Cooperative Research Centers Association

CRC-Ps Announced

The Australian Government announced today that it will invest $22.6 million in funding for 11 CRC-Projects (CRC-Ps), with funding to start from July 2016. The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science received ninety-one applications in the first round for CRC-Ps, speaking volumes to the level of interest by business as well as the highly competitive nature of the bid process.

CRC-Ps were developed by the government in response to the Miles Review handed down last year. David Miles recommended that three rounds be held every year. The next CRC-P round is expected to open in August 2016 with outcomes announced in November and funding from January 2017. The schedule for anticipated CRC and CRC-P funding rounds can be found here.

“Improving collaboration between researchers and industry to cultivate a more innovative and entrepreneurial economy is a key pillar of the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda,” said the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, The Hon Christopher Pyne.

 “We’ve placed industry at the front and centre of the CRC Programme so we can build on our strengths in high quality research to improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries.”

Successful CRC-P 1st Selection Round Projects can be found here.

Funded Projects:
  • The future integrated driver monitoring solution for heavy vehicles
  • Hydrocarbon fuel technology for hypersonic air breathing vehicles
  • Printed solar films for value-added building products for Australia
  • Translational R&D to accelerate sustainable omega-3 production
  • CRC-P for Innovative Prefabricated Building Systems
  • An antibody based in vitro diagnostic for metastatic cancer
  • High performance optical telemetry system for ocean monitoring
  • Combined carbon capture from flue gas streams and mineral carbonation
  • Strengthening Australia’s radiopharmaceutical development capabilities
  • Innovation in Advanced Multi-Storey Housing Manufacture
  • Future Oysters CRC-P
Outcomes of stage one of the 18th selection round of CRCs are expected in July and applications will open for those invited to Stage Two. Final outcomes are expected to be known by the end of the year.

Labor releases science policy, with a boost for CRCs

On Saturday, the Labor Party released a $1.2 billion policy on Australian science, which included its CRC policy. The announcement can be found here.

If elected, Labor is promising the following in relation to CRCs:

  • Boost funding by $39 million over 4 years and $180 million over 10 years;
  • Run two additional CRC funding rounds;
  • Remove the 10-year limit on a CRC's life that was adopted following the Miles Review;
  • Restore "public good" CRCs;
  • Establish an Australian Biosecurity Institute ($79 million over 4 years) to take on the work of the Plant Biosecurity and Invasive Animals CRCs when they finish in 2017).

In addition, Senator Carr has committed to restoring the Collaborative Research Networks (these were the networks that linked smaller universities to more research intensive ones) and a boost in funding to the Industrial Transformation Centres (these are the centres within the ARC, similar in scale to a CRC-P but from a university and with a wider industry focus). CSIRO and the University Block Grants (to fund indirect costs of research) get big boosts in dollars.

Innovation debate makes positions clear

By Dr Tony Peacock
The National Press Club's Election debate on Innovation was an innovation in itself. NPC CEO Maurice O'Reilly confirmed that it was the first debate between an Innovation Minister and his counterpart. That in itself says a lot about the nature of this election, where science and technology is actually up for debate. You would have to go back to the 1990 election to have innovation even registering a blip on the political radar. This time it is front and centre. 
The other innovative part of the debate was that both Minister Pyne and his Shadow, Senator Carr actually did address the questions put to them. At least they mostly did. Pyne steadfastly refused to give a "yes" or a "no" to the very first question by moderator David Speers, on the premise that the R&D tax concession had been cut by $900 million. Speers did have it wrong and the supposed cut is actually one of the "zombie" measures sitting in the Senate from the 2014 Budget. Senator Carr seemed to confirm that Labor would pass the measure if they come to government, but with the cut based on recommendations of the R&D Tax Review currently underway, not on a simple across-the-board cut. Apart from this hiccup, the moderator did very well in pushing for actual answers, and the participants didn't simply stick to set-piece talking points as we've seen in some other debates. It wasn't boring.
For his part, Senator Carr sought to paint the Government as having just woken up to the need for innovation, and that only in response to the polls. Minister Pyne pointed to innovation policy being the number one plank in the Government's economic plan. He painted the Opposition's plans as impossible to deliver because it simply wouldn't have the money. Using Senator Carr's own term of "industry by industry, firm by firm", Pyne cast Labor in the role of big Government, interfering with business as opposed to the Coalition's small Government, creating the conditions for business to thrive. The National Innovation and Science Agenda, delivered in December, forms the basis of the Government's innovation policy, but the Minister made it clear that the NISA was a starting point.
Senator Carr made it clear that the 10-year Powering Ideas policy still provided the intellectual basis for Labor's policies, which were released last Saturday (see report earlier in this newsletter).
As far as making it clear what each side would do in a future government, this was a good debate. The differences in approach were teased out quite well and available for the watcher to evaluate. It was lively but amicable, with even a few laughs. Science and innovation is probably not the kind of issue that would necessarily swing an individual's vote one way or the other. But the debate provided a good insight into how each party sees innovation strengthening their overall economic and social plans. So the debate was a useful contribution for helping people make their decision for 2 July.

