Groundwater centre attracts worldwide attention

wetland1The National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) has attracted the attention of researchers from around the world with the first advertising round generating a flood of applications for positions at the new Flinders centre.

In one of the largest, single recruiting drives for water professionals seen in Australia, the new Centre will fill more 170 positions over the next five years with study and employment opportunities for Honours and PhD students, postdoctoral fellows, and technical officers and research fellows.

NCGRT Director Professor Craig Simmons said the recruiting and training of the next generation of groundwater researchers and professionals is a vital element of the Centre’s capacity building task.

“A targeted advertising campaign, supported by the remarkably efficient email and word of mouth network that connects university researchers has spread the word about the Centre and its research career opportunities all over the world,” Professor Simmons said.

“Over 350 expressions of interest have already been received for the first 40 or so positions that will commence in 2010. Many of these have come from other countries, where interest in the Centre is lively. These positions will be located at NCGRT partner universities around Australia.”

Funded by the Australian Research Council ($15 million) and the National Water Commission ($15 million), the NCGRT has made substantial progress since it was announced by the Federal Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Penny Wong, in January. With an additional $15 million funding awarded to the NCGRT from the Federal Government’s Super Science Scheme to build national groundwater monitoring infrastructure, and cash support from NCGRT’s university and industry partners, the total resources available to the organisation rises to about $60 million.

Professor Simmons said formal agreements with the NCGRT’s 19 partners nationwide – 11 other universities in addition to Flinders University (the administering organisation) plus eight industry and government agency organisations – have been concluded.

“With research programs ready to be commence in 2010 when the new personnel are on board, the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training is poised to make its mark as Australia’s ‘go to’ organisation for groundwater research,” he said.

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