Australian Biological Resources Study
Source: Australian Museum.
Media Release: The Hon Bob Baldwin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, Federal Member for Paterson, Scientists helps us understand our amazing plants and animals, 3 August 2015
Scientists to help us understand our amazing plants and animals Australia is home to around eight per cent of the world’s plant and animal species – yet only 25 per cent of those are known to science. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment Bob Baldwin today announced a grant programme designed to help further our knowledge. “We need to understand the relationships and evolutionary history of our plants and animals in order to fully understand the health of our environment and what we need to do to protect it,” Mr Baldwin said.
“That’s why it is critical to have a grant programme like this. Through the Australian Biological Resources Study, we’re inviting experts including early career researchers to apply for research grants, beginning 2016-17.”
There are two types of grants aimed at scientists of all levels, plus a programme to boost support for PhD students on an Australian Postgraduate Award. “The three year Research and Postdoctoral Fellowship grants help us define and describe new species and increase our knowledge of Australia’s biodiversity. These projects often have a strong practical application for our public services, agriculture and other industries as well,” Mr Baldwin said.
“In April I had the opportunity to spend some time with a previous grant recipient from the University of Wollongong, who is studying flesh flies. Flesh flies help police by giving different clues about the time and place of death. Speed is obviously of the essence in these cases, and the university’s researchers are identifying better and quicker ways to identify the individual species – cutting down the detection time.”
Researchers working in the priority areas of biodiversity conservation, public, plant and animal health and taxonomy (the formal describing of species) can apply for three year grants of up to $90,000 per annum through the programme. There are also capacity-building grants of $10,000 for honours, masters and PhD students.
“We’re also offering a $10,000 boost to students who are beginning a PhD in this important field. The Australian Government strongly believes science is at the heart of our society and economy. By supporting the scientists of tomorrow through programmes like these, we’re encouraging invention and innovation, crucial to driving our economy and creating new products and jobs.”
Last year the Australian Government invested in 21 research projects through a $2 million package of National Taxonomy Research Grants, bringing Government investment in the grants to $5.3 million so far.
“We’re going to build again on that investment in 2016-17. I’m looking forward to seeing more exciting and innovative project proposals this time,” Mr Baldwin said.
Over the last 12 months, the Australian Biological Resources Study’s National Taxonomy Research Grants have resulted in the classification and description of more than 740 new species and 70 new genera (a group of species). For more than 40 years the Australian Biological Resources Study has helped researchers contribute to Australia’s plant and animal knowledge.
Located at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra, today the programme is managed by Parks Australia.
Applications for the 2016-17 grants close 28 October 2015. For more information visit http://www.environment.gov.au/science/abrs/grants