Dairy Futures CRC Wind-up

By Dr Tony Peacock
The Dairy Futures CRC has set a new benchmark in successfully winding-up a Cooperative Research Centre. 
The CRC will officially finish on 30 June and DairyBio, an industry biosciences initiative, will commence on 1 July, taking over some of the work of the CRC. CRC researchers, dairy farmers and dairy industry came together in Melbourne recently to both lock-in and celebrate the achievements of the CRC.
Dairy Futures CRC, a single-term CRC, has delivered very significant genetic improvements on both the animal and plant production sides of the industry. Those improvements amount to approximately $500 per hectare per year and $100 per cow per year. Despite the current problems in the industry, Australia's dairy industry has grown to be a major export earner for the country and competes with the United States to be the third or fourth most traded dairy industry internationally each year.
The power of genomics has been harnessed by the Dairy Futures CRC team to deliver in many areas. Farmers can now put emphasis on the selecting for milk production, reproductive performance, feed conversion efficiency and even heat tolerance. The massive reduction in the cost of genetic testing, combined with a huge increase in the ability to handle data has enabled the CRC to deliver quite extraordinary genetic power into the hands of dairy farms. As CEO of the CRC. Dr David Nation, reminded the Melbourne audience "Genetic gains are permanent improvement, delivered in an easy manner". 
Genetics has also improved the grass that dairy cattle consume. High yielding and high energy ryegrass is now available to breed new pasture varieties. How ryegrass interacts with naturally occurring fungus affects safety of the grass for cattle, as well as the persistence of the pasture. CRC researchers have developed new fungi that are paired with ryegrass seeds by commercial seed companies and are available to the industry. The development provides safer, more nutritious, more persistent and higher yield grasses.
Another major achievement of the Dairy Futures CRC has been its student program. Every CRC student was paired with an industry mentor and given extensive training about the whole industry. The communication skills and experience provided to the CRC students is clearly evident. Students are able to explain their work to industry and look for new ways to solve industry problems. Two Dairy Futures CRC students were amongst the five finalists in the CRC Associations Early Career Researcher Awards this year.
Dairy Futures CRC Chairman, Dr. Mike Ginnivan, gave an extremely insightful speech at the wind-up event. Amongst his observations on what had made the CRC a success was the rejection of the initial CRC bid by the Commonwealth. "Although the rejection hurt at the time, it made us go away and design a truly transformative CRC that had the potential to make a major difference to the industry. Ultimately, that is what we achieved".
The CRC has built a dedicated website to communicate their work to industry (, which includes a comprehensive Achievements Report and an animated video. This is well worth a look to see how achievements from a CRC can be clearly communicated to an industry.

Sharing knowledge in aged care

Since 2012, the CRC for Mental Health has been collaborating with Mercy Health, holding visits during which postgraduate science students spend time with aged care workers to discuss the rewards and challenges of supporting residents’ health and wellbeing. On the most recent visit, Mercy Place Parkville hosted a small group of PhD students enabling them to share the latest research into dementia and how it can be used within the aged care sector, and to learn from staff and residents about their day-to-day experiences.

