The National Research Infrastructure (NRI) Roadmap has been unveiled by the Commonwealth Government’s Department for Education, Skills and Employment and Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, recommending continued investment in NRI, which enables Australia to maintain its research excellence, increase innovation and address emerging research challenges.

The Government has announced it will invest $900 million over five years on the tools, technology and skills to ensure Australian research remains at the global forefront.

The application of advanced imaging will play a critical role for Australia in underpinning fundamental and applied research across disciplines to address domestic and global challenges.

The Roadmap highlights key priorities for imaging capabilities in supporting leading-edge research and innovation.

Advanced imaging is essential to addressing challenges in the focus areas of medical products and frontier technologies and modern manufacturing. It also plays an important role in supporting the focus areas of food and beverage and developing physical collections and biobanking.

Medical products

The importance of protecting Australians from health threats is critical, as is Australia’s strong medical research capability and reputation for quality and standards. Human imaging technology is highlighted as playing a vital role in:

  • Improving health outcomes through novel medical products, platforms, technologies and practices to improve quality of life and decrease health-related costs.
  • Supporting nuclear medicine and radiotherapy innovation, including the development of new radiopharmaceuticals for diagnosis and therapy (e.g. theranostics).
  • Supporting preclinical and clinical research, including modelling for both disease mechanisms and early drug candidate testing.

Frontier Technologies and Modern Manufacturing

Developing and translating critical technologies required to support modern manufacturing and secure supply chains is of significant priority to Australia.

Advanced imaging facilities will enable success through research and commercialisation of critical technologies:

  • Enhancing outcomes and visualising essential components through a wide array of preclinical and clinical studies.
  • Representing fundamental research technology for understanding the effect of pandemics and unique environmental events (e.g. floods and bushfires) on the human body.
  • Applying imaging to a broad variety of industrial, research problems including chemical processes, materials science, security, palaeontology and cultural preservation.

Food and beverage

Australia has an international reputation for premium, safe and high-quality food and beverage products, strong production capabilities, research expertise and market proximity, and imaging enables researchers to capture data to increase agricultural and economic productivity.

Physical collections and biobanking

Biodiversity and environmental sample biobanks have significant potential as baseline infrastructure to support environmental monitoring and management, biosecurity, biodiscovery and bioprospecting and advanced imaging will enhance the value of biological and environmental sample collections.

Rising to meet the research challenges of the future

National Imaging Facility (NIF) continues to work in partnership with National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) capabilities to support and enable the translation of research outcomes to benefit Australians.

NIF already provides access to national capabilities supporting these areas of importance, including:

  • preclinical and clinical research, as well as nuclear medicine and radiotherapy to keep Australians healthy
  • developing and translating critical technologies required to support modern manufacturing
  • supporting Australia’s biodiversity, agricultural and economic productivity.

Planning is well underway for the next stages of growth and integration for NIF, as we work alongside our NRI colleagues to provide infrastructure that helps improve Australia’s standard of living and strengthen our economic standing.

You can read the NRI Roadmap and the recommendations made here.