The University of Sydney has said it will lobby against Education Minister Christopher Pyne’s threat to cut funding for major research programs in health, climate science, and manufacturing across Australian universities.
Pyne has claimed that he will cut programs supporting 30,000 researchers if the Senate refuses to support the Coalition’s proposed deregulation of university fees, initially rejected in December of last year.
“We have provided submissions to two Senate reviews opposing the cuts and will continue to lobby the government and Members of Parliament in relation to the issue,” a spokesperson for the University said.
Zdenka Kuncic, a senior academic at the Institute of Medical Physics, and Charles Perkins Centre, said the University’s research infrastructure facilities are crucial.
“Given what the Charles Perkins Centre’s aims are in achieving breakthroughs in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, we really need access to cutting edge facilities and world-class equipment that our colleagues overseas have,” she said.
“Discontinuing programs will risk our research capacity, Australia’s position in global university rankings and potentially undermine the sustainability of our higher education market,” the University said.
Affected programs would include the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). NCRIS has led to major breakthroughs on vaccinations, 3D imaging and the production of a new type of steel that is 70 per cent more greenhouse gas efficient.
A University spokesperson stated that “Our capacity to attract and keep outstanding talent will be reduced, and our best and brightest will be forced to look overseas for career opportunities if funding for these schemes are not continued.”
Pyne has stated he aims to push the deregulation reforms through the Senate by March.