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In this edition 

Message from the CEO 

Welcome to the December issue of Cooperative Research Australia’s newsletter. As we reflect on a tremendous year of change for Cooperative Research Australia I would like to acknowledge the support of our Board, members, subscribers and supporters over the year that has made it possible to start this new chapter. We’re excited for what lays ahead, and looking forward to growing our services, activities and community in 2022.
Looking back over 2021, there is much to celebrate.
We became Cooperative Research Australia
The CRC Association became Cooperative Research Australia in October this year. Our name represents the full community and impact of industry-research collaboration that has its origin in the CRC program. It also reflects the collective impact of our members over decades. In addition to CRCs and universities, our members are made up of similar industry-research collaborative entities, post CRC entities and companies, research organisations, industry partners, CRC-P participants, related businesses, and alumni and professionals with an interest in industry-research collaboration. 
Our members are the lynchpin of the Australian innovation system, focused on creating new value in our economy for the benefit of all Australians. We have an ambition to become a powerful voice and a champion of the achievements and lessons of that community.
We welcomed three new CRCs 
The Digital Finance CRC
The Marine Bioproducts CRC
The Heavy Industry Low-carbon Transition (HILT) CRC
The three new CRCs bring the total number of Cooperative Research Centres since the establishment of the program in 1992, to 233. The thousands of students who have pursued industry-focused PhDs through the program over three decades are the bedrock of our innovation system, and the workforce who can successfully translate between research institutions and industry.
We welcomed twenty-two new CRC-Ps
Twenty-two successful bids for Round 11 of the Cooperative Research Centres Projects program were announced this year. You can view the new CRC-Ps here. They represent an investment by the Commonwealth of $47 million, and leverage $133 million of combined industry, Commonwealth and research institution funding. 

Congratulations once again to the teams who have worked so hard on their successful bids. The high quality of all the bids is a hallmark of the CRC program, which has a 30-year track record of bringing together industry, research institutions and government to collaborate in a way that delivers results. 
Between them, they have created new jobs, new products, and new Australian capacity.
We made the case for the Cooperative Research Australia community  
We made four submissions to government on the impact of CRCs, CRC-P's and industry-research collaboration. In February we made a Pre-Budget submission for the 2021-22 Federal Budget, in April we made a submission on the University Research Commercialisation Consultation Paper, in September made a submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Australian Manufacturing Industry, and in October shared member views on the Higher Education Research Commercialisation IP Framework

Collaborate Innovate 2021 - Part 1 
Covid proved no barrier to bringing the community together in-person and online for Part 1 of Collaborate Innovate 2021, celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Cooperative Research Centres Program and exploring the innovation landscape in Australia and across the globe. 

Highlights of the conference included a discussion as entertaining as it was thought-provoking between globally renowned economist Professor Mariana Mazzucato and AFR Higher Education Editor Julie Hare, an illuminating international panel opened by British High Commissioner HE Vicki Treadall, and the treat of a panel of Three Chief Scientists tackling the big questions for Australian innovation.   
It was also great to hear from both Minister Price and Shadow Minister for Industry and Innovation Ed Husic – and wonderful to have both reaffirm support for CRCs.   
The program was capped off at the National Press Club by a superb 2021 Ralph Slatyer Address on Science and Society by Dr Katherine Woodthorpe AO. 

We’re immensely grateful to our sponsors, which includes Principal Partner the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources for their support. 

If you missed the conference, or have colleagues who missed it, catch-up registrations are available that provide access to all conference sessions here.
Reminder Save the Date | Collaborate Innovate Part Two: 31 March- 1 April 2022. 
We are really looking forward to welcoming you back to Canberra and are pleased to confirm that part two will take place 31 March – 1 April 2022 in Canberra, with the Innovation Showcase at Parliament House on 31 March. 
We will also hold a Cooperative Research meets Parliament Day ahead of the conference for those who wish to participate. 
It will take place during Budget week, so we are looking forward to presenting an active program of Parliamentary engagement for our members, as well as the 30th Anniversary Gala Dinner and Excellence in Innovation Awards at Museum of Australian Democracy Old Parliament House, workshops, and in-person community of practice meetings.

