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Doors to Stay Open

Under pressure from the scientific community, the Australian government has funded research facilities there that were facing closure, Nature News reports.

 About two dozen Australian research facilities funded by the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy — including the Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility, the Australian National Fabrication Facility, and more — were going to have to shut down at the end of June when their funding ran out. Some 1,700 staff members were also facing cuts.

The education minister, Christopher Pyne, had said that the government wouldn't support NCRIS unless the Australian parliament also passed a higher-education reform bill, though that bill has been defeated.

But now, Nature News reports that Pyne has announced that the government would pay the Aus$150 million allocated to NCRIS, enabling its facilities to keep their doors open for the next year.

While Les Field, the secretary of science policy at the Australian Academy of Science, tells Nature News that this about-face gives the scientific community "more breathing space," he adds that a permanent solution is needed.

"We really need a strategy to support and manage research infrastructure long term, over its whole life cycle," he says. "We can't keep going with one-year Band-Aid solutions."