongoing support provided through this NCRIS funding."
This news item was originally published on the University of Tasmania's website on 13 April.