Cooperative Research Centers Association

There has never been a more exciting time to be an innovator in Australia

Commentary by Dr Tony Peacock
We have had periods of better funding of some areas of science. We’ve had periods where it was easier for university researchers to get grants. But we’ve never had a time when the major parties have been competing to improve the whole innovation system with such vigour. Australia’s future will be better for it.
Today’s National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) announced by the Prime Minister and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, is a new, higher, benchmark. There is over $1 billion in 25 or so measures, but the NISA goes a lot further – it puts new governance on innovation and science in Australia. We will now have a Cabinet subcommittee for Innovation and Science.
Innovation Australia becomes Innovation and Science Australia, with statutory powers. These measures alone should mean we finally get an Australian Innovation System that is worthy of the name, “system”. More important than the new money is the fact that it is virtually all ongoing funds. In my opinion, Ian Chubb will retire a satisfied man having railed against the endless “non-ongoing” science programs that wind-up just as they start performing. No longer will we have the farce of our national infrastructure facing closure every year or so.
I went into this morning’s briefing with a list of 12 expectations: five things I expected; five I hoped for; one I dreamed for; and one I hoped the government wouldn’t go for. I’m please to say, that I was able to tick every box. The government has blown past my expectations and delivered a great package.
There are a few minor issues. For example, start-ups might face a funding drought until the tax deduction rules are in place. Who is going to invest if a 20% tax advantage is just around the corner? Fast and effective implementation is needed.

The Prime Minister made it clear that NISA is a start. He sees constant adjustment and an agile approach. This is needed. Not only is it necessary in the economic climate that we face, but in the political environment as well. The ALP got in early last Friday with a raft of proposals on innovation – many we see in this package. A political environment where parties are battling it on a contest of ideas about Australia’s future? That’s exciting for sure.   The government won’t be able to use NISA as a one-off to keep a few people happy. They’ll need to keep reviewing and improving — I cannot see the ALP backing away from innovation and science anytime soon.
You can view the National Innovation and Science Agenda here.

18th Funding Round to start in February 2016

The 18th CRC funding round will start in February 2016. Guidelines will be issued shortly and this will be the first funding round with CRC-Projects (CRC-Ps) available. The first CRC-Ps are expected to be quickly assessed and set up for a 1 July 2016 start. Full CRCs are expected to start 1 July 2017.
No new money was made available for CRCs in the NISA statement. However, the recently announced $75 million Northern Development CRC represents new money into the programme.

Watt recommends rewarding universities to work with industry

Dr Ian Watt AO submitted his "Review of Research Policy and funding Arrangements" to government last week, recommending a simpler, more transparent and more engaging use of the research block grants.
"The CRC Association is delighted with Dr Watt's recommendations and we hope government takes them up," said Dr Tony Peacock, CEO of the CRC Association.
"The Research Block Grants are currently $1.8 billion annually - well over double the government's annual investment in CSIRO - and they affect how university researchers go about their business and how they are supported by their institutions".
"Dr. Watt has captured the essential issues and recommended good solutions to government. The current system is too complex, not transparent and discourages industry engagement. Fix these three things and university researchers that want to work with industry should no longer be at a disadvantage".

The government has announced changes to the Block Grants in line with Dr Watts recommendations as a major plank of the NISA statement made earlier today.
Registrations are now open for The Business of Innovation 2016 being held in Brisbane next year from 7–9 March, at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The conference will explore the importance of business and industry working with science to create innovation, and how to foster these relationships. The conference will also join onto the World Science Festival, also being held in Brisbane — the first time it has been held outside of New York.

The draft program is now up on the website. There are many fantastic sessions and speakers on offer covering a broad range of topics:  Australian Government assistance and how to get it; CRC collaboration with business industry: an open conversation; and Breaking down silos: how to use crowd-sourcing technology to accelerate your R&D objectives, just to name a few.

Highlighted session: World’s best practice research translation

Come and hear from leading experts in the field of research translation.

Dr John Bell, Senior Associate at ACIL Allen Consulting, and Adj. Prof Ingomar Kelbassa, RMIT Professor and Deputy and Academic Director of Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology until the end of 2015, will be holding a workshop on World’s best practice research translation.