Stage 2 Round 23

Cooperative Research Australia would like to congratulate the six bids that have been invited to Stage 2 in round 23 of the CRC Program. The round was very competitive with 15 bids being submitted. The six bids invited are Care Economy Cooperative Research Centre, Sovereign Manufacturing Automation for Composites (SoMAC) CRC, CRC for Intelligent Manufacturing (CRC4IM), CRC SAAFE (Solving Antimicrobial Resistance in Agribusiness, Food and Environments, ONE Basin Cooperative Research Centre (ONE Basin CRC), Plastic Waste Cooperative Research Centre. The six CRCs will now submit a stage 2 application addressing the CRC Advisory Committee’s feedback and attend an interview with the committee. Stage 2 applications close on 3 February with interviews on 28-29th March with the announcement made in May.  
A huge thank you to our members, our partners, our sponsors and all of our contacts in which we have had the pleasure to work with this year. 
We look forward to strengthening and promoting our commitment to industry- research collaboration and innovation in Australia in 2022. 
I hope you enjoy this December edition of the newsletter which is packed with great stories from our members.
On behalf of the CRA Board and team we thank you for your ongoing support of the association and wish you and your families a safe and happy holiday season. 
Warm regards
Jane O’Dwyer 

Alumni Profile | Dr. Jessica Breadsell

‘I had always said that I was never going to do a PhD, and then I did one,’ chuckled Dr Jessica Breadsell, Industry PhD Program Coordinator at RACE for 2030 CRC.

‘I thought of PhDs as sitting in a library, reading lots of books, and being super smart. Whereas I’m a very people person – I like interacting with people and I didn’t think that I could do that in a PhD.’ But as a research assistant at the Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute, she investigated how people were using solar panels in their homes and realised that researchers do work on real world projects. A mentor encouraged her to pursue this research for her own PhD with the Low Carbon Living CRC and she took a leap of faith: ‘I sort of fell into it…but in a good way.’

The Low Carbon Living CRC was a research and innovation hub which existed between 2012 and 2019 to create a low carbon future for Australia’s built environment sector. Jessica’s PhD with the CRC was based in White Gum Valley (WGV) in Perth, a ‘living laboratory’ which was a prototype of low carbon housing precincts. She found that it was a rich environment for collaboration and innovation. ‘WGV was spearheaded by DevelopmentWA, there was also the City of Fremantle, a landscaping company as well as a lot of energy providers… So that was a really great experience to be introduced to the different stakeholders, undertake knowledge sharing and observe how academics work with industry.’ Alongside the industry partners, Jessica gained valuable exposure to the work of other researchers. She is a social scientist, and her own research was focused on the lives, household practices, and routines of the residents of WGV. However, she had many colleagues who did more technical research into the solar power and battery systems. ‘It was really great to see the connections between areas of research. And then seeing how it impacts the real world, not just theory.’  She is proud that the research of her and others in the WGV contributed deeply to the understanding of low carbon housing in Australia and is spawning two more precincts in Perth. 

As Jessica reached the end of her PhD, the Low Carbon Living CRC helped her transition to other opportunities. ‘The CRC had some training for us on project commercialisation, how to engage with industry partners, and how to sell your research. I think that training was really useful for me because it made me realise that even as a social scientist, I had benefit.’ After her PhD, she continued to write industry focused reports such as the One Planet Living Assessment Review Framework which synthesised a lot of the research done at WGV. She also did some rapid literature reviews to further contribute to the knowledge base of the field. Her industrial PhD experience, connections across academia and industry, and rapid literature reviews led to her being asked to become the Industry PhD Program Coordinator with RACE for 2030 CRC. 

