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Federal Government funding a fillip for international S&T.



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FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FUNDING A

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FUNDING A FILLIP FOR INTERNATIONAL S&T International science and technology collaboration received a significant boost today when the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Nick Minchin, announced funding of up to $750,000 a year over five years to support Australian participation in research and development projects with the European Union under the Framework Research and Technology Development

Program. 30 May 2001

30 May 2001            01/234

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FUNDING A

FILLIP FOR INTERNATIONAL S&T

International science and technology collaboration received a significant boost today when the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Nick Minchin, announced funding of up to $750,000 a year over five years to support Australian participation in research and development projects with the European Union under the Framework Research and Technology Development Program.

Senator Minchin announced the funding when he formally opened the inaugural gathering of the Forum for European-Australian Science and Technology (FEAST) cooperation in Canberra.

The FEAST initiative was conceived in August 2000 as a one-off meeting of European researchers in Australia.  It grew into an ongoing project which aims to highlight multilateral and bilateral S&T cooperation between Europe and Australia and identify priority areas.

Senator Minchin said S&T was high on the Federal Government’s agenda and the new funding made under the Innovation Access Program was testimony to the Government’s commitment to fostering ground-breaking research.

“The Innovation Access funds were made possible through the $2.9 billion the Federal Government has set aside over five years through the Backing Australia’s Ability statement by the Prime Minister earlier this year,” Senator Minchin said.

“It is through this significant investment in our nation’s innovation capacity that initiatives like FEAST can be instituted.

“The FEAST concept has had ringing endorsement from scientists, industry representatives here and in Europe.

“I firmly believe that the potential for collaborative S&T relationships between Australia and Europe is

almost limitless and that through FEAST we will be able to build substantially on an already solid base.”

Senator Minchin said Australia produced about two per cent of the world’s S&T output and had 32 S&T agreements with 19 countries around the world.

“It is vital that, through our collaborative links, we have access to the other 98 per cent of the world’s S&T output,” Senator Minchin said.  “It will keep us apace with leading-edge technology and allow us to continue coming up with innovations like the cochlear implant and the flight recorder black box.”

The forum, which is being held over two days at the Australian Academy of Science and the ANU in Canberra, features a number of prominent speakers in the scientific community including the chair of the Australian Research Council, Professor Vicki Sara, the Chief Scientist, Dr Robin Batterham, the Vice-Chancellor of the ANU, Professor Ian Chubb, and the Director General (Research) of the European Commission, Achilleas Mitsos.

The workshop proceedings are being broadcast on the Internet and can be followed at www.france.net.au/feast/

Contact:   Graeme Rankin

02 6213 7349

0408 466960

CMR 289-01

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