Understanding of the north’s rich tropical marine endowment was enhanced this week following the signing of a landmark Memorandum of Understanding between Charles Darwin University, the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), The Australian National University and the Northern Territory Government.
The Memorandum details a framework of cooperative research, academic and training activities, and expanded research infrastructure, helping to ensure sustainable and community-friendly development of tropical marine resources.
Announcing the agreement, the Federal Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr said: “This is an innovative partnership which will provide real benefit to northern Australia.
“The MoU is a milestone agreement that unites the research efforts of three distinct institutions and the Northern Territory Government. By combining their efforts, these organisations will be able to focus their attention on critical issues like sustainable development, protecting biodiversity, and mitigating the impact of climate change.”
The Australian Government’s Super Science Marine and Climate initiative includes $387.7 million for marine research and climate change research, including $55 million for tropical marine science infrastructure at AIMS.
“This includes $5.5 million for the Arafura Timor Research Facility – an investment that will provide new infrastructure and provide some of the tools needed to fill knowledge gaps,” Senator Carr said.
“Australia has the third largest ocean territory in the world, but too little is known about Australia’s marine estate and this new partnership will help close that gap.
“The Australian Government has made marine science one of the nation’s innovation priorities for the next decade,” Senator Carr said.
The CEO of AIMS, Dr Ian Poiner, speaking on behalf of the memorandum parties, said it was critical to work together to understand the unique ecosystems of the Arafura and Timor Seas.
“This memorandum of understanding between AIMS, CDU, the ANU and the Northern Territory Government is about demonstrating the links and connections between organisations, levels of government and communities,” Dr Poiner said.
Under the MOU the following programs and activities will be encouraged:
• Appointment of appropriate AIMS and NTG staff to adjunct academic positions at CDU and/or ANU
• Appointment of appropriate CDU, ANU and NTG staff to adjunct research positions at AIMS
• Cooperative and collaborative research activities
• Access to research infrastructure and equipment
• Funding of joint appointments of research staff
• Joint research training activities including the funding of scholarships for Higher Degree by Research students
• Joint supervision of Higher Degree by Research students.