Australian higher education will be one of the major beneficiaries of a federal government scheme to boost national innovation developments.
Under plans announced by Australian prime minister Paul Keating, the government will spend an additional Aus$466 million (Pounds 230 million) over the next four years on an innovation strategy. Astronomy, genetic research and seismography were all allocated large grants.
The Australia Telescope - a joint venture between Australia and Britain - will receive an Aus$11 million upgrade while a genetic research facility will be established, along with a national airborne research centre, including a high-flying plane for remote sensing and analysis of the ozone layer.
The government also announced its intention to establish a further five co-operative research centres to encourage academics, scientists and big business to collaborate on applied research issues.
Business is being urged to expand its own research and development through a continuation of the government's concession scheme under which firms can claim a 150 per cent tax deduction.
Vice chancellors welcomed the plans, particularly the announcement of five new research centres and the assurance that postgraduate scholarships would remain exempt from taxwhen provided clearly for educational purposes.
But they were disappointed that more money was not earmarked for research infrastructure. Although Aus$109 million was allocated in this year's budget, the sum was far short of the Aus$125 million recommended by a government review two years ago.