After backing down from his immoral threat to research infrastructure, it is now time for Education Minister Christopher Pyne to stem the brain drain from Australian science and fund the Future Fellowships program.
Support for Future Fellowships was taken hostage along with 1700 science jobs in the Minister’s vain attempt to secure passage of the Government’s unfair and unnecessary plan for $100,000 degrees.
This week the Government saw reason and funded the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy.
Now it needs to do the same and release the $139 million for Future Fellowships that is already in the forward estimates.
The Abbott Government has been able to find billions of dollars for other measures since the Budget.
Yet it has failed to meet its Budget promise to Australia’s most promising mid-career researchers.
As a result, researchers who are just getting established in their careers will miss out on the opportunity to compete for 100 prestigious fellowships in 2014‑15 and every year thereafter.
As Mr Pyne himself has said:
“These grants underpin our future economic security.”
Minister Pyne, Wednesday 23 July 2014
The Minister must act now to prevent a research brain drain and deliver on his Budget promise.
The future of Australian research is too important to be subject to political games.
Labor established the Future Fellowships program because we recognised that even the brightest researchers were facing challenges establishing their careers in Australia.
We will continue to fight for Australian science and research because we understand that only a strong innovation system will deliver the high skill, high wage jobs of the future.