Research funding to help unis lead nation's COVID recovery

7 October 2020

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC says the Federal Government's $1 billion investment in university research is a welcome boost for the nation and universities.

The funding will also allow The Australian National University (ANU) - the university that serves the entire nation - to invest in research jobs, according to Professor Schmidt.

The Government has announced a one-off extra $1 billion for research, to be paid to universities over 2020 and 2021 as part of the Federal Budget.

"This much-needed funding will ensure that vital work that takes place in our labs and in our libraries all across the country can continue," Professor Schmidt said.

"This work helps drive and develop the new technologies, policies, laws, medicines, products, industries and jobs that not only improve the lives of millions of Australians, but ensures this nation's future prosperity.

"I want to thank the Education Minister Dan Tehan, as well as the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, for this much-needed cash injection, for their significant investment in university research and for their investment in Australians everywhere."

Professor Schmidt added the funding would go a long way to assist the university sector as it meets the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic fallout.

"It is no secret our universities are doing it tough this year because of the coronavirus crisis," Professor Schmidt said.

"Here at ANU, this new funding will mean that we will be able to save jobs.  

"We are still in for a tough time and we will need to cut some jobs due to falling revenue and COVID-19. But, this short-term boost means more of our researchers can keep doing important work.

"We will be looking closely at the detail of last night's funding announcement and let our community know what it means for us here at ANU as soon as we are able." 

Professor Schmidt also said the University was "doubling down" on its commitment to the nation and the University's "unique national mission".

"ANU research is what powers the nation's development," Professor Schmidt said.

"Our work covers areas as diverse as space, artificial intelligence, national security, cyber, food security, climate change, stopping bushfires, preventing pandemics, advancing First Nations, meeting global economic challenges, providing frontline health support and advice, and developing new medicines, treatments and vaccines well into the future. 

"I thank the Government for confirming their commitment to research, and to ANU and its special role for Australia and Australians.

"It is a role that we take seriously and one that we have been committed to for more than 70 years and are committed to for many more decades to come."