Cooperative Research Centers Association

Block grants, CRC guidelines and Research Training all under review

The CRC Association is busy consulting with various government groups on a number of current reviews. The Miles Review of the Cooperative Research Centres is completed and adopted as government policy, but the detail of the new CRC and CRC-Project guidelines are yet to be finalised. Consultation meetings were held in Brisbane last week, Sydney yesterday and continue around the country this week and next.
The biggest changes in the CRC Programme likely to result from the Miles Review and subsequent new guidelines come in several areas:
  • Two major shifts in emphasis: (1) less thinking about funding of a CRC itself to funding of a major challenge or opportunity, with the CRC merely as the vehicle for the collaborative group to tackle the challenge; and (2) a total outcomes focus - the CRC Programme has always had a strong emphasis on producing impacts and the Impact Tool used in the application process is one way of predicting, monitoring and measuring outcomes. But the new guidelines and Advisory Committee is likely to take the focus on outcomes to a whole new level.
  • A greater fit with overall strategic direction for science and innovation. Less about the Miles Review and more about the government's push to have a more strategic basis for science policy in general, with the CRC Programme positioned as a key means of increasing collaboration between industry and universities and for bringing science into the heart of industry policy. In practical terms, this means CRCs must relate to the work of the Industry Growth Centres and the CRC Advisory Committee nows falls within the remit of Innovation Australia. CRCs will need to contribute to the national innovation plan.
  • CRC-Ps are a completely new. The Miles Review outlined a vision for CRC-Projects, being about 3 years and $3 million, available 3 times a year and enabling more SMEs easier participation in the CRC Programme. Now that broad brush must come together in actual guidelines for funding. No decisions have been made on whether CRC-Ps might make up 5% of programme funds or 50% - all these issues are up for grabs.
The CRC Association has formed a working group on the new guidelines, chaired by Deputy Chair of the Association, Professor Valerie Linton. The working group has provided written feedback to the Department of Industry and Science to assist with developing the new guidelines.
Research Training under examination:
Cooperative Research Centres fund about 5% of Australia's PhD students as well as supporting many other forms of training. In fact, an industry-oriented PhD programme has been a compulsory feature of every CRC funded in the 25 years since the programme's inception. Many CRCs have developed systems to add value to the PhD experience and there is sound evidence that completion rates are improved when students undertake their PhD in Association with a CRC (at least for the non-Go8 universities).

When compared to university groups, CRCs perform among the best nationally in supporting doctoral completions, second only to the Group of Eight; 9th nationally in supporting doctoral completions overall (in partnership with universities) and the 12th largest provider of research training nationally by overall student load.

The Australian Council of Learned Academies is currently leading a Review of Australia’s Research Training System and calling for written submissions. Submissions can be made online through a dedicated website until Monday 31 August 2015. The CRC Association will make a joint submission, but some Members may wish to make individual submissions to this important review.
Block grants under Review:
The Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, wants the university block grant arrangements to be simpler, more transparent, focused on quality and excellence, supporting greater industry and end-user engagement, and better knowledge transfer with industry. Thank you Minister says the CRC Association.
The CRC Association has long held the view that the university block grant arrangements need modification so that universities are more motivated to work with industry, including industry through the Cooperative Research Centres. Australia languishes near the bottom of any measure of industry-university collaboration and the CRCA feels the current block grants arrangements are a major impediment to improving the situation. The Association's view is that universities are not receiving enough financial incentive when they gain "Category 4" funding from the scheme (CRCs being the only component of Category 4). Financial rewards from gaining "Category 1" - or Nationally Competitive Grant Scheme - funding is much better for the universities. So obviously they chase that funding with great vigour.
The dilemma for CRCs is that we are a Nationally Competitive Grant Scheme. There are few schemes that are more competitive. So the original logic of CRCs having their own Category because in theory we can fully fund a university to undertake research breaks down in the reality of competition.
Minister Pyne has appointed Dr Ian Watt AO, former Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, to lead a group to examine this complex issue and report back to him in November.

CRC Benchmarking Report

The CRC Association is in the process of preparing the 2015/16 CRC Benchmarking Report.

The benchmarking report consists of two sections: 1) operational data such as salaries and number of staff etc.; 2) an area which the CRC Association believes is worth examining in closer detail. Last year, the Association looked more closely at the outputs of CRCs, this year, we are looking at benchmarking industry engagement and collaboration. 

The benchmarking report is available to all members of the CRC Association. It is an invaluable tool when setting up and bidding for a CRC and one of the many benefits of membership with the Association. For membership information contact Jordan Gardner at

The Association will be in touch with CRCs shortly regarding collecting information for the benchmarking report.

