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Science and the making of VictoriaRoyal Society of Victoria
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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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Realizing the Benefits, Overcoming the Problems

The basis of any organizational strategy is to take actions which realize the benefits and overcome the problems. The success of the consortium in Victoria lies with the fact that it has recognized and addressed both. Its track record includes:
  • Signing of Agreements of Affiliation (essentially memoranda of understanding) which establish the principles of working together for mutual benefit.
  • A substantial experience of collaboration at the project level, starting with the Bass Strait Study. It is illustrated by some recent figures from VIMS, which show that six large, grant-funded, research projects had a total of 9 different organizations involved, and an average of 3 organizations collaborating on any given proposal. In recent years VIMS has collaborated with about 40 organizations in the public, private and higher education sectors.

    This experience has yielded a confidence on the part of individual researchers in the success of collaboration in generating funds (from both grant schemes and contracts) and in multiplying the resources available to them.

  • A positive outcome through working together in capital developments. The first stage of the Queenscliff Marine Station, opened in February 1991, was funded to the extent of nearly $500,000 by three organizations—Monash University, RMIT and the University of Melbourne—as well as VIMS. It provides research and teaching facilities and an aquarium, owned and operated by VIMS, which those and other organizations can use. No such facility existed before, and nowhere else in Australia have other organizations banded together to obtain expensive but needed resources.

    The partner organizations also co-operate in meeting the recurrent costs of the Station.

  • This positive experience was reinforced by obtaining capital funds of ca $850,000, from both Commonwealth sources and the present six Victorian universities themselves, to build Stage 2 of the Queenscliff facility, with special emphasis on laboratories for marine ecotoxicology. When completed in 1992, it will provide an unique national resource, filling a major gap in Australia's capability to respond to the demand for information for environmental decision-making.

Opening of the Queenscliff Marine Station

The Victorian Minister for Conservation and Environment, Steve Crabb, with Laurie Hammond, Phillip Law and Bryce Stewart viewing a demonstration of larval fish ageing at the opening of the Queenscliff Marine Station in February, 1991.

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

People in Bright Sparcs - Hammond, Lawrence Stuart; Law, Phillip Garth

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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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