The Australian Synchrotron, located in Victoria, has put troubling times behind it after the federal and Victorian governments swooped in to save the facility with a new $95 million commitment to keep the massive science and research project afloat.
The Synchrotron uses particle accelerators to create an ultra-bright, focused beam of synchrotron light, supposedly 100 times brighter than the sun, for various scientific and medical experiments.
So far, the Australian Synchrotron has seen the development of new anti-malarial drugs, identified nutrients in grains to improve their dietary effects and helped develop a new temperature superconductor.
The Synchrotron was facing an uncertain future last year as it stared down the end of its funding from the Victorian Government. The facility reportedly had a contingency plan in place for the facility's closure that would have seen 120 scientists out of a job and left 2500 scientists without a high-speed light accelerator.
Senator Chris Evans went to the Synchrotron today to announce the new funding arrangements: the Federal Government will kick in $69 million worth of funding, while the Victorian Government will pour in $26 million.
"Without this funding deal, the ongoing operation of the facility was in doubt, jeopardising important research here in Australia. This landmark agreement underscores our commitment to leading-edge scientific research and will guarantee that Australia continues to drive innovation and be competitive at the forefront of scientific discovery," Evans said in a statement today.
Victoria's Innovation Minister, Louise Asher, also praised the deal and the facility's work.
"Research conducted at the Australian Synchrotron is cutting edge and spans the science spectrum from medicine to manufacturing. [The] intense beams allow researchers and scientists to examine sub-microscopic structures to improve research in medicine, agriculture, bioscience, engineering, forensics and environmental science," she said.
Greens MP Adam Bandt is glad that the government realised the importance of the structure before it shut down for good.
"This $95 million in funding is long overdue. The Greens have been pushing for this issue to be resolved and we were concerned that continued funding could be scuttled by the squabble between the state and federal governments. Support for fundamental research such as this is central to innovation, which will underpin our economy and prosperity into the future," he said, adding that the Greens continue to call for public and private sector spending on research and development to top 3 per cent of the country's gross domestic product, which sits at approximately $1.6 trillion.
Over 500 experiments a year are held in the Synchrotron as it plays host to up to 3000 researchers from the likes of BHP Billiton and Cochlear.
New Zealand has also agreed to support the research of the Synchrotron financially over the next four years.