How does a cyclone affect bushfires?

Recent research by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC has helped its partner organisation the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services uncover how February’s Severe Tropical Cyclone Marcia will affect the bushfire season.

Five cyclone-damaged locations were assessed to see how the cyclone changed the vegetation, and if these changes would increase the bushfire risk.

The study found that the cyclone increased the bushfire fuel in the area, which could increase a fires spread and intensity by 1.5 and 2.5-fold respectively.

The findings have been used to develop a visual field guide that can be readily adopted by fire crews to enable accurate data to be used in fire models. Find out more about this research at

CTM CRC, GE Healthcare and Health Industries SA sign strategic cooperation agreement to advance Australian cell therapy

The Cooperative Research Centre for Cell Therapy Manufacturing (CTM CRC), GE Healthcare Australia (GE Healthcare) and Health Industries South Australia have signed a strategic cooperation agreement that will lay the foundation for a long term partnership focussed on advancing Australia’s cell therapy industry.

The agreement outlines the three parties’ plans to work together to further develop their relationships, improve industry networks, and leverage the strengths of each organisation to address industry challenges and deliver novel cell therapy solutions.

Michael Ackland, CEO & President of GE Healthcare A&NZ views this as a long term partnership which will see South Australia become an important hub for healthcare delivery and a vital link for cell therapy innovation.

“We are delighted this agreement has been signed, having the Cooperative Research Centre for Cell Therapy Manufacturing and Health Industries South Australia partner with us means that together we can leverage our unique expertise and skills, develop key relationships and deliver on ground-breaking work.”

CTM CRC, GE Healthcare and Health Industries SA each share a vision to drive healthcare improvements through the delivery of cell-based therapeutics. Specific areas for collaboration identified in the agreement include, process development and cell therapy manufacturing infrastructure design and supply, engagement models for multi-disciplinary research & development initiatives, access to industry partners and global networks, investment, funding support and training.

Dr Sherry Kothari, CEO, CTM CRC said the cooperation agreement was an important step in meeting industry challenges and delivering cost-effective cell therapies.

“This is an exciting development that will strengthen our overall capability and enable the translation of new technologies into cell therapy manufacturing tools and processes. CTM CRC has a strong focus on using smart materials technologies to introduce efficiencies and reduce the cost of goods involved in cell therapy manufacturing. Leveraging GE Healthcare’s experience and know-how in process development and manufacturing infrastructure will enhance CTM CRC’s delivery of integrated solutions for this rapidly growing industry,” Dr Kothari said.

Click here to read the rest of the release.

Entries open for The Australian Innovation Challenge

Entries are open for the $65,000 The Australian Innovation Challenge, honouring excellence in fields from minerals and energy to environmental science and community services.

Now is your chance to showcase your bright idea by entering the awards, which are run by The Australian in association with Shell with the support of the federal Department of Industry and Science.

Innovation policy expert Terry Cutler is chairing a panel of leaders from the science community, industry and government who will judge the awards.

The Australian and Shell will champion the top entries, featuring them prominently in The Weekend Australian over several weeks and showcasing them on the Challenge website.

The online entry form and details of the awards, including category definitions, the judging criteria, the judging panel, supplementary material requirements, the entry procedure, rules and stories on past winners, are available at:

The five professional categories open to specialists (including scientists, engineers, technologists, educators and innovators in community services) are:

  • Environment, Agriculture and Food
  • Minerals and Energy
  • Manufacturing, Construction and Infrastructure
  • Health
  • Education and Community Services
Click here for more information.

Batterham Medal – only one month for nominations

Nominations for the Batterham Medal are now open and will close on 21 August, 2015.

The 2015 Batterham Medal will be awarded to one of Australia’s most innovative young engineers.

The Medal is an early career award for a graduate engineer who has achieved substantial peer/industry recognition for his/her work in the past five years.

The Academy administers the award on behalf of the Group of Eight Deans of Engineering and Associates and the Medal will be awarded at ATSE’s Oration Dinner on 27 November 2015 in Melbourne.

The award consists of a medal (The Batterham Medal) and a cash prize of $5000.

The winner will be an engineering graduate of an Australian university, under 40 at 1 January 2015 and will:

1.    have demonstrated excellence, innovation and impact in a field of engineering;

2.    be clearly acknowledged by peers for a signature contribution to engineering in the  five years prior to his/her nomination; and

3.    have advanced the standing of the engineering profession.

The Batterham Medal recognises Professor Robin Batterham AO FREng FAA FTSE, an Australian science and technology leader who was Chief Scientist of Australia from 1999 to 2006, President of the Academy from 2007 to 2012 and is Kernot Professor of Engineering at the University of Melbourne.

