Understanding of the north's rich tropical marine endowment was enhanced this year following the signing of a landmark Memorandum of Understanding between Charles Darwin University, AIMS, The Australian National University and the NTG.

The Memorandum detailed a framework of cooperative research, academic and training activities, and expanded research infrastructure, helping to ensure sustainable and community-friendly development of tropical marine resources.

In announcing the new agreement, the Federal Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator the Hon Kim Carr, said $5.5 million in extra funding had been allocated to upgrade infrastructure and equipment at Darwin's Arafura Timor Research Facility (ATRF). The new resources have been made available through the Federal Government's Super Science Marine and Climate initiative . Senator Carr said Australia had the third largest ocean territory in the world, but too little was known about its marine estate.

Under the MOU the following programs and activities will be encouraged:

  • Appointment of appropriate CDU, ANU and NTG staff to adjunct research positions at AIMS;
  • Cooperative and collaborative research activities;
  • Access to research infrastructure and equipment;
  • Funding of joint appointments of research staff;
  • Joint research training activities including the funding of scholarships for Higher Degree by Research students;
  • Joint supervision of Higher Degree by Research students.