The 2021 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap (Roadmap) will set out Australia’s research infrastructure capability and future areas of need for the next five to ten years. As the key policy document on Australia’s national research infrastructure requirements it should enable Australia to maintain its research excellence, increase innovation and address emerging research challenges.
The Government committed to conducting a National Research Infrastructure Roadmap process every five years and Research Infrastructure Investment Plan every two years. The 2016 Roadmap provided advice to the Australian Government on future priorities for investment in key national research infrastructure capabilities. The Government responded to this with its 2018 and 2020 Investment Plans.
The 2021 Roadmap will be developed taking into consideration the current context, both in Australia and internationally. This will include examining lessons learned through the bushfire and COVID-19 pandemic crises and the degree of preparedness for similar issues in the future (in terms of infrastructure resilience). It will include the following analysis:
- Stocktake and review of Australia’s national research infrastructure and investment since the 2016 Roadmap.
- Identify thematic areas for the 2021 Roadmap framework and the connection to Government priorities.
- Identify opportunities to maximise the impact and outcomes of existing research infrastructure investment.
- Identify opportunities to improve the level of collaboration through research infrastructure between the research and industry sectors and particularly small to medium size enterprises.
- Examine and identify emerging research infrastructure areas of greatest need for Government attention, including examining international trends.
- Examine where research infrastructure investment can support Australia to be world-class and provide international leadership.
An Expert Working Group with membership agreed to by the Minister for Education and Youth and the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology will lead the development of the 2021 Roadmap supported by a taskforce within the Department of Education, Skills and Employment with secondees from across Government agencies. This process will include the following activities and will culminate in a report to Government that outlines the Working Group’s views on areas of future investment in national research infrastructure:
- seeking expert advice on research infrastructure capability and future research needs
- consulting with the research community, the university sector, research funders, state and territory governments, peak organisations, existing facility operators, publicly funded research agencies, private research institutes, international organisations, Government agencies and industry and business.
- providing stakeholders and the community with the opportunity to input on policy discussion papers and a draft Roadmap.
- providing updates on progress and presenting the final 2021 Roadmap to the Minister for Education and Youth and the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology.
The EWG is expected to deliver a report to government by the end of 2021.