National Research Infrastructure

Australia is an established global leader in world-class research, and our research excellence is underpinned by access to excellent national research infrastructure.

National Research Infrastructure

National Research Infrastructure (NRI) refers to the:

  • Facilities, tools, equipment and other resources that are needed to perform research, and
  • Experts needed to run the infrastructure.

The infrastructure can be physical, like a supercomputer or microscope, or intangible, like a data collection or software platform.

NRI is essential to breakthrough research discoveries, adapting to new technologies, and addressing global challenges.

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.

Australian Government investments in NRI are:

  • guided by Roadmaps,
  • funded through investment plans, and
  • enacted through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) program.

This long-term, strategic approach to NRI provides strong foundations for Australia’s research sector, and a national network of facilities that respond to Australia’s research infrastructure needs.

Roadmaps

Providing infrastructure of the quality and scale required for cutting-edge research requires nationwide, long-term planning. The Government develops Roadmaps to identify Australia’s research infrastructure needs, set priorities, and guide investment. Roadmaps are prepared by an expert working group in consultation with the research community.

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 National Research Infrastructure Advisory Group

The National Research Infrastructure Advisory Group provides the Australian Government with independent strategic advice on NRI.

Find out more about the National Research Infrastructure Advisory Group.

Investment in NCRIS

The department’s investments in NRI provide specific funding for projects that will meet Australia’s research infrastructure needs.  

The NCRIS program maximises Australia’s investments by coordinating open access, targeted specialities across the country. It also helps coordinate co-funding by governments, universities, publicly funded research agencies (PFRAs) and industry across the research sector.  

This enables Australia to adapt to rapid technological shifts, engage in multidisciplinary and international research, and maintain world-leading status in complex and emerging fields that would otherwise be out of Australia’s financial reach.

This approach helps support Australian researchers to remain internationally competitive and maximise the potential for economic benefits from scientific discoveries.

Investment is focussed on infrastructure needs identified in Roadmaps, though sometimes new needs arise in between Roadmaps and these can also receive funding.  

Funding rounds are held every 1–2 years and are targeted towards specific NRI needs. NCRIS will focus on further funding in priority areas identified in the 2021 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap. In 2024 these are National Digital Research Infrastructure (NDRI) and Translational Research Infrastructure (TRI). 

Funding for the NCRIS program is based on a set of guidelines, most recently the:

For the most recent funding round outcomes, see:

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.

NCRIS projects are led by organisations including universities, publicly funded research organisations and private not-for-profit companies.

These projects form a network involving over 250 delivery partners, and employing over 1900 highly skilled technical experts, researchers and facility managers.

Search the NCRIS network to find the infrastructure you need.

NCRIS in 2022–23

Each year the Department of Education collects data on how the NCRIS program is performing. In 2022–23:

  • Around 90,000 Australian researchers used NCRIS
  • Around 10,000 international researchers used NCRIS
  • NCRIS had a 92% user satisfaction rate
  • 9,000 research publications referenced NCRIS facilities
  • For each $1 of government funding, $1.09 was coinvested by universities, publicly funded research agencies, state governments, research institutes and industry.  

You can also 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. 

Previous NRI Funding Programs

Other NRI funding support and initiatives which have now finished include:

  • Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme (CRIS)
  • Super Science Initiative
  • Education Investment Fund (EIF)

Contact

For direct inquiries, email NCRIS@education.gov.au