The Australian | 17 October 2012
Concerns are rising that $150 million intended for research infrastructure could be on the chopping block ahead of this month’s mini-budget. Any cuts to the next budgeted increase of the Sustainable Research Excellence (SRE) initiative, which provides funding for the indirect costs of grants, would particularly affect the research-intensive Group of Eight.
Commentators say it may be a more politically astute way of clawing back money by avoiding unwanted headlines if researchers lost jobs as a result of cuts to grants. But the Go8 say cuts to the SRE would be just as debilitating to research activity and would also force job cuts. University of Melbourne vice-chancellor Glyn Davis says
“There may be an incentive for government to go for the SRE rather than grants. just hope they recognise that both do the same thing; they are funding research. It is less political because there aren’t individuals thrown out on the street immediately. But the impact is no less real. We have factored the SRE increase into our budgets, we have employed researchers on the basis that we are going to get that money and we have bought equipment and started buildings.”