13 May 2014

Future Fellowships scheme receives ongoing funding in Federal Budget

Australian Research Council (ARC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Professor Aidan Byrne, has welcomed the Australian Government's ongoing commitment to the Future Fellowships scheme announced in the 2014–15 Federal Budget.

The Budget contains ongoing funding for the Future Fellowships scheme enabling the award of 100 fellowships per year in the forward estimates. The Future Fellowships scheme supports Australia's best and brightest mid-career researchers to undertake research in areas of critical national importance.

"This is a good outcome for the ARC and for the research sector," Professor Byrne said.

"Future Fellowships is a great scheme—it has worked extremely well and is strongly supported throughout the research sector.

"As many know, this was a terminating scheme, so the funding announced in the budget provides the sector with long-term certainty and it is a positive outcome in a tight fiscal environment," he said.

The Budget also highlights a number of significant new measures that the ARC will administer, including:

  • Special Research Initiative for Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes—this initiative will fund a national collaborative network to coordinate team-based cross-disciplinary research projects (as announced in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2013-14).
  • $42 million for a Special Research Initiative for Tropical Health and Medicine—this initiative will support the expansion of the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine at James Cook University.
  • $26 million for targeted research in the field of dementia—the ARC will work closely with the National Health and Medical Research Council on this initiative to ensure that dementia research takes into account the social, economic and cultural impacts and complex consequences of dementia.
  • $24 million for a Special Research Initiative for an Antarctic Gateway—this initiative will facilitate scientific collaboration between the University of Tasmania, CSIRO and the Australian Antarctic Division and improve the partnerships which provide observations of land, sea and ice in the Antarctic.

Professor Byrne acknowledged the budget measure to deliver a 3.25% efficiency dividend, which is to be taken from the ARC's administered funds, however said the ARC had fared well in a tight budget.

"While the ARC will need to make savings, I am more than pleased that we have secured an ongoing commitment to the Future Fellowships scheme and will also take on the administration of some very important research initiatives that will deliver important outcomes for the nation."

Media contact:
ARC Stakeholder Relations
0412 623 056 or communications@arc.gov.au