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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)

Against this background, a group of Victorians began planning, negotiating and lobbying for the formation of a body to undertake and provide a focus for marine research and education in south-east Australia. That group was led by Phillip Law and had among it people such as my co-speaker, Professor John Swan, later to play a leading role in Australian marine science administration, and Dr Alf Dunbavin Butcher, another past president of Royal Society of Victoria and then a senior public servant. The group's members were drawn from Victoria's universities, its government agencies, bodies such as the Royal Society of Victoria, and the private sector, whence came this session's chair—Norman Baker. I cannot mention them all. Each contributed greatly and, so I am advised, Phillip Law's special contribution lay not only in his energy, his vision and his tenacious pursuit of the goal, but also in 'his remarkable ability to focus the efforts of like-minded people'.

The objects set out in VIMS' Act contain the seeds of the consortium approach, for VIMS is enjoined inter alia:

  • to provide facilities for and foster ... scientific research, technical development ... instruction, demonstration and training,...

  • carry out any project alone or together with any other person, body, institution, corporation or authority ....

The basis of a consortium approach was stated more explicitly in the planning documents prepared by the interim Council, and were thus expressed in a letter signed by the Premier of the day, Sir Rupert Hamer:

The strength of VIMS lies in its nature as a consortium of various bodies (that) brings together every effective source of scientific expertise ... it would be difficult to conceive of a better organization to coordinate and rationalize, at the most economic level, the present and future strengths ... in southeastern Australia.

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

People in Bright Sparcs - Butcher, Alfred Dunbavin; Law, Phillip Garth; Swan, John Melvin

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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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