She strongly recommends young researchers to consider doing an industry PhD. ‘It gives you access to networks that can sometimes be difficult to break into if you’re not in a CRC or embedded with industry.’ She emphasised the importance of networking, but even as a people-person herself, she acknowledges how difficult it is. ‘It can be exhausting and difficult to just walk up to someone at an event but ultimately the contacts I have made are one of the big things that got me to where I am today. So even if it’s uncomfortable, definitely get out there… Start early, because they really do build up and you never know where they will lead you.’

Jessica does her best to cultivate these networks in the PhD students that she coordinates in her role at RACE for 2030 CRC. ‘We have associated industry reference groups with each project, as well as the industry partner, so they are immediately getting to know the industry and the stakeholders in that space. And I think they are appreciative of having that network already established for them to tap into and to guide them on their journey… Some of our students, especially when they’re partnered with a smaller start up in their PhD, might often be sitting at the office one day a week. So whilst they are working on their PhD for the rest of the time, they also have that connection with their industry partner and see what’s happening in the day to day activities of the office, which I think is a unique experience for PhD students.’ 

She concluded the interview with some remarks about the big picture of collaborative research. ‘Academics and industry collaborating is going to be the future of research. It’s important if we’re going to solve problems like climate change, circular economy, reducing emissions, that we engage with industry, because they’re the people on the ground, working on these problems every single day. But it’s also important to maintain engagement with academia because we can pull together lessons from many contexts and offer new suggestions and ways of thinking. So I think it’s really important for people in academia or doing PhDs to engage with industry and start thinking about what is going to be useful and what are practical solutions to their research. Because in the future, this is the only way that we are going to solve these problems.’


Bidding for a CRC or CRC-P? 

Bidding for a CRC or a CRC-P is a very competitive process. Not all bids make themselves known to Cooperative Research Australia 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.

We host regular roundtable information sessions for each bidding round and to help guide you with the bidding process. The most recent bidding roundtable is available here.

Our website is also a great resource and has a list of all current bids available to view here. If you have a bid and would like it featured in the newsletter please let us know. 

If you are currently preparing for, or thinking about a CRC or a CRC-P bid in the current or a future round, Cooperative Research Australia is here to assist you, so please get in touch with us here.

CRC News

Welcome Shannon O’Rourke as Chief Executive Officer of the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre (FBICRC)

The Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre’s (FBICRC) Board of Directors are pleased to announce the appointment of Shannon O’Rourke as Chief Executive Officer.

Shannon is a seasoned executive with 25 years’ experience in the energy sector including senior management roles with Woodside, Chevron and industrial research with Rio Tinto.

Board Chair Tim Shanahan said Shannon’s appointment came at a transition point in the FBICRC’s six-year lifespan.

“Shannon is well placed to lead FBICRC through its next phase of activities – delivering on the outcomes expected from its research and development collaborations and shaping a growth agenda.

“His career spans traditional and renewable energy markets with a track record of success in the commercialisation of research outcomes including managing CRC collaborations through the Future Fuels CRC and the CO2 CRC.

“I look forward to working with Shannon as we take on the next phase of our journey to accelerate the growth in investment and employment in battery industries in Australia,” Mr Shanahan said.

Mr Shanahan also acknowledged the contribution of founding CEO Stedman Ellis.

“Stedman has played a pivotal role in the success of the FBICRC to date, and as we approach this organisational transition, I have every confidence that Shannon will be able to capitalise on the solid foundation that has been established under Stedman’s leadership over the past three years,” Mr Shanahan said.

Shannon will officially join the organisation on 1 December, 2021 with a handover planned to ensure a smooth transition.

CRC TiME Inaugural Forum #CreatingConnections2021

At the end of their first full year of operations, the CRC for Transformations in Mining Economies (CRC TiME) held their first partner Forum across three days in November and December. With over 70 partner organisations across six stakeholder groups, it was a tremendous opportunity to come together virtually, share knowledge, and contribute to the development of new projects. 
The Hon. Keith Pitt, Minister for Resources and Water opened the Forum and reminded attendees how closure for one company may be a beginning for another.

