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$100 million facility will supersize nanotechnology research

21 October, 2008

Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, has launched a $100 million collaborative research facility that will provide Australia's researchers with laboratories and expert support to undertake world-leading research into micro and nano-fabrication.

The new Australian National Fabrication Facility brings together state-of-theart
equipment distributed between seven university-based centres around the
country.

During the launch Senator Carr electronically unveiled a microscopic image of
a microstructure plaque measuring 20 microns or 20 millionths of a metre.

"This facility represents a major step forward in Australia’s capacity for
research in nanotechnology and micro-fabrication," Senator Carr said.

"It will enable researchers from institutions and industry to engineer and
manipulate matter and materials at tiny scales all the way down to billionths of
a metre, producing some features as small as a few dozen atoms.

"It will boost national research capacity in many other disciplines that depend
on these building block technologies. This type of infrastructure is essential to
support the national innovation system maintain Australia’s competitive
position internationally; but it also links centres of expertise and opens their
research to industry," Senator Carr said.

The Australian Government has provided $41 million in funding to the facility
through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy.

"Micro and nano-fabrication offer important technologies that will contribute
solutions to national and global challenges including safe drinking water,
better health diagnostics and energy storage," Senator Carr said.

The facility has 17 member institutions and has attracted co-investments from
the Victorian, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australian
governments to assist in establishing nodes in their states.

"This collaborative approach exemplifies a very important idea – that
innovation is not only about applying new knowledge through proprietary
‘production chains’ but cultural change that embraces collaborative solutions
to meet individual needs.

"I urge researchers and industry to seize this opportunity and make full use of
it," Senator Carr said.

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