“Our students research early detection and treatment of mental illnesses including dementia, but they have very few opportunities to interact with people living with it. They learn an immense amount from residents and staff and come away with a great deal of respect for the role Mercy Health plays in providing quality care and promoting health and wellbeing,” says Melanie Carew, Head of Education at the CRC for Mental Health.

Mercy Health’s Learning Manager Aged Care, Kerryn Wong says the visits give staff opportunities to learn about the latest research. “The program supports learning through collaboration across disciplines that compliment our model of care, fostering engagement with residents and partnerships with the broader community. As an advocate for residents to live healthy and engaged lives, Mercy Health is committed to supporting research and discussion of dementia that may advance treatment and prevention” Kerryn says.
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Two CRCs join forces to deliver big data solutions for livestock

Managing the well-being of sheep is set to become significantly easier for producers, thanks to a new collaboration tapping into the data science used in Australia’s national security systems.

An agreement between the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) and the Data to Decisions Cooperative Research Centre (D2D CRC) will see the two groups working together to develop new data-based products to make sheep management easier and achieve better outcomes in terms of sheep well-being and productivity.

D2D CRC chief executive Sanjay Mazumdar said it’s the first time the D2D CRC has collaborated with the agriculture sector.

“The D2D CRC’s main focus has been on defence and national security, however we can take our research and data skills and apply them to other sectors of the Australian economy. Our work is very applicable to any data-intensive industry,” Dr Mazumdar said.

The two CRCs have been working together for the past 18 months under a memorandum of understanding to define opportunities for big data applications in livestock industries and weigh up the benefits of a partnership for both CRCs.

Sheep CRC chief executive James Rowe said the combination of a thorough scoping process and some small pilot projects provided convincing evidence that synergies would arise from collaboration.

“The first major project under this collaboration is the development of a data platform and web-based app to support better management of sheep well-being, due to be completed by early 2017,” Professor Rowe said.

“The app will allow sheep producers to anticipate risks that might compromise the wellbeing of their sheep flocks using climatic data produced by the Bureau of Meteorology in combination with a number of bio-physical models and a range of data science technologies based around machine learning.”

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Israel launches Centre for Water Sensitive Cities

A newly-launched Centre for Water Sensitive Cities in Israel inspired by the Australian CRC for Water Sensitive Cities (CRCWSC) aims to make the country a leader in rainwater recycling, desalination and greywater use.

The news was reported in the Jerusalem Post recently after CRCWSC chairman Cheryl Batagol visited Kfar Saba, a city in Israel’s Sharon region, for the launch of the Israeli centre. Ms Batagol has been following the project since centre director Yaron Zinger was a PhD student and researcher at Monash University.

CRCWSC Chief Executive Professor Tony Wong, who advised the Israeli government on the centre before the CRCWSC began in 2012, said it was proof of the increasing global interest in water sensitive cities and the adoption of research being conducted at the CRCWSC.
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2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours

The CRC Association would like to congratulate the following CRC connected people and friends of the CRC Association, that we identified in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours. We apologise if we missed anyone.
  • Professor David Henry Solomon AC – Linked to CRC Polymers
  • Dr Michael Leo Briers AC – Early involvement in the Cell Therapy Manufacturing CRC and leader of the Food Agility Bid
  • Dr Thomas Joseph Higgins AO – Plant Science CRC
  • Professor Douglas James Hilton AO – Cell Growth CRC
  • Dr Elizabeth Finkel AM – COSMOS Magazine
Click here for a list of all 2016 honours
Securing SME Defence Capability
Is making R&D accessible to SMEs the key?
Hosted by Andrew Downs, Ai Group South Australia Branch Past President,
Council Member and Group Managing Director, SAGE Group Holdings Ltd


Jack Mahoney, General Manager, Lockheed Martin Australia Electronic Systems

Thursday 23 June
11.30AM – 2PM
(Lunch will be served)
The State Library of South Australia, North Terrace, Adelaide SA
Continuing the conversation started at their first industry event, Ai Group, in partnership with Lockheed Martin Australia, invites you to attend an industry forum discussing the significant potential for the defence sector as a driver of Australian industry transformation and growth for small to medium enterprise.

