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In this edition 

Lining up for Round 22 of the CRC Program


The Australian Government has committed to Round 22 of the Cooperative Research Centres Program, delaying the close of Stage 1 by about a month to allow more time for bid development in the current pandemic disruption. To keep up to date, see the Government's CRC Program information page. You'll need to look at the "What happens next?" tab.
 
Round 22 dates (approximate only)
  • Stage 1 opens 30 April 2020
  • Stage 1 closes 29 July 2020
  • Stage 2 opens late October/early November 2020
  • Stage 2 closes January 2021
  • Interviews held – February 2021
  • Outcomes announced March 2021
  • Funding starts 1 October 2021

While industry is obviously concentrating on the very short-term at the moment, many industries have been working on their plans for long-term research and are ready (or almost ready) to put in their plans for a CRC. The CRC Association's working list contains some 19 potential bids at the moment. We list some, but not all, on our website and you can let us know about your bid here, indicating whether or not we have permission to publish it.

A check this week indicates that plans for at least eleven of those bids are quite advanced. During this active development phase, some bids drop out, some defer, sometimes we see a joining of a couple of bids, and there are often a few that come through with a late charge. The CRC Association is happy to provide general advice on your bid or join a meeting of your bid team if that's useful to you. Supporting Members may wish to arrange a meeting to discuss the bids in development. Contact Jordan Gardner for more information.

In the meantime, a few pointers:
  1. Don't underestimate Stage 1. It is absolutely not an expression of interest;
  2. CRCs must be industry led, who really owns your bid;
  3. The pathway to market is every bit as important as the discovery or invention, do you have the right commercial, policy or societal drivers so that you CRC will make a really big difference?
  4. If you have to decide to go deep or go broad, the right choice is almost always deep. Successful CRCs tend to be highly focussed.
Good luck with your bid development over the next few months. Within Government, Marcelo Alves manages the program and details are on the business.gov.au website.

COVID-19: Managing impacts on CRCs

 
Jenni Lightowlers and Julian Ryan, FAL Lawyers

As epicentres of government, research and industry collaboration, CRCs face the challenge of continuing to operate in their own right as well as the sector-specific risks affecting their Participants.

It is critical to put strategies in place to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on CRC operations and ensure the ongoing viability of the Projects.

  1. Communicate
    Continue communicating with stakeholders (including the Commonwealth) and emphasise the importance of doing so across the CRC.

    Keeping everyone informed allows the CRC and the Project Leaders to anticipate, identify and address risks which might threaten the ongoing viability of the CRC’s activities.

    Also check in with Participants to identify any possible shortfall in contributions, or inability to continue to participate in the CRC.
     
  2. Apply for Government support
    Governments at all levels are continuing to announce various relief packages. Much of the Federal relief (including the Job Keeper scheme) will be available to industry Participants. These payments should help minimise the impact on CRCs and allowing focus to be placed on keeping the projects on foot.

    Think also about how you might renegotiate funding with both the Commonwealth and Participants.
     
  3. Directors’ duties
    Increased protection against insolvent trading is available from 25 March to 25 September 2020 and is designed to give directors confidence to continue operating, make payments and retain staff.

    The protection relates to debts incurred “in the ordinary course of business” for the CRC company, which arguably includes funding the projects.
     
  4. Manage the projects
    It is inevitable that the COVID-19 crisis will have a direct impact on projects, if it has not already.

    By being flexible, CRCs can to focus on keeping people engaged in the projects, and ensuring the projects continue to operate.

    Where necessary, CRCs should negotiate to vary or extend aspects of the projects, rather than terminate them entirely. One of the most important things here is to ensure personnel remain available as part of the business continuity planning for activities.

'Continuing Collaboration' webinar series


The CRC Association is continuing its webinar series on how organisations can work productively through the coronavirus pandemic.

Up next:

The next 6-12 months offer CRCs a unique opportunity to establish an high quality online skills development and collaborative industry engagement program.

As well as maintaining high quality, structured learning and engagement with students and industry partners for the duration of physical distancing, CRCs can develop a new capability enabling faster recovery.

Learn how by joining this webinar.

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 Watch the recordings of past webinars:

View our Eventbrite page to see webinars as they are added.

