Funding boost for Australian astronomy

An artist's impression of the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder

An artist's impression of the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), under construction in Western Australia.

Australian astronomers are celebrating the announcement of extra funding for their science, with 33 extra scientist positions to be funded in 2010 and 2011 under the federal government’s Super Science programme.

In all, 17 extra scientists working on 9 different projects will be funded this year, with a further 16 scientists in 7 projects following in 2011.

The government had already committed an extra $160.5m to Australian astronomy and space science research as part of three Super Science strands announced in the 2009 budget. The three Super Science areas are Astronomy and Space Science, Marine and Climate, and Future Industries.

The Astronomy and Space Science funding included: a new Australian National Centre of Square Kilometre Array Science in Perth; additional funding for the Anglo-Australian Observatory (AAO), the world’s leading 4-metre optical telescope; and funding for an Australian Space Research program and a Space Policy Unit that will provide advice to the Government on national space policy.

The latest funding is part of $27.2m allocated to 100 Super Science Fellowships, which are three-year post-doctoral fellowships to enable Australia’s most promising young researchers to work in areas of national significance.

Of the 100 Fellowships funded, 33 have gone to astronomers.

Most of the Fellowships will see work involving the new generation of radio telescope facilities such as ASKAP and the Square Kilometre Array, and instruments that operate on the Anglo-Australian Telescope. Others include research into planets orbiting other stars and the evolution of stars.

Adapted from information issued by the Australian Research Council / CSIRO / Swinburne University.

Filed Under: Australian ScienceNews Archive

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