The Batterham Medal Guidelines and Nomination form are online

Innovation Survey

Jamile Sabatini Marques, a PhD student at QUT under the supervision of Professor Dr. Tan Yigitcanlar, is conducting a survey as part of his studies on Commonwealth Government incentives for innovative ICT companies to generate economic development based on knowledge.
“Currently, the Australian government provides some tax benefits and programs to encourage research and development that are not always known to the entrepreneurs.
“In order to contribute to innovative companies in the ICT sector, this research seeks to understand what companies know about these benefits and what types of investment are needed to improve innovation and become more competitive.
“The result of this survey will be sent to you and the Australian Innovation System (AIS) - Department of Industry, for an understanding of corporate investment needs in order to contribute to business competitiveness. It is important to note that the answers are confidential and will be disclosed in full anonymity”.
This research will take you only 3 minutes and consists of 6 simple questions.

Please go to the following link,

D2D CRC's Big Data Architectures and Technologies two day workshop - MELBOURNE & CANBERRA locations

The two-day workshop is designed for architects and technical stakeholders such as product managers, development managers, and systems engineers involved in the development of big data applications. It focuses on the relationship among application software, data models, and deployment architectures, and how specific technology selection relates to all of these. Cost per person is AU $1600 (excluding GST).

The workshop will be presented by John Klein, from the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA. The SEI staff are recognised within the research community and globally for leadership in software and cybersecurity research and development. More details about our presenter, CMU's John Klein is available at

Please register online at

2016 Clunies Ross Awards nominations open

Nominations for the 2016 Clunies Ross Awards open today (3 August) and will close on Friday 30 October, 2015.

There will be a new format and specific categories for the Awards in 2016.

Over the past quarter of a century the Awards have recognised contributions by dedicated individuals to the application of technology for the benefit of Australia, highlighting ATSE’s commitment to fostering innovation and commercialisation and acclaiming the work of those taking the nation’s leading technologies to the marketplace.

In recognition of the complex nature of such activities, from 2016 the Awards will be made in three categories with a single winner in each category.

The winners will be announced at ATSE’s 2016 National Challenge Conference in Sydney, 15/16 June.

 The three award categories are:

  • Clunies Ross Entrepreneur of the Year Award For those who have been responsible for the creation of a product or service with a financially successful outcome, in either an early stage or mature company environment with demonstrated impact for Australia.
  • Clunies Ross Knowledge Commercialisation Award For those who have been responsible for a technology which has been commercialised, most likely by licensing, with a financially successful outcome.
  • Clunies Ross Innovation Award For those who have been responsible for the adoption of a technology, at a stage where the financial outcomes are yet to be realised and/or the benefits are of a measurable broad community nature.


The award criteria are:

1.    The award winner has made an identifiably significant contribution to the advancement of industry and/or the community through the application of science and technology for the economic, social and environmental benefit of Australia;

2.    The award winner is able to demonstrate the impact or potential impact of the technological based innovation; and

3.    The award winner has advanced the promotion of innovators and community awareness of technological innovation.

Nomination Guidelines and the Nomination Form are online

Issued by        Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE)
Contact           Bill Mackey, Deputy CEO  or (03) 9864 0902 / 0418 923 370

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Unit 1/10 Bourke St. Barton ACT 2600
to the Burbury Hote

Jordan Gardner:
02 6273 1124

Mahli Jackson:
02 6273 0624

13 August 2015, Melbourne Brain Centre
Diagnosing dementia - what does the future hold

Join Paul Barclay (Host ABC Big Ideas) and an expert panel as they discuss the future of detecting and diagnosing dementia, and how this research could help find a treatment.
Click here to register.

8 September
2nd Water Sensitive Cities Conference 2015

The second Water Sensitive Cities Conference.This conference provides a unique opportunity for the CRCWSC to share its latest research insights that integrate some 20 different disciplines, and stems from more than 35 individual research projects and research synthesis and adoption activities. 

Click here for more information.

9-10 September 2015, Sydney
Putting Rubber on the Road - Medical Research Innovation Conference

Click here for more information.

13–17 September 2015, Melbourne
6th International Contaminated Site Remediation Conference (CleanUp 2015)
The conference will provide an international forum to discuss all aspects of contaminated site assessment, management and remediation.

Click here for more information.

14 and 17 September 205, Canberra and Melbourne
Big Data Architectures and Technologies two day workshop.

Click here for more information.

4-7 December, Melbourne
One Health EcoHealth 2016

First congress to bring together One Health and EcoHealth Communities

Click here for more information.

11-15 September 2016
INORMS 2016 Conference

Click here for more information.
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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.

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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.

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
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