Twenty-six Cooperative Research Centers (CRCs) received a new round of funds from the Australian government. There are now 67 CRCs across Australia that fit within the country's six targeted industry sectorsmanufacturing technology, information and communications technology, mining and energy, agricultural and rural-based manufacturing, environment, and medical science and technology. Total research investment for this round of funding is $1.866 billion over a seven-year period.
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"Cooperative Research Centers are designed to encourage collaboration between industry, educational institutions, and government, thus leading to the development of leading edge research," says Senator Nick Minchin, Australian Minister for Industry, Science, and Resources. "The program provides business with a unique opportunity to work in partnership with research institutions and to focus research relevant to industry's needs."
Total research investment for this round of funding is $1.866 billion over a seven-year period, of which $397 million has been contributed by the Commonwealth of Australia, $419 million by industry, and $1.050 billion by other CRC participants. Annual Commonwealth funding for the CRCs will be $140 million in 19992000 and $141 million in 20002001.
"As identified in last year's review of the program by Chief Scientist, Professor John Stocker and former ANZ CEO Don Mercer, CRCs provide huge potential for commercializing research outcomes," Minchin says. "The recommendation that CRCs should commercialize their research played a large role in the selection criteria in this funding round, with a number of successful applicants demonstrating an entrepreneurial approach to research. A number of the projects will also have significant environmental and community benefits in their research outcomes, above and beyond any commercial potential."
Among the centers that received funding are:
CRC for Polymers Headquarters (Melbourne)
This center will enhance the international competitiveness of the Australian polymer industry through focused, cooperative R&D. The research is directed toward developing innovative polymer science and technology that will help Australian manufacturers reduce production costs, increase recycling, and produce higher value-added and improved products that can compete more effectively in local and export markets. The research covers four areas: polymer production, blends and composites, materials processing, and recycling. The center also supports Australian industry by providing a broad educational program that includes post-graduate scholarships.
For more information, call Ian Dagley at (+) 61-039-558-8111.
CRC for Microtechnology Headquarters (Melbourne)
The CRC will grow the level of Australian scientific and technological expertise and commercial participation in the global market for microtechnology products through focused research and collaboration. The center will produce new high-value, microtechnology-based products that are competitive in the international marketplace through the use of high-volume, low-cost manufacturing. The center will also decrease manufacturing costs for conventional products and increase their penetration into key markets such as IT/communications, security, health and safety, food monitoring, and environmental control.
For more information, call Robert Hobbs at (+) 61-039-534-0909.
Australian Photonics CRC Headquarters (Sydney)
The center will be the major catalyst in establishing a viable and competitive Australian photonics industry. Studies initiated by the Australian Photonics Industry Forum suggest that the industry has the potential to grow from a turnover of $238 million in 1996 (with 10% exports) to $2.4 billion in 2010 (with 60% exports). The center's key contribution to the industry's development is a comprehensive strategy to utilize and commercialize world-quality research and a diverse education program to support the industry's growth.
For more information, contact Professor Mark Sceats at (+) 61-029-351-1909.
CRC for Sensor Signal & Information Processing Headquarters (Adelaide)
This CRC provides R&D support for signal and information processing technologies used by Australian companies in the defense, surveillance, mining, and medical sectors. The research is aligned with national objectives and its benefits will include image and classification techniques for cancer detection, accurate ore-body delineation for mining projects, and ground-penetration radar for cleaning the environment. The beneficiaries will include defense and mining companies, pathology laboratories, security and irrigation companies, and coastal surveillance and immigration authorities.
For more information, contact Henry d'Aussumpcao at (+) 61-088-302-3477.
CRC for Clean Power from Lignite Headquarters (Melbourne)
A steady supply of energy, particularly electricity, is fundamental to modern society and its economic base. This CRC is developing technologies that relate both to currently operating power stations and to the most advanced cycle conceived to date. The research outcomes will see improved efficiency from lignite-based power generation and reduced green house gas emissions. These technologies will improve the operation and cost effectiveness and ensure that power costs are kept to a minimum. The CRC will also help train undergraduate and graduate students in this field.
For more information, call David Brockway at (+) 61-039-239-0800.
CRC for CAST Metals Manufacturing Headquarters (Brisbane)
This center will contribute to the growth and international competitiveness of a dynamic, vertically integrated Australian light metals production, processing, and manufacturing industry. It will focus upon the development and implementation of key technologies and will work closely with aluminum and magnesium production industries to develop improved process design and casting technology for smelter cast houses as well as developing improved alloys and products to meet market requirements. The center's collaborative research will also benefit the automotive industry through improved product design, process selection, manufacturing systems, tooling technology, and casting processes for cast light metal components. The involvement of the Australian Die Casting Assoc. in the education and training program brings a national focus and vertical integration to produce skilled workers to the internationally competitive light metal alloy industry.
For more information, call Gordon Dunlop at (+) 61-073-365-3641.
CRC for Welded Structures Headquarters (Wollongong)
This center will maximize the economic, environmental, and social benefits to Australia through customer responsive collaborative research, technology transfer, and education in the total product life of welded structures. Welding is a vital enabling technology essential to the maintenance of the Australian manufacturing sector that has an annual turnover of $10 billion. The research of the center will contribute to the international competitiveness of thousands of Australian companies by delivering higher productivity and lower cost in the manufacture and operation of welded structures, low-cost adaptable mechanization, online quality control, and increased reliability of welded structures. The outcomes will also improve occupational health and safety by reducing welding fumes and electrocution risk. It will improve the environment by reducing electromagnetic and greenhouse gas emissions.
For more information, contact Leigh Fletcher at (+) 61-024-226-8885.
For more general information about the CRCs, call Paul Wellings of the Australian Department of Industry, Science, and Resources at (+) 61-026-213-6350.