The Australian government has made available A$365 million (NZ$415 million) in funding to all states and territory governments for a host of projects including the creation of swimming micro-robots, anti-venoms from jellyfish and galactic mapping of distant eight billion year old universes.
Under the Australian Research Council (ARC) National Competitive Grants Programme, 1,154 research grants were awarded to universities for 2007. These include Discovery and Linkage Projects as well as smaller schemes, Discovery Indigenous Researchers Development, Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities, and Linkage International.
Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop says 380 organisations are pledging an additional 177% to the government funding for successful Linkage projects, totalling $105.4 million in cash and in kind.
“When an independent organisation invests in an ARC-supported research programme, it can be confident that it is committing its hard-earned dollars not only to a worthwhile project, but to a project undertaken by some of Australia’s best researchers,” Bishop says.
The programmes received a record 4,834 applications with government funding increasing up to 12% for Discovery Projects (A$334,267 per project) and 9% (A$285,745 per project) for Linkage Projects.
Funds will be supplied over five years and will be split between New South Wales (A$124.2 million for 383 projects), Victoria (A$83.3 million for 272 projects), Western Australia (A$21.7 million for 74 projects), South Australia (A$18.5 million for 71 projects), Queensland (A$65.6 million for 197 projects), Tasmania (A$8.3 million for 24 projects), Northern Territory (A$631,967 for four research projects) and the Australian Capital Territory (A$42.5 million for 129 projects).
Projects include Monash University’s “Asymmetrically twisted structures to form high-power rotary micromotors for in-vivo swimming microrobots” project, “Understanding how the brain uses sensory information to guide reaching and grasping movements”, as well as Swinburne University’s “The last eight billion years of cosmic evolution”.