Major boost to Australia-India science collaboration
The Australian Government will make a major new investment in building scientific links with India, with support for research efforts targeted at the challenges both countries face in energy, food and water, health and the environment.
The Government will invest:
• $50 million for the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund
• $1 million for an innovative Australia-India solar cooling research project
• $20 million for research into dryland farming in India.
The additional $50 million over five years for the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund will commence financial year 2009-10.
The Indian Government has agreed to match Australia's increased investment.
The expanded fund will:
• continue the successful competitive grants program which supports ‘bottom-up’ investigator-initiated research;
• introduce new projects demonstrating both excellence in science and a clear path to end use for either commercial or public good;
• introduce a fellowship program to support exchanges for Australian and Indian researchers.
Through the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund, Australia’s largest bilateral research fund, the Australian Government has already invested $20 million since 2006 to enable Australian scientists to engage in leading edge collaborative research with Indian scientists.
The Fund, a joint initiative of the Australian and Indian governments, is already supporting fifty projects across the spectrum of scientific disciplines including astronomy, climate change and evolution, malaria vaccines, the impact of global warming on agriculture, water management, computing and biotechnology.
In addition, the Prime Minister announced a further $1 million for an innovative Australia-India solar cooling research project.
The project between CSIRO and The Energy and Resources Institute aims to develop a zero emissions solar cooling system for use in remote rural communities in un-electrified areas.
An estimated 400 million Indians do not have access to electricity, in many cases because they live too far from the main grid infrastructure, while the lack of cold storage leads to the spoilage of an estimated 20 million tonnes of fruit and vegetables annually.
Research into dryland farming in India is also being supported with $20 million over 5 years through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.
The Rudd Government is committed to engaging with India on a long-term, strategic basis and recognises the central role science and technology collaboration plays in the broader relationship.
The increased investment in the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund will, in particular, seek to support more applied research and engagement of industry partners in order to produce outcomes that help address some of the pressing challenges that both countries face.
12 NOVEMBER 2009