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Science and the making of VictoriaRoyal Society of Victoria
Table of Contents

A Consortium Approach to Marine Science


The Origins of VIMS and Its Consortium Approach

Benefits and Problems of a Consortium Approach

Realizing the Benefits, Overcoming the Problems

VIMS' Role in the Consortium

Building on the Consortium Approach




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The Origins of VIMS and Its Consortium Approach (continued)

Figure 1 shows the total annual operating income to VIMS in the last 8 years, against which is set that proportion which derives from Victorian government appropriation. It highlights several points:
  • the growth, at about 25% compounding annually, in the second half of the 1980s. The plateau in the last 2 years may be in part related to the current recession but, as I shall explain later, is also linked to the increasing effectiveness of the consortium approach.

  • the increasing self-sufficiency, whereby Victorian government funding has declined slightly in real terms and growth of programs has been funded entirely by external sources. These include a mix of competitive grant funds, contract research, and fees for scientific/educational services. VIMS' ability to achieve 80% self-sufficiency, a level which is virtually umnatched by other research agencies in Australia, while retaining its reputation for excellence and its focus on basic as well as applied research, also is linked to the effectiveness of the consortium approach.
These numbers illustrate that it is possible to build, largely independently of direct government funding, an organization that has a reputation for scientific excellence and combines this with relevance to the needs of users. The Institute's Council feels strongly about this achievement, but even more strongly about the fact that the organization has been able to demonstrate unambiguously the merits of a consortium approach. VIMS' single most important achievement since 1984 has been the fostering of a diverse, competitive, intellectual resource for Victoria and Australia, where none, or a more modest and narrowly-focussed one, previously existed.

VIMS' Programs

Figure 1 Growth of VIMS' Programs, 1984 to 1991.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Victorian Institute of Marine Sciences

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Hammond, Laurie 1992 'A Consortium Approach to Marine Science', Education, Antarctica, Marine Science and Australia's Future: Proceedings of the Phillip Law 80th Birthday Symposium, 23 April 1992, Royal Society of Victoria, pp. 63-70.

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