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Agreement secures future of the Australian Synchrotron



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SENATOR THE HON CHRIS EVANS Leader of the Government in the Senate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research

HON LOUISE ASHER

Victorian Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business

MEDIA RELEASE

28 March, 2012

Agreement secures future of the Australian Synchrotron

The future of one of the nation’s landmark research facilities - the Australian Synchrotron - has been secured under a $100 million agreement between the Australian and Victorian Governments.

Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans, today visited the Synchrotron to announce $69 million to be provided by the Australian Government to secure the operation of the Synchrotron over the next four years, with an additional $26 million from the Victorian Government.

“Without this funding deal, the ongoing operation of the facility was in doubt, jeopardising important research here in Australia,” Senator Evans said.

“This landmark agreement underscores our commitment to leading-edge scientific research and will guarantee that Australia continues to drive innovation and be competitive at the forefront of scientific discovery.

“Research conducted at the Australian Synchrotron is cutting edge and spans the science spectrum from medicine to manufacturing.

“The facility accelerates electrons to create light beams a million times brighter than the sun. These intense beams allow researchers and scientists to examine sub-microscopic structures to improve research in medicine, agriculture, bioscience, engineering, forensics and environmental science.”

Victorian Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business, Louise Asher, said the new arrangement meant the Australian Synchrotron will continue to provide a platform for future medical research and innovation in Victoria.

“The Synchrotron has found its rightful home as a truly national science facility,” she said.

“Victorian researchers and industry partners will continue to experience the benefits of ready access to advanced scientific infrastructure in this State.”

Research conducted at the Synchrotron, which is the size of a football field, has already:

laid the foundations for the development of a new class of anti-malarial drugs;

identified the distributions of nutrients in cereal grains which could help improve the nutritional value of foods; and helped develop an energy efficient high-temperature superconductor (HTS) that could be used in motors, generators and transformers.

“The Australian Synchrotron is used by major companies for research. For example, research is being conducted at the facility on behalf of Rio Tinto to recover copper from ores and tailings. Research has also been conducted for BHP Billiton and Cochlear, amongst many other companies,” Senator Evans said.

The Australian Synchrotron hosts more than 3000 researchers each year and conducts about 500 experiments each year.

New Zealand has given an in-principle commitment to contribute to the operational funding of the Synchrotron over the next four years period.

The Australian and Victorian Governments have been strong supporters of the Australian Synchrotron, with the Commonwealth having already committed more than $114 million to the facility since 2006 and the Victorian Government having contributed more than $207 million.

Senator Evans’ Media contact: Amy McKenna 0408 570 603 Hon Louise Asher’s Media Contact: Paul Price 0400 507 023