The 2021-2024 CRC TiME Strategic Plan was launched at the start of the Forum by CRC TiME CEO, Dr Guy Boggs and the Annual Report and Annual Financial Statements were released at the CRC TiME 2021 AGM which was held at the end of the Forum. 

Read more here

Parliamentary Friends of Soil celebrate World Soil Day

Parliamentarians, scientists, farmers and policy makers gathered ahead of World Soil Day at a Parliamentary Friends of Soil breakfast in Canberra.

Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Soil, the Hon. Linda Burney MP and the Hon. Michael McCormack MP spoke at the event, sharing their views on the importance of healthy soils for Australia.

“The most important heritage we have received, and the most important we will pass on to those who follow us, is the health of the land in which we live,” said the Hon. Linda Burney MP.

“Soil is critical for supporting life on earth,” said the Hon. Michael McCormack MP.

Dr Michael Crawford, CEO of the Soil CRC, believes the Parliamentary Friends of Soil are a good way to keep the spotlight on soil.

“It’s great to have non-partisan support to bring issues associated with soil health to the attention of politicians and policy makers.

World Soil Day provides an opportunity for the soil community to come together and highlight the importance of soil health to all sectors of Australian society,” he said.

Read more here

Industry 4.0 and Katerra Conversations launched

Building 4.0 CRC has launched two Conversations from its new series.

In Conversation #1: Implications of Industry 4.0, hear what the experts have to say about Industry 4.0 and its applications in the building sector.

In Conversation #2: Deconstructing Katerra, join a panel of international experts as they provide a more nuanced view regarding the lessons and reasons behind the collapse of Katerra.
Read more here

Taking protective action during floods and storms

Public safety messages for floods and storms will be broadcast on ABC Radio this severe weather season, backed by Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC research. Comprising of 26 different public messages, the announcements are the first-ever nationally agreed set of public flood and storm risk messages, having been endorsed in doctrine by AFAC.

This project resulted in a final set of Community Service Announcements (CSAs) designed to provide communities with information and advice about protective actions they can take when threatened or impacted by floods and severe storms.

Utilising the findings from the CRC’s Flood risk communication project, the development of the 26 nationally consistent CSAs was led by Hon A/Prof Mel Taylor at Macquarie University. The project was highly collaborative and made possible by the creation of a National Flood CSA Working Group, comprised of representatives from the Bureau of Meteorology and State Emergency Services from all states and territories with responsibility for response in floods. The project was facilitated and supported by AFAC through the AFAC SES Community Safety Group.

“Developing nationally consistent flood messaging is a significant achievement for the emergency services sector,” said AFAC Director Risk and Resilience, Amanda Leck.

Read more here

Demystifying PropTech

There’s increasing hype around one of the world’s fastest growing technology clusters, PropTech. But is this hype simply just another passing fad, or can there be real value gained from PropTech for the building and construction industry? Hear from Building 4.0 CRC’s Industry Lead, Isaac Coonan. 
Read more here


Building 4.0 CRC Annual Report 
28 projects launched, 69 publications, 17 PhD Scholarships awarded... Read about the CRC's major achievements across its first 1.5 years of operation, in our 2021 Annual Report - out now!

Read more here

Autism CRC 2020-21 Annual Report now available

Autism CRC’s 2020-21 Annual Report summarises the work undertaken by our national and international collaboration, and its impact across the lifespan for our end-user community – autistic individuals and their families, as well as those professionals and organisations that work to support them. As this Annual Report describes, over the past eight years, we have seen the research, development and effective national implementation of approaches, tools and platforms for:

  • identification, assessment and diagnosis, and supports focussed on an individual’s goals, strengths and challenges;
  • inclusive capacity-building for educators and schools, health professionals, employers and service providers; and
  • autistic individuals and their families as they pursue their own goals and interests over life’s journey.