The CRC Association typically charges non-members for its webinar offerings, however in light of coronavirus, we welcome everyone's attendance.

View the CRC Association's Eventbrite page

Digital Health CRC looking to support wide scale testing to get Australians safely back to work


The Digital Health CRC is looking for organisations whose employees are providing essential services to join a project that will deliver the evidence base for a scaled approach to the use of COVID-19 point of care (POC) risk screening testing.

The project is the initiative of leading national peak body, Aged and Community Services Australia, who have commissioned a digital screening and risk tool for staff, residents and essential visitors. The app requires individuals to record symptoms daily, which, combined with the roll out of point of care (POC) testing for COVID-19, will enable employers to screen for, detect and manage potential risk in the following transmission scenarios:
  • When individuals are symptomatic and PCR testing is difficult to access
  • When individuals are in isolation due to symptoms
  • When staff are self-isolating due to perceived risk of exposure
  • Screening of asymptomatic individuals.
Whilst antibody tests are not a replacement for PCR tests, the COVID-19 POC risk screening tests may serve a different and important complementary purpose in helping enable immune people to return to work and re-start the economy.

The overall aim of the COVID-19 POC Risk Screening Framework Development Project is the development of a robust, repeatable POC testing framework to support employee safety and business continuity, particularly where this relates to front line health and aged care workers and those providing essential services Project partners currently include Aged and Community Services Australia, RMIT, Australian-owned IT firm - Servian, MD Solutions - supplier of medical devices and healthcare technologies, including a TGA approved on site Coronavirus IgG/IgM Rapid Test; and the DHCRC.

For more information contact: Isobel Frean, Senior Digital Consultant, DHCRC

CRC TiME Limited is formed and announces a strong establishment board


We are proud to announce that the CRC TiME Ltd company has now been formally registered with ASIC. This is a critical milestone in the formation of our CRC. This process has led to the development of key governance that will underpin the establishment phase of the CRC, including the appointment of our foundational board and recognition of our founding constitution. 

This provides strong accountability and leadership for the CRC as we develop the participant agreements that will underpin the CRC and the planning of our foundational research agenda. Importantly, this also brings a level of independence as we develop an organisation that reflects and works on behalf of our participants.

The multi-sectorial nature and complex scope of CRC TiME will require strong leadership and oversight from an experienced Board and Management team. Following the recent registration of the company, the Board, initially comprising of three Directors, has been formed to oversee the establishment of the company. 

Dr Bruce Kelley, who was instrumental in coordinating a multi-company group on mine closure and relinquishment, and who chaired the 2019 CRC bid, has agreed to continue on as Chair of the Board. We are delighted to announce that Christine Charles and Dr Paul Vogel AM have also joined the Board. 

The full skills and sector-based Board will be finalised within the next few months to co-coincide with the operational launch of CRC TiME in mid-2020.
Find out more

IMCRC partner, SPEE3D, finding innovative solutions to tackle COVID-19


Originally published in The Age, 15th April 2020

Copper-coated doorknobs are the latest weapon in the world's fight to control the spread of COVID-19.

SPEE3D, a Melbourne-based 3D printing company has so far installed copper doorplates and doorknobs at several government facilities and universities but scientists say it makes sense to extend that to healthcare facilities and public places.

Copper has broad anti-microbial properties and has already been installed in some hospitals around the world to stop the spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. There is preliminary evidence that copper can destroy SARS-CoV-2 as well.

“Copper is known to be anti-microbial. It’s already used as an anti-microbial coating in medical devices,” said Dr Bart Eijkelkamp, head of a lab at Flinders University that studies copper’s properties.

“To translate that to larger practices such as bed rails, hand rails, seems like a pretty logical extension. It may help.”

People who are infected with COVID-19 can spread the virus in droplets when they cough or sneeze. Those drops can land on surfaces and then transfer to other people.

One small study published in March in the New England Journal of Medicine tested the virus on various surfaces and found it quickly became unstable on copper.

SPEE3D, the company which has been 3D-printing copper door furniture, commissioned its own study from a Melbourne-based virus lab which showed copper reduced viral levels by 96 per cent within two hours.

“We have known for a while that copper has anti-microbial properties. It has been shown to be pretty effective against lots of hospital pathogens,” said Dr Hannah Sassi, an expert on viral survival at the University of Sydney.

