Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Federal Budget 2014: a snapshot for science

A list of some key science-related Budget announcements

  • Australian Research Council: An efficiency dividend will be applied to research grants. This will result in a funding cut of $74.9 million over three years from 2015-16 to 2017-18
  • CSIRO: Savings of $111.4M over four years will be made from the CSIRO budget.
  • Research training scheme: Postgraduate research students will now be expected to make a contribution to their course costs. This will reduce spending by $173.7 million over three years from 2015-16. Higher education providers will be able to introduce fees at the rate of $3,900 per full time student for high cost courses, and $1,700 for low cost courses. Eligible students will be able to pay these fees using the HELP system.
  • Medical Research Future Fund: The Government will establish a Medical Research Future Fund on 1 January 2015 to provide additional funding for medical research, including through payments to NHMRC. The MREF will receive $1 billion from uncommitted funds in the Health and Hospitals Fund (HHF). Amounts equal to the estimated value of health savings measures published in 14-15 Budget will be reinvested in the Fund until it reaches a target capital level of $20 billion from 14-15 to 19-20. For example for every $7 patient contribution, $5 will be reinvested in the MREF. Net interest earnings on MREF capital will be available for drawdown the following financial year. This will result in funding doubling for the NHMRC by 2022-23. Capital of the Fund preserved in perpetuity. Investments to be managed by Future Fund Board of Guardians: $276.2m over three years from 2015 in net earnings from the Medical Research Future Fund to fund critical medical research in the medium to long term. MREF will provide sustained funding stream for medical research with payments from the MREF expected to reach around $1.0 billion per year from 2022-23. Establishment of the MREF will be subject to the passage of health savings legislation.
  • National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy: Funding of $150 million will be provided in 2015-16 following the expiration of existing funding.
  • Higher Education Reward Funding: This teaching rewards program will be ceased leading to savings of $121.1 million over five years
  • Australia-China Science and Research Fund: The Australia-China Science and Research Fund will be provided with an additional $10 million over the forward estimates, this will include:
    • $7m over four years for five new joint research centres focussed on the application and commercialisation of research outcomes in oil and gas, mining and mining services, medical research and advanced manufacturing
    • $0.6m over two years for the Australia-China Science Academies Symposium series
    • $0.8m over four years for the Australia-China young researchers exchange programme
    • Remainder for Department to administer the Australia-China Science and Research Fund
  • Australian Government Quality Teacher Program: This program will be continued with additional funding of $4.9 million over two years from 2013-14
  • Antarctic Gateway Partnerships: Spending of $24 million will be provided over three years from 2014-15 to facilitate enhanced scientific collaboration between UTas and CSIRO and the AAD. The cost of this measure will be met through reprioritisation of ARC funding
  • Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine: Through the ARC Linkage Programme $42.0 million will be provided to support the expansion of the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine at James Cook University.
  • Mid-career Future Fellowship: The Future Fellowship scheme will be continued for four years, with spending of $139.5 million provided in the forward estimates. This will provide up to 100 four year fellowships per year, with up to $50,000 per annum for research costs.
  • Primary Connections and Science by Doing: Additional funding of $5m will be provided over four years to maintain science education programmes
  • Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency: There will be savings of $31.1m by TEQSA
  • Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO): To cover the additional costs of operating the Open Pool Australian Lightwater an additional $31.6 million will be provided over four years. To dispose of used nuclear fuel, $31.6 million will be provided. In addition to the above spending, there will be a cut of $27.6 million over four years to ANSTO’s budget.
  • Australian Renewable Energy Agency: Savings of $354.2 million will be realised from this agency in 2017-18
  • Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships: Reduced funding which will result in savings of $162.9m in 2017-18
  • Marine National Facility: An additional $65.7 million over four years for the Marine National Facility to operate the new research vessel RV investigator. CSIRO will provide $21.1 million from its own resources to cover these costs. Provide additional $65.7 million over four years for the Marine National Facility to operate new research vessel RV investigator. CSIRO to provide $21.2 million from own resources.
  • Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS): Savings of $7.8M will be made from the AIMS budget.
  • PM science prize, National Science Week and Questacon Smart Skills: A total of $28 million over four years will be provided for these initiatives.
  • Boosting dementia research: Funding of $200 million will be provided over five years ($160 million in forward estimates). Of this $134m will be provided through the NHMRC and $26m from ARC. This funding will help establish a National Institute for Dementia Research to identify and coordinate research priorities and translate existing dementia research into policy and practice
  • Clinical research trials: A nationally consistent way for clinical research trials will be developed with $9.9m provided over five years from 14-15.
  • Antarctica: Additional funding of $68m over four years (only $9.4 listed in papers) will be provided to contribute o the maintenance of station operations and Antarctic science projects.
  • NCCARF: The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility will be restablished with $9.0 million provided over three years
  • Office of Water Science research programme: Saving of $10m over five years will be made, with the program terminating on 30 June 2016
  • National Environmental Science Programme: Achieve savings of $21.7m over four years through amalgamation of National Environmental Research Programme and the Australian Climate Change Science programme to form a new National Environmental Science Programme.
  • Research Development Corporations: $100 million over four years to fund research in partnership with RDCs
  • Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) program: $80 million in cuts