We have also seen the development of major research assets with the potential to continue to underpin the development of new and enhanced evidence-based practice from early childhood to the school years to adolescent and adult life. It is only through the collaborative efforts of all that so much has been achieved and value created in order that autistic people might be empowered to use their diverse strengths and interests.

We hope you enjoy this year’s summary.

Read more here

FEnEx CRC welcomes Woodside Energy as a new Core Participant

Woodside Energy recently became a Core Participant of the Future Energy Exports Cooperative Research Centre (FEnEx CRC), joining a collaboration of more than 27 industry, government and research organisations working on the knowledge and technologies needed to lower the carbon emissions associated with the energy Australia supplies to millions of people overseas.

Over the next nine years, Woodside will invest more than $1.35 million into applied research and demonstration projects conducted through the FEnEx CRC, with a primary focus on growing clean hydrogen production and the supply chains needed to establish its export. This investment will complement and support Woodside’s plans to establish the proposed H2Perth ammonia and liquid hydrogen project in Kwinana, Western Australia, and their H2TAS renewable ammonia project, proposed for Long Reach in Tasmania’s Bell Bay area.

FEnEx CRC research is supported by a grant from the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources through the Cooperative Research Centres program. The CRC will champion industry-led research, education and training to strengthen the sustainability of the LNG sector and develop a world-leading hydrogen export industry in Australia.

FEnEx CRC Chair Professor Eric May said he was pleased to welcome Woodside into the FEnEx CRC.

“Woodside has an incredibly strong track record of developing and delivering Australia’s energy resources to both domestic and international customers.

“They are a long-term innovator when it comes to solving technical challenges. Our Cooperative Research Centre looks forward to working with them on hydrogen exports, LNG decarbonisation, and the development of even more efficient operations to help keep energy costs low.”

Woodside Executive Vice President Sustainability Shaun Gregory said that the objectives and focus areas of the FEnEx CRC align with Woodside’s vision to deliver affordable energy solutions.

“Woodside is focused on being a low cost, lower-carbon supplier of energy into Asia and other markets. Alongside LNG, part of this focus includes developing the new energy products of the future, such as hydrogen.

“Australia has the potential to become a globally significant supplier of hydrogen and Woodside looks forward to contributing our expertise as an LNG operator to the FEnEx CRC’s work to develop this new industry.”

Western Australia’s Minister for State Development Roger Cook congratulated Woodside on becoming the latest member of the LNG Jobs Taskforce to join the FEnEx CRC.

“The FEnEx CRC is an important initiative for the LNG Jobs Taskforce with the state contributing $10 million over 10 years, to assist with maintaining our position as an international leader in LNG exports.”

“By supporting FEnEx CRC’s innovative research program, our state will become a significant hydrogen exporter, bringing with it opportunities for investment, innovation and more jobs for Western Australians.

“This program is in line with the energy transition and changes in the global environment, and will support the development of our hydrogen industry.”

About Woodside

Woodside led the development of the LNG industry in Australia and is applying this same pioneering spirit to solving future energy challenges. The company is recognised for its world-class capabilities as an integrated upstream supplier of energy with a focus on LNG, which is a lower-emissions, competitive fuel ideally suited to supporting decarbonisation and improving air quality. Woodside is working to improve its energy efficiency, reduce and offset emissions, and explore options for lower-carbon energy (including hydrogen) in line with its aspiration to achieve net zero by 2050. Woodside seeks out opportunities to improve business performance through innovative thinking and applying technologies developed outside its industry.

Read more here


DHCRC project using data to improve medicine selection and dosing accuracy for renal patients

A new $1 million research project to improve medicine selection and dosing for patients suffering renal impairment is underway between Northern Territory (NT) Health, the University of South Australia and the Digital Health CRC.

The project aims to create a clinical decision support tool to help healthcare professionals accurately prescribe medicines for patients with impaired kidney function. The tool will be a standalone service, delivered via an application program interface (API), allowing for easy integration with existing prescribing and/or dispensing software systems.

