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New Zealand Backs Australian Synchrotron Project

New Zealand Backs Australian Synchrotron Project

The New Zealand Government today said it was a big supporter of the Australian Synchrotron project and would work with the Victorian Government to identify potential funding sources for the $206.3 million facility.The New Zealand Government strongly supports the Australian Synchrotron project Pete Hodgson, New Zealand's Minister of Research Science and Technology, said today. Mr Hodgson is currently in Melbourne to attend a genetics congress.

The Victorian Government has provided $157.2 million for the synchrotron building and machine, with consortia comprising universities, research institutions, other governments and the private sector to fund the cost of the beamlines. The total cost of the facility is $206.3 million.

Visiting Melbourne, New Zealand Minister of Research, Science and Technology, Pete Hodgson, said the Australian Synchrotron would have substantial benefits for New Zealand science. “We are keen to ensure New Zealand remains closely associated with this exciting project,” Mr Hodgson said.

“A New Zealand representative has been appointed to the scientific advisory committee for the Australian Synchrotron in support of that, and to promote collaborative opportunities between New Zealand and Australian scientists."

Mr Hodgson commented that New Zealand officials were currently looking at other possibilities for supporting the project in the longer term.

Mr Hodgson and Victorian Minister for Innovation, John Brumby, announced that the two Governments would jointly sponsor a workshop in Auckland for potential users of the synchrotron, which was on track to be completed in 2007.

“This workshop will bring together New Zealand scientists currently using overseas synchrotrons and potential users of Australia’s new national facility to learn more about what the Australian Synchrotron can do for them,” Mr Hodgson said.

“Like Australia, New Zealand has ‘suitcase scientists’ forced to go to the northern hemisphere to undertake crucial research. The new Australian facility will bring a vital research tool within much, much closer reach.”

“New Zealand places strong importance on the development of its research and innovation links with Australia. Collaboration between New Zealand and Australian synchrotron researchers will result in win-win outcomes for New Zealand science and business.”

Mr Brumby said that Victoria was delighted to help support the joint synchrotron users workshop, to be held at the University of Auckland on 4-5 September 2003.

“The Australian Synchrotron is the most exciting investment in regional science infrastructure for decades, and we are keen to see New Zealand researchers using it.

“We see the Auckland users workshop as a very important part of engaging more closely with the New Zealand research and development community,” Mr Brumby said.

“We will provide guest speakers from Australia and help organise the workshop in the interests of closer trans-Tasman synchrotron science links.”

The New Zealand workshop follows on from a highly successful workshop for Australia’s current and potential synchrotron users held in Melbourne in January 2003.

A synchrotron is a large and complex machine that produces beams of very intense light. It can be used to study the composition of matter. Synchrotrons are invaluable tools for groundbreaking research in biological and life sciences, mining and geoscience, and for manufacturing pharmaceuticals, new age materials and micro machines.

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