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Minister Launches the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility

27 September 2007, Sydney, NSW, Australia

The Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility (AMMRF), a $41 million national research facility to provide cutting-edge microscopy and microanalysis capability to all Australian researchers, was launched by the Federal Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, at the University of Sydney today.

The AMMRF will be Australia's peak research facility for the characterisation of materials using microscopy and microanalysis techniques, employing electron and ion beams, scanned probes, X-rays, and light and laser optics.

Research projects that will use the facility, include a study at the University of Western Australia into muscle diseases in newborn babies; a University of Adelaide project to test new drugs to treat bone cancer; a project at the University of New South Wales to develop hard coatings for bearing surfaces, and a University of Sydney study to explore the origins of remarkable properties of a new advanced steels.

The formation and operation of the facility has been made possible due to Federal funding of $19.2 million, $11 million from the state governments and around $9 million from the participating universities. This National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) investment comes on top of substantial long-term investments by individual institutions and enables the formation of a cohesive national capability that opens facilities up to all Australian researchers.

"Almost always, innovation and key advances in science and technology require an understanding of relationships between the properties and function of materials and their fundamental structure. Microscopy and microanalysis allow scientists and engineers to explore and understand these relationships across length scales that range from the barely visible to the atomic level. Advanced platforms in this area are essential to our national scientific capacity; and that's why the AMMRF exists." said the Facility's Executive Director and CEO, Professor Simon Ringer.

"Advanced microscopy and microanalysis platforms will now be available to Australian researchers, at all stages of their careers, to conduct experiments across the AMMRF's impressive national grid. Our users already range from health and medicine to archaeology to major science and engineering research programs."

Notes to Editors:
The AMMRF Partners: Established under the Commonwealth Government's National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), the AMMRF is a truly national research facility with nodes at the University of Sydney (which also serves as the national headquarters), the University of Queensland, the University of New South Wales, the University of Western Australia, Australian National University, Flinders University, the University of Adelaide, and the University of South Australia.
These institutions lead the AMMRF joint venture as a national grid of scientific capability that is significant also in international terms. Further, the Facility has formalised links to a number of specialist laboratories in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales and more such linkages are planned.

Contact: Dr Miles Apperley, AMMRF General Manager, ph. 02 9351 2887.