NT Health’s Executive Director of Medicines Management, Bhavini Patel said the NT Health team are delighted to be undertaking their first project with the DHCRC in partnership with a leading academic team.

“This partnership allows NT Health to continue to build on our artificial intelligence capability, assisting in making healthcare in the Territory smarter, safer and more sustainable,” she said.

“The project will ensure safer prescribing and dispensing of medications for people living with kidney disease and reduce the risk of medication associated renal problems.”
Learn more

IMCRC activate project set to deliver game-changing dispatchable hydrogen gas (H2) tanks

The Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC), advanced materials startup Rux Energy and the University of Sydney have joined forces on a collaborative research project that will deliver game-changing dispatchable hydrogen gas (H2) tanks, changing the trajectory of Australia’s green energy industry.

Currently, the inability to store H2 efficiently is preventing it from being widely used as a zero-carbon fuel. To combat this, the Sydney-based research project, which commenced in March 2021, has developed new metal-organic frameworks for the high-performance adsorption of H2.

The new materials are set to be integrated into field-ready tank prototypes for trials and testing with SME and large industry partners in 2022, with the overall goal to deliver affordable green hydrogen for heavy and long-distance electric vehicles by 2025.

Commenting on the project, Rux Energy Founder and CEO Dr Jehan Kanga said the IMCRC activate funding had enabled Rux Energy to onboard the resources and expertise needed to develop the materials and safe and efficient storage of dispatchable H2.

“We’ve been able to use our recent findings as proof points to approach industry about new projects and look to globally relevant areas of expansion, including aviation and marine, which, along with trucking, would contribute to abating at least 12% of carbon emissions,” Dr Kanga said.

“What began as a $100,000 investment has catalysed more than $4 million in investments over the next three years, which speaks to the success of the collaboration.”

Learn more

Latest IMCRC activate project set to save lives, reduce costs and support local industry 

In an effort to improve road safety, a new research collaboration is developing traffic lights that absorb kinetic energy during a collision.

With $100,000 in funding through the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre’s (IMCRC) activate program, Australian road safety manufacturing company Impact Absorbing Systems (IAS) is collaborating with University of South Australia (UniSA) STEM to re-engineer and significantly reduce the risk of collision related injury to vehicle occupants and pedestrians using an energy absorbing traffic light (EATL) design. IAS is contributing $100,000 to the project which is worth $640,000 in total research effort.

The innovative energy transfer mechanism, which is currently used commercially in IAS’s Australian made energy absorbing bollards (EAB), will also minimise damage to traffic lights themselves, lowering replacement costs for the Department of Infrastructure and Transportation and local councils.

Over the next 12 months, IAS and UniSA STEM will optimise the existing EAB design to better suit the shape, length, size and location of common traffic lights. Operating out of UniSA’s Testlab and engineering design facilities, the team will use advanced manufacturing techniques, materials testing and computational modelling to build and test various EATL designs, delivering a world first product that complies with road safety standards.

Learn more

Government initiatives to support women in the transport sector

This project will identify the barriers to women entering and progressing within the transport sector, undertake an audit of and assess initiatives at all levels of government that foster and support women in the transport sector, and evaluate any gaps identified in existing initiatives.

The methodology will involve a literature review, desktop audit of initiatives and liaison with stakeholders where required. Each initiative will be assessed according to an agreed set of criteria, and then a sector analysis will be undertaken to provide a summary of initiatives and identify any gaps, including at what level of jurisdiction, areas of focus and success factors.

A series of rich case studies will be developed to highlight particularly successful initiatives.

Project background

Australia’s economic and social success owes much to the complex and constantly evolving transport networks. One of the greatest challenges is finding and retaining the transport workforce it needs in a highly dynamic and globally competitive marketplace. Australia’s transport sector has long been dominated by men.

Despite the industry experiencing strong employment growth in the last decade, just 20%1 of employees in the wider transport industry are female and the gender composition of the workforce has largely remained unchanged for decades.