You will have the opportunity to hear from some of Australia’s leaders in innovation, science, technology and industry.
  • A keynote address by The Hon. Kim Beazley AC, Lockheed Martin Australia Board Member
  • An industry case study from Mr Jim Whalley, Chairman and Global Chief Executive, Nova Group
  • An interactive panel discussion, featuring leaders from across Australia’s defence industry and advanced manufacturing sectors
If you are currently engaged in the defence sector or just want to learn more, don’t miss this chance to:
  • Understand how the defence sector is transforming Australia’s small to medium enterprise industry base and building Australia’s Sovereign capability through R&D, technology transfer, local participation and exporting innovation.
  • Gain insight into the opportunities and challenges posed by global supply chains.
  • Network with industry leaders from Australia’s defence sector and beyond.
Attendance is free and limited spaces are available.
RSVP: Name, title and contact information to  
Please advise of any dietary requirements in your RSVP.

Top 5 under 40 Announced

Dr Gail Alvares from Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia has been selected as one of the Top 5 Under 40 early-career researchers. Gail leads a major Autism CRC project, Australia’s first autism biobank. The finalists were chosen through a national search for early-career researchers who have a flair and passion for communicating their work with the winners to be ‘Scientists in Residence’ across ABC Radio National.
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Energy Pipelines CRC - Annual Researcher Conference

The Energy Pipelines CRC will be holding its 5th Annual Researcher Conference later this month at Deakin University in Geelong. 

The event brings together researchers and students as well as interested industry members for two days of professional development and information sharing.

As part of this event, members of the Australian pipeline industry volunteer their time to provide in depth master classes on key industry relevant topics. These master classes help researchers better understand the industry context within which they undertake their research work.

Australian Technologies Competition 2016 - Entries for the Energy Resources Award Now Open

National Energy Resources Australia (NERA) is looking for the country’s best technology companies who will enhance industry competitiveness and efficiency in Australia and globally in the coming years.

NERA is the Growth Centre Partner for the inaugural Energy Resources Award as part of the Australian Technologies Competition 2016 (ATC16).

Winners will gain valuable access to expert mentors and connections to investors, customers, specialist advisors, grant programs and international markets.

Over the past 5 years, ATC16 has attracted 700 entries generating $250 million in investment and project opportunities. To date, 125 companies have benefitted from the Business Accelerator Program and many have gone on to international success.

Entry is easy via the attached Round 1 Entry Form, with 3 questions requiring a response of no more than 200 words each.

Entries close 11 July 2016.

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Understanding Biofilms – How the science is changing clinical practice

The webcast will feature global experts Terry Swanson NP MSc, FAWMA, FMACNP Director: Wound Education Services Wound Healing Institute Australia (WHIA) and Matthew Malone MSc, FFPM RCPS (Glasgow) Head of Department High Risk Foot Service, Liverpool Hospital, Sydney.

The webcast will take place on Wednesday 17th August 2016 7:00pm - 8:00pm (AEST)
Click here for more information

New staff at the CRC Association

The CRC Association would like to welcome Kate Shearer who has joined the association as Tony Peacock’s Executive Assistant. Kate works part-time Monday to Thursday 10am to 2:30pm and can be contacted at and on 02 6273 0624
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Contact Information


Unit 1/10 Bourke St.
Barton ACT 2600
(attached to the Burbury Hotel)

Jordan Gardner:
02 6273 1124
1-2 September 2016
Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia

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11-15 September 2016
INORMS 2016 Conference
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Cooperative Research Centres

The Lowitja Institute Excellerate Australia (Auto CRC) CRC for Low Carbon Living
Antarctic Climate &
Ecosystems (ACE) CRC
Deep Exploration
Technologies CRC
CRC for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders
CRC for Water Sensitive Cities Cancer Therapeutics CRC Capital Markets CRC
CRC for Cell Therapy Manufacturing  Space Environment Management CRC CRC for Alertness, Safety and Productivity
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    
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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