Access to imaging facilities via the NIF is inclusive of access to equipment, technology and expertise; the latter will include project design, animal handling, image acquisition and data analysis and interpretation.
Access is merit-based to ensure optimal utilisation of resources. Criteria for determining merit include:
- The attainment of scientific excellence (niche opportunity resulting in world leadership).
- Technical feasibility of the research.
- Capability and track record of the research team.
- Availability of resources (including funding grants).
- The potential for collaboration between institutions.
- The alignment of the project with the national research priorities.
- The industrial and social impact of the project for the wider Australian community.
Priority will be given to projects funded under competitive granting schemes, on the basis that this can be assumed to be meritorious research, in the national interest, having been already assessed by peer-review. Up to 10% of time will be made available to early career researchers to enable them to acquire the expertise to develop an imaging component in their research. A further minimum 10% will be reserved for Australian academics wishing to perform proof-of-concept pilot studies, with a view to applying for competitive grants. After all other research the remaining time will be available for commercially-driven research.
Access arrangements will be guided by the following principles:
- All users will be treated the same regardless of their host organisation.
- Where access costs are charged, these will be marginal costs only for publicly funded researchers of scientific merit.
- Prioritisation of access by users will follow standard consideration regarding merit of research, urgency or deadline issues etc.
- Intellectual property (IP) will belong to users except where other arrangements have been made.