The Station would not exist and could not continue without LIRRF donor support.
The remote location makes it unusually expensive. Researchers and other visitors fly in and out on light aircraft from Cairns. Supplies come by barge, a round trip of about 500 km. Maintenance costs are high because of the tropical maritime climate. Facilities maintenance is especially important, not only for operational health and safety, but also to ensure research teams use their time effectively and to avoid the delays of arranging specialist repairs from the mainland.
The visiting scientists who use the Station’s facilities are employed by their respective institutions. They obtain their own research grants to fund their projects and pay a per-day fee to the Station. Their grants allow the fee to be set at a level that comes close to covering the Station’s operating costs, but not high enough to cover the full costs of its buildings and research facilities.
LIRRF donations fund the gap. This funding gap is typical of marine science research stations around the world. Most of the others have a greater dependency on their parent institution, usually a university.
The Station is owned and operated by the Australian Museum – a New South Wales state government entity. The Museum does not receive federal educational funding, even though it facilitates the work of PhD candidates, and is required to progressively reduce its reliance on other government funding.
LIRRF donors fund research, specifically Fellowships, internships and particular research projects. One such project is currently focusing on early identification and control of outbreaks of the Crown of Thorns Starfish. This work is funded through LIRRF by a grant from the Ian Potter Foundation. LIRRF also supports the important aggregation of local biodiversity knowledge at the Station – including the Lizard Island Field Guide.
In addition, LIRRF makes annual grants to the Museum to help fund research facilities at the Station. This includes replacing boats, outboard motors, land vehicles and scuba gear, and maintaining buildings and the solar power system.
The 30th Anniversary Development completed in 2010 involved a comprehensive refurbishment of the entire Station. Further details are set out in Lizard Island Research – A Partnership. We need to build up a reserve fund for the next major refurbishment.
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