New Zealand’s Investment in the Australian Synchrotron
In 2006 New Zealand joined other shareholders as a Foundation Investor in the Australian Synchrotron, which is located near Monash University in Melbourne. Each Foundation Investor contributed AUD$5 million as equity towards the cost of building beamlines at the Synchrotron.
The New Zealand investor is the New Zealand Synchrotron Group Limited; a company formed by Auckland, Massey, Waikato, Victoria, Lincoln, Canterbury and Otago universities, Plant & Food Research Ltd, AgResearch Ltd, GNS Science and Industrial Research Limited. Industrial Research Limited is now Callaghan Innovation and AUT University joined as a new shareholder in 2016.
In 2016, as part of a financial restructure of the way the Synchrotron was funded in Australia, ownership of the facility transferred from the original Foundation Investors to the Commonwealth government. The Synchrotron is now an ANSTO facility and has received long term operational funding from the Australian government. New Zealand’s relationship with the Synchrotron is now built on the Science, Research and Innovation Cooperation Agreement signed earlier in 2017 between the Australian and New Zealand governments and a funding and access agreement negotiated by NZSG on behalf of the research sector.
With long term operational funding secured, the Synchrotron has embarked on an expansion programme and is in the process of raising money to build up to 8 new beamlines to complement the 10 existing beamlines. In a new deal recently negotiated by NZSG, New Zealand researchers will receive a 33% increase in time on the 10 current beamlines (up from 5.0% to 6.6% of the available time) and will share exclusive access to the 8 new beamlines that are to be built at the Synchrotron over the next few years with other Australian funders. New Zealand will contribute funding of A$26 million between 2017 and 2026 towards the cost of construction of the new beamlines and the facility’s operating costs. The cost is being shared between NZSG’s member institutions (excluding Lincoln University and Plant & Food Research) and the government with NZSG managing the access on behalf of the institutions providing funding.
In addition to the beamtime reserved for staff and students from the 10 New Zealand institutions that are contributing funding, a small amount of time has been set aside for paid access which NZSG also coordinates. NZSG is keen to see new users and institutions become part of the arrangement especially as the new beamlines at the Synchrotron will provide new measurement techniques and capability of potential applicability to a wider range of sciences and their applications.
The New Zealand Synchrotron Group Limited holds its AGM in November each year. It is chaired by Dr Garth Carnaby. The Royal Society of New Zealand provides secretariat services, administers the beamline time allocation process and funding for researchers to travel to Melbourne to use the synchrotron.
All enquiries in connection with the Australian Synchrotron should be directed to Dr Don Smith at the Royal Society (firstname.lastname@example.org).