Cooperative Research Centers Association
Registrations are now open for the 2015 CRC Association Conference, The Australia 2040 Forum.

This year is the 25th Anniversary of the Cooperative Research Centres Program. To celebrate this milestone, we are holding our annual conference in Canberra from 25-27 May 2015.

The Australia 2040 Forum will be held on 26 May in Australian Parliament House. We will look back 25 years over the achievements of Cooperative Research Centres and 25 years into the future, examining the challenges and opportunities for Australia in the next quarter century. A showcase of CRC achievements and the Excellence in Innovation Awards will be held in the Great Hall that evening. A series of important workshops will be held on the 27th.

We are excited to announce the first round of speakers:

Ms Geraldine Doogue AO:
Ms Geraldine Doogue AO will be our MC for the Australia 2040 Forum and the Excellence in Innovation Awards dinner.

Dr Megan Clark AC:
Dr Megan Clark AC will deliver the Ralph Slatyer Address on Science and Society at the Australian War Memorial on 25 May 2015.

Ms Julie Inman-Grant:
Ms Julie Inman-Grant is the Australia Asia-Pacific Director of Public Policy for Twitter Australia. Ms Inman-Grant will be a panellist in the Communication in the Future session.

If you are interested in supporting the conference contact for sponsorship opportunities.

Mark 25-27 May in your diaries now!


Register Now !


Time to Shine: Calling Early Career Researchers

From growing 'greener' grass; Understanding Interphase Formation in Thermoset Composite Welding; to Turning waste into black gold, these are only a taste of the terrific entries we received in the 2014 Showcasing Early Career Researchers Competition.

The CRC Association is pleased to announce applications are now open for the 2015 Early Career Researcher Showcase sponsored by CSIRO.

The five best entries will get:

  • A trip to Canberra with airfares, transfers, conference registration and all social events, including the CRC Association’s Gala Excellence in Innovation Awards Dinner.
  • $1,000.
  • The opportunity to give a 5-minute presentation on your work at Australia 2040 for the chance to win $5,000.
Applications close Thursday 26 February 2015. Get your entries in! 

For more information click here and click here to see last year's entries.

Excellence in Innovation

Applications are now open for the CRC Association’s Excellence in Innovation Awards. The Awards recognise outstanding examples of the transfer of CRC research results, knowledge and technologies that have been developed for a wide range of users of research, including the community, companies and government agencies.

Last year we had applications ranging from Polycrystalline Diamond cutting tools (Advanced Manufacturing CRC) which offer superior cutting and wear performance; RamSelect Training Program (Sheep CRC) which helps to demystify the application of sheep genetics across the supply chain; through to Models of Vision Care (Vision CRC) that develops and evaluates models of vision care to be used throughout the world to alleviate avoidable vision impairment.

Applications close COB Friday 20th February 2015.

Click here to apply and for more information.
An important year ahead for Australian innovation
Consolidating policy directions, renewed leadership and aspirations and even a low Australian dollar could mean we look back on 2015 as a very positive year in Australian innovation, writes Dr Tony Peacock, CEO of the CRC Association.
This year will see in a lot of changes in the Australian innovation scene. It isn't a major review year like 2008 or 2002 but if you look at the various issues stacked up, there is the potential for 2015 to be the most important year in a decade or two. We are due to see a number of policy issues come together that will give the framework for much of the innovation scene over the next few years. Rarely have we had a year where so many leaders will be new and looking to make their mark. Finally, the reaction of the business world during 2015 will be critical to our future performance.
Innovation policy directions
There isn't much doubt about how Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane (with "Science" now formally part of his title) views the direction of science and innovation policy. He is pretty plain spoken and he has consistently called for closer links between science and industry. He tells industry they need to step up at least as much as he says scientists need to focus more on collaboration with industry (although it never seems to get the same media coverage). He has repeatedly called Australia's level of science-industry collaboration "appalling", citing the same OECD figures Chief Scientist Ian Chubb has kept drawing our attention to.
The view seems very consistent across government. The Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, is key because Australia is so reliant on university-based researchers, and the Australian Research Council sits with him. The discussion paper on Boosting Commercial Returns from Research is a joint one and it is quite straightforward. The new Health Minister, Sussan Ley, has formerly had responsibility for the Rural R&D Corporations and knows how well industry-academic links can work. 
If the directions are clear, the route to getting better links between industry and academia are still a bit opaque. Growth Centres are announced and the details should come early in the year; the CRC Review will be given to government early in the year but it might be budget time before we see a response. The biggest change in 2015 is likely to be a realignment of the Higher Education Block Grant Scheme to provide greater incentives for collaboration between research and industry. This is huge, given the size of the block grant scheme and its impact on how university-based researchers go about their business.
Hopefully, the future of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme (NCRIS) will become clearer. For those of us that have been around long enough to remember the scramble of the old Major National Research Facilities, NCRIS was a major step forward. It is currently tied in with the university reforms but needs sorting out this year.
Leading innovation
Larry Marshall is now in place as CEO at CSIRO. "More entrepreneurial" is, unsurprisingly, his message so far. There's no doubt CSIRO will want to further increase its collaboration with business, the issue will be how it does so. 
Warwick Anderson departs the NH&MRC shortly and his replacement is expected to be announced very soon. Ian Chubb has increased the profile of the role of Chief Scientist and has promoted a very consistent line on the need for greater strategy. His tenure is due to finish in May and whoever takes over will have big shoes to fill.  The new Commonwealth Science Council has only had one meeting so far, so perhaps the Government will ask Professor Chubb to stay on until the strategic planning work is put in place. The Howard Government had part-time Chief Scientists, but given the sensitivity to the issue of the Minister's title, I don't think we are likely to see a reversion to that situation.
With the Commonwealth Science Council now in place, it has the major task of guiding through a Strategic Plan for Australian science. It includes an equal number of business innovators as scientists and the Chief Scientist has done a power of work in the past couple of years. Conceivably, we could have some clear priorities articulated during 2015.
The environment for innovation
It might be just me, but it seems like there is a dawning of awareness that Australia needs to dramatically boost its level of innovation. The major transitions going on in manufacturing, mining and agriculture all show that we have to be innovators to embrace the future. The interest in start-ups seems to have boomed in the last year or two and recent government changes will help continue that interest.
Opening up new markets through our new trade agreements and the lower Australian dollar add considerably to the environment for innovation. If you add these factors together with renewed sector leadership and some new policy direction and clear strategic direction, then there are a lot positives becoming aligned. Obviously I regret any reductions in government spending on innovation. But business outspends governments at least two for one on innovation, and if the environment and direction continues to improve, 2015 might be looked back on as a really important period of regeneration.

