Funding and infrastructure boost for Australian Synchrotron

BRIGHT launch news

ANSTO has secured $80.2 million in new funding to expand the research capabilities of the Australian Synchrotron.

The funding boost was made by the New Zealand Synchrotron Group Limited (representing funding from the New Zealand Government and 10 New Zealand universities and research institutions), the Defence Science and Technology Group and 19 universities and medical research institutes across Australia.

The new funding will expand the number of beamlines at the Synchrotron from 10 to as many as 18, increasing research output at the facility and helping keep up with significant researcher demand for the state-of-the-art facility.

The first stage of the expansion will see the construction of the Micro-computed Tomography (MCT) beamline and the Medium Energy XAS (MEX) beamline:

• The MCT beamline will complement the Imaging and Medical Beamline (IMBL), by allowing 3D structures to be studied in close detail, which will enable advanced research in the fields of biological and health sciences.
• The MEX beamline will enable mapping of lighter elements such as sulphur, phosphorous, chlorine, calcium and potassium, with applications across sectors including aiding in the development of cancer treatment.

These beamlines will be closely followed by a Small Angle X-ray Scattering (BioSAXS) beamline. Supported by the New Zealand Synchrotron Group’s significant $25 million investment, the beamline will allow for detailed protein studies focussed on improving drug design and validation processes.

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos (pictured above left), welcomed the funding for the beamline expansion, which will be supported by the Australian Government’s significant operational investment made via the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA).

The NISA provides $520 million in operational funding to the Australian Synchrotron, which includes operational funding for the new beamlines.

Minister Sinodinos said the scale of the contributions highlighted the extremely significant role the Synchrotron plays in Australia’s science and innovation ecosystem.

“The Australian Synchrotron is one of our most important pieces of landmark research infrastructure, which on a daily basis delivers practical benefits across a variety of vital areas,” Minister Sinodinos said.

“This is applied science at its best, with applications for medical researchers, the environment and industry.

“The Australian Government welcomes this new investment to expand capacity at the Synchrotron, which will be supported by our significant operational investment made via the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA).”

ANSTO CEO, Dr Adi Paterson (pictured above right), said this was the latest ANSTO collaboration that provides new opportunities for industry and researchers.

“ANSTO has been working to secure more than $100 million in capital funding to ensure the facility remains world-class and continues to meet the needs of researchers and industry,” Dr Paterson said.

“This is a great first step, and we look forward to continuing to work with industry and government to support the vitally important work of our scientists and researchers.”

Australian Synchrotron Director, Professor Andrew Peele said the expansion will alleviate demand issues and enable new research opportunities.

“This expansion will give Australian and New Zealand industry and our best and brightest scientific minds access to even more specialised tools and techniques needed for important research,” said Professor Peele.

“This will enable them to continue to compete on the world-stage and deliver real-life benefits to the community.”

ANSTO will continue to work with universities and other stakeholders to secure the remainder of the required funding.

Contributors to the project include:

Australian National University - Charles Sturt University - Curtin University – Deakin University - Macquarie University – Monash University - Queensland University of Technology - RMIT University - Swinburne University - University of Canberra - University of Melbourne - University of New South Wales - University of Queensland - University of the Sunshine Coast - University of Sydney - University of Tasmania - University of Western Australia - University of Wollongong – Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research – ANSTO - Defence Science and Technology Group - New Zealand Synchrotron Group (including contributions from the New Zealand government and 10 universities and research institutions)

Media enquiries:

Minister Sinodinos: Nat Openshaw 0409 049 128
ANSTO / Australian Synchrotron: Phil McCall 0438 619 987

Published: 31/08/2017

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