There have been a number of initiatives established both by government and industry which aim to address the gender gap in the sector, and this proposal will provide an audit of all initiatives at all levels of government and industry that foster or support women in entering and progressing in the transport sector.

At the inaugural Australian Women in Transport forum in March 2021, the Secretary of DITRDC noted a need to more clearly identify barriers to women entering operational roles within the transport sector, as a lack of operational experience was often a disadvantage for candidates seeking executive roles within the transport sector.

Following the forum, in May 2021, infrastructure and transport ministers agreed to an initial suite of actions including the undertaking of a stocktake of initiatives (Commonwealth, state and territory governments) that foster or support women in the transport sector.

Project objectives

This project will identify the barriers to women entering and progressing within the transport sector, undertake an audit and evaluate initiatives at all levels of government that foster and support women in the transport sector, and assess any gaps identified in existing initiatives.

A framework for assessing initiatives and documenting findings will be developed using a standardised methodology to benchmark effectiveness in consultation between Deakin and DITRDC.

The findings of this research report will be used by DITRDC to provide infrastructure and transport ministers with insights into the current state of play and highlight any gaps and opportunities to encourage women in the sector that could be addressed to support increased participation by women at a national level given the benefits that increased gender balance delivers (such as increased profitability and productivity).

Learn more

CAVs: Barriers and opportunities for people with disability

The iMOVE project Australia’s Public Transport Disability Standards and CAVs was completed recently, and we are pleased to make available for download to you copies of the project’s final reports.

The project began in December 2020, with participants Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (DITRDC) and La Trobe University.

For this project, DITRDC engaged La Trobe University to:

  • clarify the extent to which the current Transport Standards can integrate CAV and associated technologies
  • assess the challenges that people with disabilities (PWD) will encounter with these emerging technologies, and inform the defining of a framework; and
  • recommend amendments to the Transport Standards that can be implemented through the current reform process


La Trobe undertook to investigate and make its recommendations by the following methods:

  • reviewed international regulatory and legal best practices
  • conducted focus groups with PWD and representative bodies of PWD
  • engaged with the CAV industry (with a focus on CAV shuttles and Connected and Automated Air Taxis) in Singapore, USA, UK, Netherlands
  • consulted with the United States Access Board and here in Australia with Universal Design Australia

Report findings

The final report’s findings fall across four areas:

  1. Limitations of the current Transport Standards
  2. Non-regulatory actions
  3. Regulatory actions
  4. Regulatory considerations

Limitations of the current transport standards

The report found challenges and opportunity across four areas:

  • Vehicle design: Including access pathways, automated doors and floor space provided, consistency for the blind, and a standard approach for wheelchair users
  • Monitoring and direct assistance: Some functions typically performed by the driver that are important to PWD have not yet been included in the Transport Standards and will have to be delivered otherwise. Most industry representatives are planning to deploy remote monitoring or a steward.
  • Operations: CAVs have an opportunity, and in some cases a necessity, to standardise operational aspects providing a more consistent experience to PWD. For instance, the gap distance between the platform and the vehicle can be programmed (necessity), as can the acceleration and deceleration speed (opportunity).
  • Human Machine Interface: Given that the face-to-face interaction with a human driver will diminish or disappear, the need for a universally accessible communications is required. For instance, currently shuttles rely on a touch screen which poses a challenge even in simple linear routes. Variable routes increase the challenge to ensure the right route is chosen and the PWD arrives at the correct stop

Download the report, watch the webinar

For your copy of the three final report documents for this project, click the links below:

Learn more

Meetings, Events and Conferences

Save the Date! Collaborate Innovate Part 2

You are invited to join us in person in Canberra on Thursday 31st March and Friday 1st April 2022 as we bring you part two of the Collaborate Innovate conference program.

