Australia is an established global leader in world-class research. The Australian Government helps maintain this reputation by ensuring researchers have access to cutting edge research infrastructure.
National Research Infrastructure
National Research Infrastructure (NRI) refers to the:
- Facilities, equipment and resources that are needed to perform research
- Experts needed to run the infrastructure
Infrastructure can be physical, like a supercomputer or microscope, or intangible, like a data collection or software platform.
The Australian Government has invested $4 billion over 12 years (from 2018 to 2029) to support important pieces of national research infrastructure and make sure Australian researchers can access them.
NRI is a critical platform for the research sector. It supports Australians through:
- Countless more jobs, including in small business, across almost every sector of the economy
- Research that supports improved health and wellbeing of Australians
- The capacity to address critical national issues such as food security and support for a healthy environment
- Policies relating to research and science and development
Australian Government investments in NRI are:
- guided by Roadmaps,
- funded through investment rounds, and
- enacted through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) program
This has resulted in a mature and networked suite of projects supporting Australian research.
The Government develops roadmaps to guide investment in research infrastructure. They are prepared by an expert working group in consultation with the research community.
Roadmaps identify researcher needs and set priorities for Australia's national research infrastructure.
A new Roadmap is created every 5 years.
The 2021 NRI Roadmap is now available. To find the 2021 Roadmap and information on its development, visit the 2021 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap page.
The 2016 Roadmap and information on its development is also available on the departments website.
The department’s investments in NRI provide specific funding for a set of projects that will meet Australia’s research infrastructure needs.
Research infrastructure needs are identified in the most recent Roadmap. Sometimes, new needs arise in between Roadmaps, and these can also receive funding. Funding rounds are held every 1-2 years, and are specifically designed to meet the identified NRI needs at that time.
This approach helps support Australian researchers to remain internationally competitive, and maximise the potential for economic benefits from scientific discoveries.
National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS)
The National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) is the program that manages Australia’s national research infrastructure.
NCRIS currently supports 26 funded projects and an international membership – see the list of currently funded projects.
The projects are led by organisations including universities, publicly funded research organisations and private companies.
The projects form a network involving over 200 delivery partnerships, and employing over 1900 highly skilled technical experts, researchers and facility managers.
You can read NCRIS case studies on the real life outcomes of research conducted at NCRIS facilities. These demonstrate the social and economic return from the investment in national research infrastructure.
National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy Census
- Key industries
- Research outcomes
- Use of facilities
- Employment benefits
The census also found that for every $1 of investment the government put into NCRIS, there was total of $1.29 of co-investment from other sources.
Previous NRI Funding Programs
Funding support and initiatives for NRI prior to NCRIS include:
- Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme (CRIS)
- Super Science Initiative
- Education Investment Fund (EIF)
For direct inquiries, email NCRIS@education.gov.au