One 2013 multi-hospital randomised controlled trial tested copper bed rails, tables and chair arms in hospital rooms. The coverings cut the risk of acquiring a hospital-acquired infection by more than half.

Find out more

Reminder: Early Career Researcher Showcase


The Early Career Researcher Showcase celebrates good research, communicated well and to help all the ECRs out there, we've extended the deadline for entries to Wednesday 20 May 2020. 

Tell us about your research in 30 seconds and you could win up to $6000 in cash.

The five finalists will receive:

  • $1,000, and
  • The opportunity to give a 5-minute live online presentation to a large virtual audience for the chance to win $5,000.

Finals will be held at 3pm AEST on Wednesday 24th June - more information to come shortly.

We would like to thank CQ University for their continued partnership and support of the Early Career Researchers Showcase.

Find out more

Manufacturing leadership in the face of uncertainty


David Chuter, IMCRC CEO and managing director, outlines why now is the most important time for manufacturing in Australia. 

When it comes to manufacturing leadership, resilience is a key theme we have been discussing at the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) this year.

Manufacturers, like most, now fear the uncertainty of 2020 and beyond.

Just as Australia was recovering from the shock of this summer’s devastating bushfire season, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on 11 March. The pandemic has had a huge impact on people’s lives and every aspect of the Australian economy. Even before then, COVID-19 was destabilising our workforce and supply chains. Due to our over-reliance on China and others for imports, manufacturers have simply not been shielded from significant negative impact and disruption.

Find out more

Athena Board Information Session


Thu, April 16, 3pm AEST

Join Steven Engel, Managing Director of Lockbox Technologies, for an interactive webinar demonstrating Athena Board, an Australian SaaS solution for simple, secure board meeting preparation and execution. 

Athena Board is composed of two parts - an administration portal for content creation, and a mobile application for content consumption.

Lockbox Technologies is a cybersecurity software development company specialising in secure, end-to-end encrypted storage technology. The platform is built upon proven cloud services and employs a sophisticated security solution.
Register

Conflicting cues during natural hazards


Research conducted by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC looks at ways for emergency services agencies to minimise the impact of conflicting cues during a natural hazard and ensure people's safety. Hazard Note 72 provides evidence of conflicting cues in practice and suggests proactive and reactive strategies that emergency services agencies could employ to minimise the effect of conflicting cues on the instigation of protective action.
Find out more

Bushfire outlook maps the next three months


Fire management is a year-round process and the Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook: April 2020, developed by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, AFAC and the Bureau of Meteorology, reflects the priorities in each state and territory over the next three months. It takes into account the impacts of the 2019-20 fire season and the expected upcoming weather conditions. The Outlook is used by fire authorities to make strategic decisions such as resource planning and prescribed fire management to reduce the negative impacts of bushfire. See the full outlook online now.
Find out more

 

Lowitja Institute Scholarships 2020 NOW OPEN for application


The Lowitja Institute is committed to increasing the capacity and capability of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research workforce. The Institute’s scholarships provide an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to develop skills relevant to effective health research and contribute to strengthening the workforce. The Institute aims to build the capacity and capabilities of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research workforce at all study levels (Certificate IV through to postgraduate).

The Scholarships offered by the Institute in 2020 aim to enhance the capabilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants in the following high priority research areas:
  • Research administration/research management
  • Project management
  • Governance
  • Leadership
  • Policy
  • Knowledge Translation; and
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Mathematics).
They are offering three types of scholarships:
  • Post-graduate Top-up Scholarship, 
  • Graduate Certificate, and 
  • Certificate IV. 
Closing date for all scholarships applications is Friday 24 April 2020 (midnight AEST).
Find out more

'Towards Diverse Boards: Pathways to Directorship' - places filling fast


Places are filling fast for our 'Towards Diverse Boards: Pathways to Directorship' initiative so register now to avoid missing out.

The Cooperative Research Centres Association has partnered with the Governance Institute of Australia and ProVeritas Group to up-skill 100 people over 5 years on the pathway to board positions.

We invite anyone at a CRC Association member organisation – especially STEM and innovation professionals – who identifies as being from an under-represented group to apply and join us on the pathway to diverse, inclusive directorship.

