Terms of Reference

National Research Infrastructure (NRI) Advisory Group


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Australia’s National Research Infrastructure (NRI) comprises a network of national significant facilities, services and expertise that support leading-edge research and innovation. It has been built over decades to underpin fundamental and applied research across many disciplines and includes a highly skilled NRI workforce.

The 2021 NRI Roadmap detailed a path for Australia to build on existing NRI foundations and deliver step-change capability to support current and emerging research needs. The Roadmap recommended that Government needs ongoing independent, long-term strategic advice on NRI priorities, trends and opportunities and that this was best achieved through the establishment of an advisory group with a relevant range of expertise.

There is an ongoing opportunity for Australia to make key investments in NRI, deliver step-change in research outcomes that can improve Australia’s standard of living, strengthen its economy, reduce its emissions and build sovereign capabilities that leverage our natural and competitive strengths. To assist Government in delivering this it will establish an NRI Advisory Group (the Group) to advise on NRI policy and investment strategies.

Role of the Advisory Group

The Group will provide the Australian Government with independent and long-term strategic advice on NRI priorities, trends (both domestic and international) and investment opportunities. The Group’s role is critical in supporting a modern NRI ecosystem that is flexible, relevant and responsive to emerging research needs and challenges.

The Group is expected to provide advice to Government on the following:

  • Reviewing current NRI facilities and services to identify opportunities for greater integration and alignment of functions across the network.
  • Consideration of whether the governance arrangements and business models of the current NRI facilities and services are optimal.
  • Ongoing review of the NRI principles, research challenges framework and step change opportunities to ensure the continued alignment of NRI with national priorities.
  • Issues impacting the NRI workforce such as support for NRI career pathways, addressing technical skills shortages and identification of capability gaps.
  • Identifying opportunities for co-investment that will increase collaboration and maximise the impact of research infrastructure funding provided by governments.
  • Development of future NRI roadmaps and informing the strategic direction of NRI investment plans to meet the needs of users and deliver impact across national priorities.

The Advisory Group will keep a watching brief on significant NRI issues, both domestically and overseas, and will advise government on emerging areas of NRI need.

Advisory Group members may form subcommittees to deliver focused advice in areas of priority and are expected to draw upon their expert networks to inform their advice.

Annual work plan

An annual work plan will be developed by the Advisory Group and agreed by the Minister for Education. The workplan will have regard to the NRI roadmap and investment plan processes. The Department of Education will be responsible for providing updates against the work plan to the Minister.

Out of Scope

The Group is an advisory body and will have no investment decision-making powers.


The Group will consist of 10-12 members, agreed to by the Minister for Education and the Minister for Industry and Science, to ensure a wealth of perspectives and adequate attendance at Group meetings. This Group will include up to five ex-officio members.

Members of the Group will bring diverse skills and knowledge and, collectively, should possess expertise and experience across the broad spectrum of Australia’s research and innovation landscape. The Group should include member(s):

  • who have a deep understanding of the Australian university and research sector (DVC-Rs, PVC-RIs);
  • who have strong links with the Australian business and innovation sector;
  • who represent the strategic direction and investment priorities of government (ex-officio member);
  • who represent current NRI facilities and services (ex-officio Chair of the NCRIS Directors);
  • Australia’s Chief Scientist (ex-officio member)

Term of membership

Terms of appointment will be staggered to ensure continuity in advice. Members will be appointed from 1 to 3 years, with the possibility of extension. The NCRIS representative member will rotate annually.


The Group will meet up to four times a year, with any further work deemed necessary to be conducted out of session. Meeting frequency may vary at different points of the national research infrastructure roadmap and investment plan cycles.