The University of Adelaide has received a sponsorship boost of $165,000 for its planned Flinders-Baudin Research Centre on Kangaroo Island.
The funding has been provided by the French-owned company Thales International, through the French Government's Terra Australis 2001 program, to help build the Centre at Flinders Chase National Park and establish a series of scholarships for French, British and Australian scholars to study in South Australia. The University will sign a sponsorship agreement with the General Secretary of Terra Australis 2001, Mr Alain Serieyx, at a ceremony in Flinders Chase National Park tomorrow (Tuesday, 9 April) at 11.30am.
The Flinders Baudin Research Centre, which will cost an estimated $600,000, is due to open next year. It is named after the mariners Matthew Flinders and Nicholas Baudin, who led respective British and French scientific expeditions to southern Australia 200 years ago.
The Head of the University's Department of Environmental Biology, Professor Russell Baudinette, said: "The Flinders-Baudin Research Centre will provide outstanding infrastructure support for environmental education and research in South Australia and will further strengthen the University's reputation for innovative research and teaching in the natural sciences. It will be a fitting memorial and significant legacy to future generations. The Centre and scholarships will be lasting monuments to the spirit and achievements of Flinders and Baudin, will attract international scholars to South Australia and inspire young people with an interest in the environment".
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Alexander Downer, said the project was an excellent way to both commemorate the bicentenary and to reinforce, and be a visible symbol of, the strong Australian, British and French co-operation across a wide range of fields.
The Director of the Flinders-Baudin Project, Dr David Paton, said the symbol of co-operation was mirrored in the sponsorship, since Thames Water (a British based international water company) had already provided significant sponsorship to the project.