UNSW Vice-Chancellor Professor Fred Hilmer has welcomed the significant funding injection into higher education announced in the 2009 Budget.

The Federal Government delivered a $5.7 billion package over four years for higher education and innovation in response to the Bradley and Cutler reviews.

"This much needed investment comes at a critical time for the university sector, which plays a key role in expanding the economy through research and innovation and provides one of Australia's most important exports," Professor Hilmer said.

"There are a number of reforms that we particularly welcome, including recognition of the real cost of research, more funding for teaching and learning, more support for both undergraduate and postgraduate students, and a boost in infrastructure funding.

"We are especially pleased with the success of our bid under the Education Investment Fund (EIF) for a major revamp of the College of Fine Arts campus at Paddington, and support for a new national institute for virology from the Health and Hospitals Fund," the Vice-Chancellor said.

COFA received $48 million for the Gateway@COFA redevelopment. The project will build teaching capacity with new flexible, digitally-equipped facilities, along with a new installation gallery facing Oxford Street.

The Dean of COFA, Professor Ian Howard, said the Gateway project would help to transform art and design education in Australia.

"It is a great endorsement by government of the role that art and design plays in the economy, education and society more broadly," he said.

The new virology institute, to be located at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, will support UNSW's world-leading National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research (NCHECR). The Commonwealth funding matches $20 million provided by the NSW Government for the state-of-the-art facility, which will bring together 300 of the nation's top scientists working on viral hepatitis, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.

"This funding will transform NCHECR into a truly national institute for infectious diseases," said director Professor David Cooper.

"It will enable us to expand our extensive portfolio of work in HIV/AIDS and other emerging infections both domestically and in the Asia-Pacific region."

Other successes

UNSW has also welcomed the significant funding grants made to a number of its affiliated institutions. These include $19.5 million from the EIF for the Sydney Institute of Marine Science; $70 million to expand the Garvan St Vincent's Cancer Centre; a $185.5 million funding extension for NICTA, Australia's Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Research Centre of Excellence; and $46.9 million to establish the Ingham Health Research Institute, linked to Liverpool Hospital.

Media Contact: Judy Brookman | 9385 3249 | j.brookman@unsw.edu.au