As a part of the $100 million Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities Program, $40 million has been allocated for the Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF). The MTSRF is a consortium of over 38 end user organisations working with 300 scientists from 15 research providers. Funding started in July 2006 for four years.
The MTSRF vision is that North Queensland's public environmental assets – particularly the Great Barrier Reef and its catchments, tropical rainforests including the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, and Torres Strait – maintain or build their health through the generation, transfer and sharing of world-class research and knowledge.
To achieve its vision, MTSRF plans, funds and coordinates the highest quality, cross-disciplinary research for public good to:
- ensure the protection, conservation, sustainable use and management of environmental assets of the Great Barrier Reef and its catchments, tropical rainforests including the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and the Torres Strait
- foster an understanding of the interactions of North Queensland's natural environment with the social and economic aspects of North Queensland communities
- support the adoption of science-based knowledge in ecologically sustainable management policies and practices and
- facilitate capacity-building for sustainable environmental management and environmental management research, in partnership with the community, environmental managers, research institutions, industry and policy-makers.
The MTSRF's Research Investment Strategy guides annual investment through the following five major themes:
- Status of the Ecosystems
- Risks and Threats to the Ecosystems
- Halting and Reversing the Decline of Water Quality
- Sustainable Use and Management of Natural Resources
- Enhancing delivery
- Read the Research Investment Strategy
Research funding for MTSRF is determined each year and directed through annual research plans consistent with the MTSRF investment strategy. The first annual research plan (ARP) was for 2006-07 and committed $7.5 million to fund more than 40 projects. In 2007-08, the second year of the MTSRF program, more than $7.6 million was provided, and in 2008-09 the third year, $7.8 million is being provided. See the MTSRF Annual Research Plans .
On 10 August 2006, the Department approved a contract with the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre Limited (RRRC) to administer the MTSRF research program in north Queensland. Details on MTSRF research projects are accessible through the RRRC website .