National Research Infrastructure Plan launch

National Research Infrastructure: Alarming news for humanities, arts and social sciences, Australian Academy of the Humanities, 15 May 2018

The Australian Academy of the Humanities has today called on the Government to explain its proposed investment in Platforms for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) as part of the Research Infrastructure Investment Plan.The 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap clearly recognised Platforms for HASS and Indigenous research as one of nine priority areas for investment under the Research Investment Plan.

While the Academy was initially delighted to see $53.4M allocated to Platforms for HASS over the next five years, on closer reading the investment plan shows that the bulk of this funding – $45.1M – will not deliver for the nation’s 20,000 HASS researchers.

“$43M for a new building for CSIRO to house a national collection of animal and plant specimens to support biological knowledge and $2.1M for the Atlas of Living Australia can in no way be construed as an investment in HASS research,” said Professor Joy Damousi FASSA FAHA, President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

“The Government’s commitment to fund scoping work for Platforms for HASS and for the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network is a welcome boost to the HASS sector,” said Professor Damousi. “But this means less than 1% of the total research infrastructure investment over the next five years will be expected to support 41% of the nation’s research workforce.”

Over the last decade, the humanities, arts and social science research sector, together with Australia’s cultural institutions, have undertaken significant work on identifying the infrastructure needed to unlock and connect the vast, rich and complex record of cultural and social life in Australia.

“For a nation to be smart, we need to be smart about how we support our cultural institutions and our HASS researchers to be world leaders. Decisions like this hold back Australian research and impacts our international contribution and standing” said Professor Damousi.

The Academy reiterates its call to expedite the long overdue investment in underpinning infrastructure to support the work of Australia’s humanities, arts and social science researchers to strengthen Australia’s data capability and next-generation HASS research workforce.

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