Dr Bell has compared the performance of 14 countries, including an analysis of measures to facilitate collaboration between researchers, businesses and other organisations, for the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA). John will outline various international approaches by governments, industry and institutions to improve research translation.

Fraunhofer is Europe’s largest application-oriented research organisation and a world leader in research translation. Ingomar will explain how the Fraunhofer Institutes work with businesses to develop next generation technologies.

Presented by:

A big thank you to our sponsors

We are currently seeking sponsorship for the event. If you would like to sponsor the event or have a suggestion for a speaker, please contact Jordan Gardner at:

Pacific Island Project wins United Nations Award

The United Nations has recognised the CRC for Spatial Information’s Mapping Exposure to Sea Level Rise in the Pacific Islands Project as a leading initiative dealing with climate change.

This collaborative Project with NGIS Australia and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade allows the Pacific Islands – Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea – to prepare for and adapt to sea level rise brought about by climate change.

In response to the United Nations announcement, the CRC for Spatial Information's CEO Dr Peter Woodgate said, "The CRC for Spatial Information (CRCSI) with support from the Australian Government and NGIS, is delighted to have its work in the Pacific recognised by the United Nations Lighthouse Awards".

"We are proud that this on-the-ground project delivered education and capacity building to the Pacific region. With close links to the Pacific community the CRCSI hopes to continue to bring its expertise to countries tackling the issue of climate change".

The Project provides the fundamental data, skills and tools at-risk communities need to make planning decisions. It trains government decision makers to use online tools and flood maps to understand and mitigate the risks of sea level rise. Using these maps, governments can better understand and communicate climate change risk to local communities and put adaptation plans in place.

Click here to read the rest of the release.

Delivering science that has impact – Plant Biosecurity CRC

The Plant Biosecurity CRC has designed eight theme areas to ensure their scientific research is packaged up to deliver for impact to specific end-users and improves Australian biosecurity practices. The eight theme areas are focused on better border security, enhancing surveillance, and improving diagnostic techniques.  With this in mind, they have identified multiple delivery targets and pathways for research options in this area focusing on increasing cooperation between industry, government and research institutions.

Their industry internship program is an example of this, providing research opportunities for PhD students that have direct links to end-users. The program matches PhD students with relevant industry or government hosts, fostering the relationship between research and development.

Click here to read the blog post.

Inaugural seminar showcasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

On 19 November, at the National Library in Canberra, the Lowitja Institute held an inaugural seminar showcasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research benefits from around the country. Under the heading Translating research into action a panel of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts discussed what success looks like when the community drives the research.

Mr Leslie Baird from Wontulp Bi-Buya College, Cairns, discussed the Family Wellbeing Program (FWB), an effective social and emotional wellbeing program originally developed and delivered by and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Over the last 21 years, the program has continued and spread with little formal support and is now nationally active across most states and territories, along with some international uptake.

Mr Cleveland Fagan, Apunipima Cape York Health Council, Cairns, talked about Funding, Accountability and Results (FAR) project, an extended observational study of reforms in the Northern Territory and Cape York, Queensland, that aimed to transfer primary health care services to regional Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCHOs), in a partnership approach between the sector and federal and jurisdictional health departments.

Professor Judith Dwyer from Flinders University, on behalf of Dr Kim O’Donnell, told the audience about the Managing Two Worlds Together Stage 3: Improving Aboriginal Patient Journeys project which investigated what works well and what needs improvement in the health system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who travel for hospital and specialist care from rural and remote areas of South Australia and the Northern Territory to city hospitals.

CRCs – The current state of play seminar

Due to popular demand, Dr Tony Peacock, CEO of the CRC Association, will now be holding free seminars: CRCs – The current state of play, in Sydney and Perth .

The Perth seminar is being hosted by the University of Western Australia on 8 December, 2:00pm (AWST). The Sydney seminar will held on 10 December at 3pm (AEDT) and is being hosted by The University of Technology Sydney.

The seminar is free and open to the general public. We thank the UWA and UTS for graciously hosting the seminar.

For more information contact

Building research capacity

The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) recently held the Australian-first Researching Autism Together Workshop, graduating the first cohort of peer research ready adults on the autism spectrum into our Research Academy.

