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The 2021 National Research Infrastructure (NRI) Roadmap has been released, confirming that ANFF’s strategic direction aligns with national thinking and addresses sector-wide challenges.

The Roadmap was launched with an announcement that the Commonwealth Government will invest $900 million over five years on the tools, technologies and skills to make Australian research and development even more globally competitive.

ANFF’s Chair, Emeritus Professor Chris Fell said: ‘With secured long-term funding, organisations such as ANFF can afford to be ambitious and undertake activities that make a long-lasting impact on Australia’s R&D environment. The funding makes it possible to plan for the future, with targeted investment in the people and capabilities that will deliver significant successes and real changes for many years to come.’

The NRI roadmap was developed over the past year in consultation with the research sector. It recommends continued investment in research infrastructure, including the Australian National Fabrication Facility, Microscopy Australia, the National Imaging Facility, Australian Research Data Commons, and Bioplatforms Australia.

It also identifies challenges to the NRI sector, including a need to increase the commercial impact of R&D and build on human capital to allow Australia to maintain its place at the forefront of global research. The findings also highlight a need for improved engagement with industry, identifying that many companies simply don’t know that NCRIS-funded capabilities exist, or are available for anyone to use.

ANFF CEO, Dr Jane Fitzpatrick said: ‘While we still have ground to cover, ANFF is encouraged to see that our internal strategic direction has been validated by this report, including a focus on good governance. Improving and enhancing our industry engagement and commercialisation activities is central to ANFF’s current strategy. We’ve been working with external experts and expanding our service offering over the past few years to better support Australia’s technology community to create value from Australian ideas.’

ANFF recently established a new platform that helps deliver ANFF-enabled projects to market. The initiative, called ANFF-C, identifies qualifying projects that have commercial promise, and provides significant out-of-lab resources in order to make them investment ready.

The ANFF Network is improving its industry engagement by building an application-focused Client Engagement Facilitator team that is focused on obtaining an intimate understanding of a client’s research, development and commercialisation plans and providing a roadmap where ANFF’s expertise and infrastructure can be of assistance.

And in recognising the importance of a highly skilled workforce, ANFF is working with TAFE SA to help build a nano-technician workforce in order to support the growing tech sector. This is in addition to training hundreds of early career researchers on industry-relevant nanofabrication processes every year. Read more about our work with TAFE SA here.

Jane concluded: ‘As an NRI provider and cornerstone of Australian R&D, ANFF has been enabling scientists, engineers and industry to succeed in their projects for the past 15 years. We’ve been continually adapting throughout that time as our client’s needs evolve, as policy needs change and as industries expand and demand new services. The NRI Roadmap shows we’re well on the right track, and we can now look forward to being able to support our brilliant clients in new and exciting ways for many years to come.’

Read the NRI Roadmap here.