CRCA Business Manager Moves On

Pauline Quinane, the CRC Association's Business Manager will be leaving the Association at the end of January. Pauline has been with the Association for more than seven years and will be missed by the Board, staff and Members.
"We owe Pauline a great debt of gratitude for her years of dedicated service" said CRC Association Chairman, the Hon Tony Staley. "We wish her all the very best in the future."

Passing of Professor Dave Choquenot

The CRC Community will be saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Professor Dave Choquenot, a Director of the Invasive Animals CRC and Director of the Institute of Applied Ecology at the University of Canberra. The Chair of the CRC, Helen Cathles, passed on this sad news to her colleagues. A Memorial Service was held at the University of Canberra and was also streamed online.

We pass on our deepest sympathy to Dave's wife, Dr. Dianne Gleeson, and young family.

Rail Manufacturing CRC CEO Announced

Dr Stuart Thomson has been appointed as the CEO of the Rail Manufacturing CRC (RMCRC).

Dr Thomson will commence employment with RMCRC on 1 March and after a handover period of one month from the interim CEO, Dr Mark Trigg, Dr Thomson will take over as CEO from 1 April.

Dr Thomson's most recent role was as Executive Director and CEO of the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation. Before that he was COO and Director of Research at CRC Mining, and was a program manager at ANSTO.

“The Board of Directors of RMCRC are delighted to have someone of Dr Thomson's calibre lead the future development of the CRC,” Paul Johnson, Chairman of the Rail Manufacturing CRC.  

“Dr Trigg has been carrying out the role of interim CEO for RMCRC since its inception and his made an outstanding contribution to the establishment of the CRC in its current form. On behalf of the Board of Directors I wish to publicly recognise his efforts. I wish to formally recognise also the major contribution made by Mr Barrie Finnin in identifying and establishing the sixteen projects which will form the basis of the R&D work at the CRC. Mr Finnin has agreed to continue as the Research Manager at the CRC for the immediate future.”

The CRC Association would like to congratulate Dr Thomson on his appointment as CEO and we look forward to working together in the future.

Know How Edition 4 Out Now !

In this issue -Australia’s leaders in science. As scientists shift their focus to industry collaborations, KnowHow profiles the scientists making a mark here and overseas and looks at the Australian ingenuity that is achieving commercial outcomes on the world stage.

We also delve into the mega growth sector of agriculture, look at how advanced manufacturing could move us strongly into niche markets in cells and auto manufacturing, and examine the revolutionary vision correction technique that will prevent future generations from reaching for their reading glasses.

Be part of  KnowHow May issue: Australia 2040.

Bringing together ideas that will shape the next 25 years of science in Australia, this edition of KnowHow looks ahead to the innovations we can expect to see in 2040 in the fields of energy and sustainability, medical science and technology, automation and the new digital economy. It will be the official publication of the May 2015 CRC Association conference in Canberra, with approximately 500 delegates attending.

Contact Karen Taylor at Refraction Media for advertising and content options.  or 02 9699 8999

Time to Review your Travel

CRC Association members enjoy access to significant discounts on both domestic and international travel.

If you haven’t used our travel arrangement recently, take the time to review them for 2015. Over the past two years, CRC Association members have saved around $600,000 on Qantas fares alone, an average of 16.5% savings.

Through our deal with Campus Travel, the Association’s preferred full service travel provider, you not only save on Qantas fares but Virgin and a series of airline partners as well.

Even if you can find a better deal by going direct to the Qantas or Virgin website, Campus Travel can match the same price giving you access to the benefits of a full service travel provider with 24/7 staffing making last minute changes much easier. So stop torturing yourself and your EA.  
Some statistics:
  • Red eDeals are Included – You will pay 8% less on average than the published fare;
  • Save 24% on Flexi Savers and 20% on Fully Flexible fares;
  • 21% off the corporate  Qantas Club Lounge Membership;
  • Complete help and training is available to get up and running though Campus Travel.

For more information contact Jamison Warren, Director of Sales, Campus Travel.

Mobile:  0412 856 384


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12 March 2015, Melbourne
Cars of Tomorrow Conference 2015
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10 March 2015, Adelaide
National Workshop on Nuclear Energy for Australia
here for more information.

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Cooperative Research News is published fortnightly by the Cooperative Research Centres Association and distributed free of charge. The CRC Association welcomes contributions but does not guarantee the accuracy, reliability, currency or completeness of any material published, or in any linked site. The material in this Newsletter may include the views or recommendations of third parties, which do not necessarily reflect the views of the CRC Association, or indicate its commitment to a particular course of action. Editorial responsibility is accepted by Professor Tony Peacock, Chief Executive, Cooperative Research Centres Association. Inquiries about publication should be directed here.


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