We’re looking forward to seeing you as we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Cooperative Research Centres program, a pillar of the Australian innovation system, with a compelling program. The highlights include Cooperative Research Meets Parliament, the 30th Anniversary Innovation Showcase in The Great Hall at Parliament House, Gala Dinner and 2021 Excellence in Innovation Awards at Old Parliament House. The remainder of the program will include community of practice sessions, workshops and plenaries at QT Canberra.

To keep up to date with the latest program, topics and speakers please visit regularly.

We look forward to seeing you in person.

Register here

Save the Date! Food Agility CRC Digital Agrifood Summit 2022

Join us in Wagga Wagga or online
1-2 June for the Digital Agrifood Summit 2022

The Digital Agrifood Summit 2022 is an up-close and practical look at the future of farming. It’s closer than you think. In fact, it’s already here.

Join us at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga or online for a series of fascinating keynotes, panels, presentations, demonstrations and site visits, exploring the latest in innovation and emerging commercial technologies. Including…

  • Hands-free farming: Tour the Global Digital Farm, Australia’s first ‘hands-free’ farm.
  • Robotics and Artificial Intelligence: Hear from researchers and tech innovators and watch live demonstrations of the latest AI  technology for agriculture      
  • Carbon and natural capital: Dig into Australia’s emerging carbon economy and what’s in it for farmers.     
  • The Circular Economy: Learn how businesses are  incorporating circular economy principles into their business models to reduce waste and cost.

Plus, an onsite gala dinner hosted by Professor Stan Grant Jnr on Wednesday 1st June. 

Register here

Awards and Competitions

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science – Science Prizes

Closing date:10 Feb 2022 05:00 PM AEDT

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science – Science Prizes award Australian scientists and innovators with prizes to recognise outstanding achievements in science and research-based innovation.

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science are Australia’s most prestigious and highly regarded awards for outstanding achievements in:

  • scientific research
  • research-based innovation
  • excellence in science teaching

The prizes will award up to $750,000 each year for outstanding achievements.

There are 5 science prizes for science and innovation:

  • Prime Minister’s Prize for Science ($250,000)
  • Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation ($250,000)
  • Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year ($50,000)
  • Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year ($50,000)
  • Prize for New Innovators ($50,000)
Apply now for The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science – Science Prizes
Learn more

Jobs, Fellowships & Scholarships

Building 4.0 CRC Round 2 PhD Scholarships – now open!

The second round of Building 4.0 CRC PhD Scholarships is now open!

A total of 22 Scholarships are available (Full and Top-up) 

Applications close: Monday 22 February 2022.

Our PhD Scholarships are a unique opportunity to work within a leading initiative set to transform the building and construction industry.

Opportunities are available across our three University Partners: The University of Melbourne, QUT, and within the Faculties of Art, Design and Architecture, Business and Economics, Engineering, Information Technology, and Law at Monash University.

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Natural Hazards Research Australia have launched an Associate Student program!

The program will give postgrad students the opportunity to become part of the #naturalhazards research community in Australia and New Zealand, with networking, invitations to events, professional development opportunities such as writing, public speaking and media skills, as well access to apply for travel funding support. 
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Cooperative Research Members

Autism CRC Building 4.0 CRC
SmartCrete CRC
RACE for 2030 CRC
Future Energy Exports (FEnEx) CRC
Research Australia
CRC for Optimising
Resource Extraction
Innovative Manufacturing CRC
CRC for Honey Bee
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
Digital Finance CRC Heavy Industry Low-carbon Transition CRC Marine Bioproducts CRC

Research Partner Members

The University of New South Wales 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 
James Cook University  University of Canberra Edith Cowan University
University of Southern Queensland RMIT University La Trobe University
University of Adelaide Australian National University Deakin University
Western Sydney University Charles Sturt University Central Queensland University 
Charles Darwin University University of New England Swinburne University of Technology

Associate Members 

FrontierSI Oral Health CRC           Practera
Australasian Pork Research
Institute Limited (APRIL)
Geneworks         RoZetta Institute

Service Partner Members 

Campus Plus Elementary Law FAL Lawyers
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License.

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