Autism CRC aims to include those with the lived experience of autism in all aspects of the research process. The Researching Autism Together Workshop provided participants with experiential learning in research skills, practice, management and culture to enable their participation as peers in research. It also provided opportunities for experienced researchers to gain a better understanding about how they might work together in partnership with people on the spectrum.

Autism CRC Director of Research and Education, Professor Sylvia Rodger said that the workshop was highly successful.

“Our 14 participants came together from all across Australia and we have been overwhelmed by the positive response,” said Professor Rodger.

“Both the participants and researchers left with a renewed respect for each other’s skills and expertise. It was truly one of the most rewarding weeks of my professional life.”

Developed by a range of leading scholars, authors and adults on the spectrum, the Research Academy is a significant step towards meaningful co-production of research within the CRC and beyond. This will lead to higher quality research practices and outcomes.

Photos from the week can be found on their Facebook page:

The Invasive Animals CRC holds its annual awards night

The Invasive Animals CRC held its annual awards night and participants dinner recently in Canberra. This year four awards were given out to deserving invasive animal researchers and land managers.

Dr Ben Allen, Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow at Institute for Agriculture and the Environment, University of Southern Queensland won the IA CRC Dave Choquenot Science Prize for his multidimensional research which covers the subject areas of dingo control-induced trophic cascades, effects of dingoes on sheep and beef cattle, and mitigation of human-dingo conflicts in livestock and urban areas.

Barry Kelly from GotaBug Pest Control Service won the Participants prize for outstanding contribution to invasive animal management for his work in educating land managers around best practices in feral pig management.

Cat Campbell, PhD Candidate from the Institute of Applied Ecology, UC, won the Chief Executive’s prize for student achievement. Cat is among a team of researchers using trace DNA samples to differentiate between Tasmanian and mainland origins of those prey items. She is also very passionate about communicating her research to school aged children and the general public.

Finally, a new award, named the Golden Birkenstock Award also in honour of the late Professor Dave Choquenot, was awarded to Paul Meek from the NSW DPI and also project leader on the Invasive Animals CRC Wild Dog Alert project. Over the past 5 years Paul has focused his efforts on camera trapping and other sensor tools that can be used for monitoring wildlife populations, and developing new tactical tools for controlling invasive animals.
Left to right: Andreas Glanznig, CEO IA CRC; Dr Di Gleeson, UC (accepting on behalf of Cat Campbell); Dr Ben Allen, USQ; Barry Kelly, Gota Bug Pest Services; Helen Cathles, Chair IA CRC; Dr John Tracey, NSW DPI (accepting on behalf of Paul Meek)

Celebrating the Work of Andrew Hopkins

On November 16th, 150 people gathered at RMIT University for the event Celebrating the Work of Andrew Hopkins, key researcher in the Energy Pipeline CRC working on their Safety and Security of Supply research program.

This all day seminar heard from 12 speakers covering government, industry, academia and safety professionals regarding Andrew’s work and influence across a wide range of sectors. Judith Hackitt, Chair of the UK Health and Safety Executive said, ‘Andrew has provided a bedrock of knowledge which can be used by regulators, governments, industry and individual companies to help save lives, reduce business inefficiencies and risks.’

Click here to continue reading.

A new Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC is a key member of a new approach for the delivery of emergency management education, training and professional development, which was officially launched in Brisbane on 18 November 2015.

The Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience will deliver products and services around the country that have been developed by, and for, the emergency management sector.

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC has partnered with the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council, the Australian Red Cross and the Attorney-General’s Department in the new Institute, which brings together a great depth of emergency services experience.

The federal member for Brisbane, the Hon Teresa Gambaro MP, launched the Institute on behalf of the Minister for Justice, the Hon Michael Keenan MP.

Ms Gambaro is pictured at the launch with, from left, Dr Richard Thornton, CEO of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, Andrew Coghlan, National Manager of the Australian Red Cross, Trevor Essex, Acting CEO at AFAC, Mark Crosweller, Director General of Emergency Management Australia, and Dr John Bates, the new Director of the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience.

Physical sciences at forum

With a focus on physical science and engineering, the second Research Advisory Forum of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC for 2015 took place at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane on 17-18 November with around 100 researchers and industry partners attending.

Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC CEO Dr Richard Thornton said the two days of discussion was of great benefit to all partners in attendance.

“To have 100 attendees from across Australia, including researchers, end users and other emergency management stakeholders, participating in the two-day forum, was really pleasing. Attendees discussed the progress of research into fire coalesence, storm surge, remote sensing, coastal trapped waves, clustered events, hardened buildings in earthquake zones, flood forecasting, coupled fire-atmosphere modelling and much more,” he said.

“There was plenty of discussion between agency personal and researchers, which is fantastic, and a really critical part of the process,” Dr Thornton said.

Day two of the Forum coincided with Wear Orange Wednesday and saw many attendees dress in orange in support of the State Emergency Service.

All presentations from the forum are online for sharing and broader discussion at

Honours and Phd topics available

The Data to Decisions Cooperative Research Centre (D2D CRC) is a large scale research and development initiative that brings together world class capabilities from leading industry and research partners. Collectively, we tackle the big data challenge for Australia’s defence and national security agencies.

The D2D CRC are seeking expressions of interest for Honours students and honours project supervisors. A list of current PhD opportunities can also be found here.

Alertness CRC presents to ICCM Health and Safety Forum.

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) is an active essential participant in the CRC for Alertness, Safety and Productivity (Alertness CRC). 

Their involvement helps build relationships with the mining industry, one of the safety critical industries identified as likely to see safety and productivity gains from improved alertness.

Invited by the ICMM Director Health and Safety to present to their Health and Safety Forum just recently in October, Dr Andrew Tucker, our GM Research Translation Partnerships, presented to the Forum in London.

The Forum brings together mining industry OHS Executives to share information about new and emerging trends to improve occupational health and safety in mining operations.  They were keen to hear about our capabilities and what research collaboration opportunities were available through engagement with the Alertness CRC with a  focus on addressing alertness impairment/fatigue management issues. 

Networking with representatives from major international mining companies ensures Alertness CRC research and the innovative tools and processes that will be developed are informed by this industry’s real world perspectives and priorities.   Some of the opportunities considered include a standardised approach for assessing the impact of fatigue on health, safety and productivity metrics,  tools to manage sleep health in occupational settings and lighting applications to improve alertness.

D2D CRC Appoints Additional Board Members

The Data to Decisions CRC is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Stephen Merchant and Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte to its Board of Directors at the recent Annual General Meeting (AGM), held on Thursday 19th November 2015 in Adelaide.

Mr Merchant, currently conducts his own consultancy business, having completed almost 40 years of service with the Australian Government. During the latter part of his career, he held a variety of senior appointments in the Australian Intelligence Community and acted as Secretary of the Department of Defence on numerous occasions.

Professor Durrant-Whyte is a successful academic, engineer and entrepreneur with a proven track for successfully engaging and achieving research outcomes with industry. From December 2010 to December 2014, he was the CEO of National ICT Australia (NICTA) and while working as an academic, Professor Durrant-Whyte pioneered the field of statistical data fusion, in particular its application in autonomous robotics and in large-scale intelligent systems.

Collectively, their appointment to the Board brings a wealth of experience in Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), national security, Research and Development (R&D), Intellectual Property (IP), commercialisation and technology transfer.

CEO Sanjay Mazumdar said, “Both Steve and Hugh will add significant expertise and strategic insight to the Board and I look forward to working with them closely over the coming years.

Click here to read the rest of the release.

Saving pygmy crocs

I bet you didn't know there are tiny pygmy crocodiles living in northern Australia? It's true.

It's also true that they're in grave danger of being lost forever, before we even get to know them. With your support, we'll be able to learn more about them and greatly improve our chances of saving them.

Click here to support the campaign to save pygmy crocs.
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Jordan Gardner:
02 6273 1124

Mahli Jackson:
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1 December, Brisbane
CRCs - The current state of play seminar
Click here to register.

4-7 December, Melbourne
One Health EcoHealth 2016
First congress to bring together One Health and EcoHealth Communities

Click here for more information.

