The Victorian Coalition Government has allocated more than $35 million towards innovation as part of the 2012-13 Victorian Budget, Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business Louise Asher announced today.
The 2012-13 Victorian Budget provides funding to double the number of prestigious Victoria Prize and Victoria Fellowship awards on offer and a range of other innovation scholarship and business-boosting initiatives.
"The 2012-13 Budget is about driving economic activity, productivity and jobs, and delivers on the Coalition Government's commitment to promote and support innovation in Victoria," Ms Asher said.
The Coalition Government is taking a responsible and necessary approach to improving business competitiveness and productivity through innovation.
"A $5 million voucher program will promote the uptake of new skills and support businesses to exploit Victoria's world-class science and research capabilities," Ms Asher said.
"The 2012-13 Budget also provides $150,000 to assist innovative firms to showcase new products and processes in metropolitan and regional Victoria.
"This Budget sets out a clear plan to meet our challenges and position Victoria to take full advantage of future opportunities.
Highlighting the Coalition Government's commitment to science and research in the state, $474,000 has been committed to the Victoria Prize and the Victoria Fellowships to double the number of the prestigious awards and promote excellence in the science and research community.
"The Victoria Prize honours the lifelong commitment and achievements of Victoria's finest researchers in science, technology and engineering, and the Victoria Fellowships are awarded to early-career professionals so they can undertake international study," Ms Asher said.
"Increasing the number of these awards demonstrates the Coalition Government's commitment to furthering Victoria's status as the science and research capital of Australia.
"I am also pleased to announce that the number of Innovation Fellowships offered annually by the Victorian Endowment for Science, Knowledge and Innovation (VESKI) will be increased with a new $1.5 million commitment.
"An additional allocation of $500,000 will enable VESKI to work in partnership with Victorian schools, teachers and students to increase participation in the sciences and to improve the knowledge and expertise of science teachers."
In another research scholarship initiative, Ms Asher said the Coalition Government had pledged $1.8 million for the Victorian Research Scholarships to encourage Victorian researchers to take up science research posts overseas.
"We are also providing $26 million towards a joint agreement with the Commonwealth Government to secure the operation of the Australian Synchrotron over the next four years," Ms Asher said.
"The Australian Synchrotron is an important part of Victoria's innovation infrastructure and this funding will ensure Victorian researchers and industry partners continue to have access to leading-edge scientific infrastructure to carry out research."