As part of the first cohort of 20 Pathways to Directorship Scholars, you will undertake the Governance Institute’s Certificate of Governance for Not-for-Profits or Certificate in Governance Practice to provide you with a solid grounding in governance, and participate in coaching sessions with some of Australia’s top directors of R&D to help you identify and build your own strengths. The price of a Certificate in Governance is usually $3570, however, we are offering the participants this program for $1940.

Registrants will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.
Find out more

Bidding for a CRC? Let us know


Bidding for a CRC or a CRC-P is a very competitive process. Not all bids make themselves know to the CRC Association but those that do, are more competitive. We can help you make the connections and introduce you to the people you should be talking to.
Find out more

Innovation Thoughts, a podcast by the CRC Association




Hosted by CEO Tony Peacock, each episode of Innovation Thoughts sees Tony interview a different expert in science or industry.

Subscribe via your preferred podcast platform to be notified of new episodes, or see them on our social media channels.

Stories wanted 


If you know of any stories you think would interest the CRC community, please send them to stories@crca.asn.au

Members' specials and benefits


CRC Benchmarking Study
Conducted every two years, the study benchmarks CRC operational data. The study is the perfect tool when setting up a CRC. 

Meltwater media monitoring and distribution 

Meltwater and the CRCA have recently partnered to ensure all of its members can access to media intelligence services. Find out more here. 

FCM Travel Solutions (FCM)
Members gain access to discounts on flights through FCM Travel Solutions (FCM), the Association's preferred full-service travel provider. 

Australian Science Media Centre
All full members of the CRC Association get a subscription to the Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC). The AusSMC is an independent, not-for-profit service for the news media, giving journalists direct access to evidence-based science and expertise. Instructions for uploading a media release or adding an expert to their online database can be found here.

CRC Association Services

 
CRC Workshop – Basic
The CRC Association will deliver an overview of the CRC Program and its achievements and outcomes at your institution. CRC Association members receive one complimentary workshop each year. Non-members will be required to cover the cost of flights, accommodation and a speaking fee.

CRC Workshop – Deep Dive
In this workshop, the CRC Association will work with the company
Collabforge and delve into collaborative theory. It’s a great way to begin building a pipeline of CRC-P and CRC applications. CRC Association members receive a discounted rate. Download the brochure here.

CRC – Clinic
Are you preparing to bid for a CRC or are you just about to submit? The CRC Association will hold a clinic where we will review your bid with you and give feedback. CRC Clinic is available to CRC Association members free of charge (subject to availability). Clinics can cover up to half a dozen CRC-Ps in a session and can be combined with other workshops. Non-members will cover the cost of flights, accommodation and a consultancy fee. 
 
The CRC Association can tailor workshops to your needs and source additional speakers from the Industry Growth Centres or participants to maximise the benefit for your staff.

Cooperative Research Centres

CRC for Contamination
Assessment and Remediation
of the Environment (CARE)
CRC for Alertness, Safety and Productivity Cancer Therapeutics CRC
 Rail Manufacturing CRC CRC for Water Sensitive Cities CRC for Living with Autism
Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC CRC for Optimising
Resource Extraction
Innovative Manufacturing CRC
CRC for Honey Bee Products Cyber Security CRC Future Fuels CRC
Digital Health CRC Future Battery Industries CRC SmartSat CRC
iMove CRC Soil CRC Food Agility CRC
CRC for Developing Northern Australia MinEx CRC Fight Food Waste CRC
Blue Economy CRC Future Food Systems CRC Brien Holden Vision Institute
 

Supporting Members 

FAL Lawyers Queensland University
of Technology
University of South Australia
The University of Queensland
Murdoch University
The University of Newcastle
The University of Sydney University of Tasmania Curtin University
Flinders University Griffith University University of Technology Sydney
Macquarie University Monash University The University of Melbourne 
University of Western Australia University of Canberra Edith Cowan University
University of Southern Queensland RMIT University La Trobe University
University of Adelaide Australian National University Elementary Law
Western Sydney University Charles Sturt University The University of New South Wales
Charles Darwin University University of New England  

Associate Members 

FrontierSI Australasian Pork Research
Institute Limited (APRIL)
 
          Practera
FCM Travel Solutions(FCM) Agrimix Pastures         RoZetta Institute
Geneworks Oral Health CRC

 
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License.



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