National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS)


In 2004, in Backing Australia’s Ability: Building Our Future through Science and Innovation, the Australian Government announced its decision to establish the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). This emerged from the recognition that Australia’s research community was pivotal in solving the economic, social and environmental issues relevant to Australia’s future prosperity.

It identified the need to provide Australian researchers with major research facilities and the supporting infrastructure and networks necessary for world-class research.

The design of NCRIS was build on work undertaken during 2003 by the National Research Infrastructure Taskforce (NRIT) established to develop a nationally integrated research infrastructure strategy. NRITs report, released in March 2004, identified a number of principles to underpin the establishment of a national research infrastructure strategy. NCRIS also draws on the report of the Review of Closer Collaboration Between Universities and Major Publicly Funded Research Agencies.

As successor to the Major National Research Facilities (MNRF) Programme and the Systemic Infrastructure Initiative (SII), which ended in 2005-2006, and following a period of consultation, an NCRIC Strategic Roadmap and funding guidelines was developed and released in mid 2005.

In implementing NCRIS, the initial step was identifying the sixteen priority areas (Capabilities) for investment, followed by development of the first round of specific funding proposals for which twelve of the original sixteen capabilities successfully funded.

The Strategic Roadmap was revised and updated in August 2008.The purpose of the Strategic Roadmap is to identify areas in which investments in research infrastructure will substantially enhance the capacity of the national research and innovation system in delivering national benefits. The NCRIS Advisory Committee adopted a portfolio approach to developing the Roadmap to ensure balance across different priority areas and the broad effectiveness of the innovation system.

The success of the Program is evident by the adoption and implementation by a range of nations now engaged in strategic planning to address and fund research infrastructure priorities at the national and international level.

This strategic, collaborative approach to investment has been largely embraced and supported by the research community, and provides a starting point for future research infrastructure programs.

The NCRIS network currently supports national research capability through 27 active projects and is comprised of 222 institutions employing almost 1700 highly skilled technical experts, researchers and facility managers. NCRIS facilities are used by over 35,000 researchers; both domestically and internationally.

More information is available on the NCRIS website.