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Budget cuts at CSIRO could end geothermal research in Australia

Esperance, West Australia (source: flickr/ Don Pugh Perth Western Australia, creative commons)
Francisco Rojas 27 May 2014

Due to budget cuts, the research entity will trim its budget more than $300 million over the next four years and let go 420 full-time employees on top of the 300 that resigned the previous year.

As stated by the press article, a $115 million cut to CSIRO last week was done that might have severe implications for the institution and those depend on it.

The article reveals that CSIRO does not live on public funds alone. Over the years it has built relationships with 2000 companies across 80 countries, and locked in royalties from successful inventions. This brings in around $500 million, or 40 per cent of its budget each year, and a part of that is now in jeopardy as well. CSIRO CEO Megan Clark gave staff the “plain facts” in a frank update the day after the budget.

An estimated $49 million ($198 million over four years) in external revenue would be lost, with significant collaborative science projects to be closed down or diminished. That’s $198 million on top of the $115 million in the budget, taking the total impact to more than $300 million over the next four years.

420 full-time staff would go within 12 months, 80 more later, and that came on top of 300 already cut in 2013. That takes total staff down to just over 5000.

External dollars were already on the wane due to global market conditions, and previous budget cuts had seen all the fat trimmed. Also on the block are climate science, urban water, energy efficiency, carbon capture and geothermal energy.

The same source criticises further stating that these massive cuts will have a significant effect in the future economy of the country. Other countries are investing deeply in research and development in order to secure future quality jobs.

The reality is that this might stiffle innovation in the near future, not only for geothermal, but for many other areas.

Source: Sunday Morning Herald Website