Australian National University vice-chancellor Ian Young says $20 million of the university’s research budget could be slashed over the next two years.
Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has announced a raft of changes in his mid-year economic update, including slashing $499 million over four years from its Sustainable Research Excellence program which aims to help universities meet the indirect costs of doing research.
Professor Young says the cuts are disappointing but will not threaten the university’s world-class standing.
“What it means is that we will have less funds to be able to invest in the future and invest on research in the future, to be able to in many cases find the ongoing salaries for research staff,” he said.
“It is going to be a real challenge to be able to invest in the new facilities.”
Professor Young says he does not expect major staff cuts will be necessary.
“We believe that in 2013 it will be about $5 million for us and in 2014 something approaching $15 million,” he said.
“Our research budget would be about $600 million. When you actually look at those research budgets there, the vast majority of them are taken up by staff salaries.”