Cooperative Research Centers Association

Chubb’s Recipe – STEM for a Competitive Economy

The Chief Scientist of Australia, Professor Ian Chubb AC, has presented a paper in Canberra today aimed at improving the use of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to boost the nation’s competitiveness. 

The paper suggests three areas for action: Australian competitiveness; education and training; research and international engagement.

At the same event, Minister Macfarlane—who has responsibility for science in the government—encouraged scientists to push their agenda. He recognised that science is at the heart of industry policy and indicated several times that the Abbott Government will shortly take measures to address Australia’s “atrocious” business-research collaboration record.

Macfarlane noted that scientist had to “get relevant” in an environment where so many competing interests were seeking the community’s attention. Professor Chubb echoed the sentiment, saying that the science sector could not treat the launch of his paper as a “one-off". He encouraged scientists to continue the commentary and debate to convince the community.

The report can be found here.

Time to Shine: Calling Early Career Researchers

Growing 'greener' grass; Understanding Interphase Formation in Thermoset Composite Welding; and Turning waste into black gold, 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 the CSIRO.

For more information click here.

Sponsorship Opportunities

If you are interested in sponsoring the 2015 CRC Association Conference, the Australia 2040 Forum, visit the sponsors section of the website or send an email to

National Skills Week

National Skills Week, 25–31 August,  recently came to a close. Now in its fourth year, National Skills Week provides an excellent platform to highlight the opportunities and career pathways available through Vocational Education and Training.

The Hon. Ian Macfarlane, Minister for Industry, had the following to say:

 “The Government thinks there is no greater investment in our nation’s productivity and international competitiveness than ensuring we have a smart, savvy and skilled workforce.”

Government delivers $50m commitment to expand higher-value manufacturing

The Minister for Industry, the Hon. Ian Macfarlane, announced yesterday the Government’s $50 million Manufacturing Transition Programme.

The Programme is part of the Government’s broader strategy to enhance Australia’s competitive strengths and build Australian industry’s most productive sectors, like advanced manufacturing, that have the most economic potential. Manufactures can apply for grants of $1 million to $10million.

“The Manufacturing Transition Programme is about moving firms away from low-tech commodity style production that may not be globally competitive, to advanced manufacturing where Australia’s specialised knowledge and skills give us an advantage,” said Minister Macfarlane.

An announcement on the Innovative Manufacturing CRC bid is expected shortly. In the 16th CRC Funding Round, the previous Government committed at least $50 million of that Round to manufacturing.

Minister Macfarlane approved investment in the Rail Manufacturing CRC but asked the Advanced Manufacturing and the Manufacturing Industry Innovation CRC to put forward a combined bid for consideration. The Result was the Innovative Manufacturing CRC Bid.  

The other manufacturing CRCs are, the CRC for Advanced Composite Structures, CRC for Cell Therapy Manufacturing, CRC for Polymers, AutoCRC and DMTC.

More information on the Manufacturing Transition Program can be found here.

University–Business Collaboration Picks Up

The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show an encouraging pick-up in collaboration between business and universities.

Although business-university collaboration in Australia is low in comparison to other countries—33 out of 33 countries measured by the OECD­­­—a steady trend of improvement is evident. From a mere 1.6% in 2006-09 there has been a steady improvement to the most recent figure 9.7% in 2012-2013.

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“This is a very encouraging trend” said Tony Peacock, CEO of the CRC Association. “I believe it’s probably due to multiple factors, like better recognition of the benefits of collaboration by both business and universities; more programs to encourage collaboration and a better process in universities for business to locate and access the expertise they want”.

Acting Assistant Director at the Australia Bureau of Statistics, Sue-Ellen Luke, said it was a statistically significant rise, but noted that it was from a low base which only applied to a subset of Australian businesses—those that are already innovation-active.

“A lot of Australia’s deep research talent is in our universities, much more so than elsewhere. So it’s important that businesses collaborate with universities. As more businesses have positive experiences, you’d expect the trend to continue,” said Dr. Peacock. 

Deloitte recently released a report: The Collaborative Economy, which delves into the benefits of collaboration. 

The report found that companies that prioritised collaboration have a significant advantage over firms that did not: five times more likely to experience a considerable increase in employment, twice as likely to be profitable and twice as likely to outgrow their competitors. 

Andrew Liveris, President, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Dow Chemical company said in a recent article in the Australian, that due to the complexities of problems we face today, unless there are intersections between business, government and society, and most importantly science, we will fail to be innovative.

CRCSI presents Pacific Island Coastal Flooding Project at Google Atmosphere 2014

CRCSI’s Dr Nathan Quadros, was invited to present at the recent Google Atmosphere 2014 conference in Sydney. Google’s focus on collaboration, transformation and the use of technological advances to reshape the way work is done, created a natural synergy with CRCSI’s vision for delivery of spatial research in Australia and New Zealand.

To continue reading click here.

Grant applications open for 2015 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Grant applications are now open for the 2015 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. If you’re 18-35, this is your chance to apply for a grant of up to $22,000 to fund your project on an innovative or emerging scientific issue that will benefit Australia’s primary industries. 

Click here for more information.

Positions Available

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Pauline Quinane:
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Jordan Gardner:
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3 September 2014 - Melbourne
Capital Markets CRC Careers night
Click here for more information

17-19 September 2014
ARMS 2014 Canberra Think Impact and Influence
Our Conference Committee has been working hard to develop a program that will be topical and engaging for all tastes. ARMS 2014 will continue to offer a varied program of keynote speakers, round table discussions, clinical and a wide selection of oral and poster presentations.

Click here to register.

24-25 September - Melbourne
2014 Writing Clear Science Workshops
Click here for more information

25 September, Canberra
Community and stakeholder engagement for science and technology issues
This interactive course will introduce approaches to two-way engagement between organisations and their stakeholders including members of the general public

For more information click here.

20-21 October 2014, Melbourne Convention Center
AutoCRC 3rd Technical Conference

Driving  Automotive innovation – Vehicle Electrification, Alternative Vehicle Energy and Sustainable Manufacturing

click here for more information

21-22 October 2014 Melbourne
Water Sensitive Cities Conference 2014
The inaugural Water Sensitive Cities Conference is coming to Melbourne in 2014.

Click here for more information

13-15 November, Sydney
2014 Writing Clear Science Workshops

Click 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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