7 December,  Canberra
CRCs - The current state of play
Click here to register.

10 December, Sydney
CRCs - The current state of play
Click here to register.

15 December 2015, Adelaide
Regenerate yourself - the future of 3D bio printing and organ transplantation. 

11-15 September 2016
INORMS 2016 Conference

Click here for more information.
CRCs in the news
Jul 25, 2017 04:56 am | Indo Asian News Service

Hyderabad, July 25 (IANS) The second World Congress of Optometry, scheduled to be held here in September, will deliberate preventable...

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led by Printed Energy Pty Ltd. The successful Cooperative Research Centre Projects (CRC-P) bid will support a research team led by UQ Dow

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, or for more information please contact: Robert Hilkes, Marketing and Communications Manager on 0413 338 144 or

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Did someone say party? Think again, this confetti-lookalike structure is the PRMT5 enzyme, and if we can find a way to stop it working,...

to lead normal lives. Where are we up to with this research? Cancer Therapeutics CRC (or CTx) has been working on some ground-breaking

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a wide range of data on species of biosecurity importance. The CRC for Spatial Information (CRCSI) has also been working on repurposing an

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News from the Minister
Dec 14, 2018 03:29 pm | Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Joint media release with the Minister for Education More than 60 school girls will be supported in their passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as part of the Curious Minds program beginning this week.

Dec 14, 2018 02:01 pm | Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

A business incubator helping start-ups fast track new products to the global market and another that works in the clean energy sector are the latest to receive funding from the Liberal National Government’s Incubator Support initiative.

Dec 14, 2018 11:26 am | Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Joint media release with the Prime Minister The Liberal National Government is supporting jobs in the Queensland bait prawn industry as it works to recover from an outbreak of white spot syndrome virus.

Dec 14, 2018 10:18 am | Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

The Liberal National Government welcomes the selection of Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, to provide maintenance and operational support for the deep space tracking station at New Norcia in Western Australia.

Dec 14, 2018 09:39 am | Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Up to 90 terrajoules of new gas supplies will flow into Queensland every day in 2019, with completion of the Northern Gas Pipeline running from Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory to the mining hub of Mount Isa.

Dec 14, 2018 09:26 am | Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

The Liberal National Government has welcomed a report urging the Western Australian Government to adopt key recommendations to ensure subcontractors working in the state’s construction industry feel more confident about being paid on time.

Dec 14, 2018 09:26 am | Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Queensland’s resources industries continues to underpin the services and infrastructure the state needs, with today’s Budget update revealing the sector will return more than $5.1 billion in royalties this financial year.

Dec 13, 2018 02:26 pm | Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Joint media release with the Minister for Indigenous Affairs A Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) loan of $27.5 million will help upgrade the Ayers Rock (Connellan) Airport.

Dec 13, 2018 09:10 am | Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

The opportunities and challenges facing Australia’s northern health sector will be front and centre of discussions at the fifth meeting of the Northern Australian Advisory Council (NAAC) in Alice Springs today. 

Dec 12, 2018 05:51 pm | Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

The Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator the Hon Matt Canavan, addressed the Melbourne Mining Club

Cooperative Research Centres

The Lowitja Institute AutoCRC CRC for Advanced
Composite Structures
Advanced Manufacturing CRC Australian Seafood CRC CRC for Low Carbon Living
Antarctic Climate &
Ecosystems (ACE) CRC
Deep Exploration
Technologies CRC
CRC for Biomarker
Bushfire CRC Cancer Therapeutics CRC Capital Markets CRC
Smart Services CRC CO2CRC CRCMining
Data to Decisions CRC CRC for Contamination
Assessment and Remediation
of the Environment (CARE)
Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC
Dairy Futures CRC DMTC Ltd Energy Pipelines CRC
The HEARing CRC CRC for Mental Health Invasive Animals CRC
Biosecurity CRC
CRC for Optimising
Resource Extraction
Young and Well CRC
Oral Health CRC CRC for Polymers High Integrity Pork CRC
Poultry CRC  Rail Manufacturing CRC CRC for Spatial Information
CRC for Sheep
Industry Innovation
Wound Management
Innovation CRC
CRC for Remote
Economic Participation
Vision CRC CRC for Water Sensitive Cities CRC for Alertness, Safety and Productivity
CRC for Cell Therapy Manufacturing CRC for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders  Space Environment Management CRC
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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