Cooperative Research Centers Association

Performance Review of Australian Innovation System released

By Dr Tony Peacock, CRC Association CEO.

The most comprehensive review of the Australian innovation system ever conducted was released this morning by Innovation and Science Australia (ISA). If it was your child's school report, you'd be saying we better have a serious discussion over dinner.
The conversion might go something like:
ISA: "We've had this discussion before, Australia. We've got your report and it's OK but when are you going to really step up?"

Australia: "It's not bad though. The Knowledge Creation teacher likes me."

ISA: "It's not a matter of whether the teacher likes you, or you like the teacher. We just want the best for you and if you are going to have a great future, you've got to put in the hard work across the board, not just in the areas you enjoy. Everyone likes you, Australia, but that's different to doing the best you can."

Australia: "Yeah, I know I could do more in transfer and application, but you want me to be like Israel or Singapore and they never have any fun and just work all the time".

 ISA: "We've never said you can't have fun. But at some stage you need to put your head down and get on with some serious work."

Australia: "Yeah, yeah, I know...."
You get the picture. The report can be found here.

The report concentrates on the three areas of Knowledge creation, Knowledge transfer and Knowledge application and establishes 20 measures across these. Clear benchmarks are set out between Australia's performance and the average of the top five OECD performers, which gives a pretty clear guidance for future improvement. The 20 measures were whittled down from an initial group of over 200 and they'll be the basis for measuring the impact of future policy change. The report's performance assessment is fairly general across the three key areas, rather than specific at the programme level. The rubber will hit the road during the coming phase as ISA pulls together a Strategic Plan for Innovation and Science in Australia to 2030. It's hard to disagree at the moment when the conclusions are that we need to do better in a number of general areas. The contentious part will come much more in the strategic planning and implementation stage where change will be needed.

The performance review, which runs to over 200 pages and more than 700 references, provides an excellent baseline for future evaluation and Innovation and Science Australia deserves credit for publication of this important body of work. It has the potential to become the reference material for judging performance of programmes and their contribution to an overall Australian innovation strategy. At the very least, the assessment identifies which programmes are regularly, thoroughly and transparently reviewed and those that are not. An obvious part of the coming Strategic Plan will be to ensure all parts of the innovation system are independently reviewed on a regular basis so their contribution to the overall strategy is maximised. But this is not just a report for the government or ISA, where they should be tasked to simply fix things. It should be used across business, research organisations and all levels of government because it pulls together international data and lays out clearly where we stand as a country. The assessment is a solid base to build on and could give the much needed longer-term vision needed for innovation in Australia.

Registrations are now open for Collaborate | Innovate | 2017

Registrations are now open for the CRC Association’s next annual conference, Collaborate | Innovate | 2017, being held in Canberra from 23 to 25 May at QT Canberra. The Excellence in Innovation Awards gala dinner and a showcase of CRC outcomes will be held on the evening of 24 May in the Great Hall at Australian Parliament House.

Collaborating is a key factor to innovation success. Collaborate | Innovate is the ultimate mix of inspiring and informative speakers, networking, practical sessions and you can expect to make new contacts for future collaboration at the Business-Research Match-up. You won’t find a similar opportunity this year.
Speaker highlight

Dr Elizabeth Eastland
General Manager, Strategy, Market Vision and Innovation, CSIRO

Mr Philip Marcus Clark AM
Chair, Cooperative Research Centres Advisory Committee 

Ms Laura Tingle
Political Editor, Australian Financial Reivew

Mr Bill Ferris AC
Chair, Innovation and Science Australia

Session highlight
Global trends in entrepreneurial finance
In this workshop we’ll take a global look at how entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors are funding the growth of their businesses. There are many options available for funding, some old and some new. Yet many new businesses fail to secure the funding they need to grow rapidly, or they waste inordinate amounts of time doing so, damaging their momentum in the process.

Register soon to get your pick of workshops.

The CRC Association would like to thank our sponsors: 
Supporting Sponsors Media Sponsor

Connect through the Business-Research Match-Up

Companies and universities are reaching out to each other more often, but they don't always connect. Many companies tell us that universities are like a "black box" to them. They don't know where to start. University academics aren't always trained or equipped to seek out opportunities with business.

The Business-Research Match-Up at Collaborate | Innovate | 2017 is designed to chip away at some of those barriers. Australia has great research strengths and these will be available for businesses to meet and see if opportunities exist to turn that research into new products and services. Businesses with specific needs can flag them so that institutions with something to offer can pitch their solution in the structured 20-minute meetings.

Read more

MinEx CRC bid

MinEx CRC will break new ground in the discovery and definition of mineral deposits by pioneering cheap, safe and environmentally-friendly coiled tubing drilling to build a 3D picture of the subsurface.

Whether you are a miner, explorer, METS supplier, geological survey or research institution, we seek your involvement in the bid for MinEx CRC which will be submitted in July 2017. You can influence the nature and scope of MinEx CRC as the bid is developed.

New mineral discoveries are becoming rarer in Australia, but are critical for the long-term future of Australia’s mining industry. To address this challenge, cheaper, safer and more environmentally-friendly methods of mineral exploration under barren and deep cover rocks are needed.
More information

New database designed to drive better outcomes for national health sector, thousands of patients

The University of Tasmania has joined the Wound Management Innovation Cooperative Research Centre (Wound CRC) as Participant for a venture of national significance. 
Wound CRC Chief Executive Officer Dr Ian Griffiths said the University was chosen because of its strength in health research coupled with innovative use of data, along with a track record of working effectively at the interface of research and industry.
Under the two-year project, the CRC, University and industry partners would produce a database to capture, analyze and drive improvements in wound management at both a sectoral and individual level.
Read more

CRC Research Shows Feasibility of Drug-releasing CI Electrodes

Promising results have been reported from a world-first study of cochlear implant electrodes designed to stimulate hearing nerves and slowly release drugs into the inner ear.
Read more

Developing a sustainable data science workforce

Recognising the growing need for skilled Data Scientists in the national security sector, the Data to Decisions CRC has launched the Big Data Future Workforce Program.

A key component of this program is the National Security Big Data PhD scholarship program which is aimed at supporting research projects focused on solving real world Big Data challenges faced by the national security sector. The scholarships offer a market leading top-up of $30,000 per year for three years, which when combined with an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship, equates to a minimum of $57,000 per year, allowing students to delve into their research with strong financial support. In addition to this funding, the scholarships offer placements with industry and government, networking, access to otherwise unavailable data sets, development opportunities and the ability to participate in an exchange program.

Read more

Save the Date

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Lowitja Institute will co-host the 6th Annual Research Translation Symposium on 14 & 15 November 2017, in Brisbane. The Symposium will focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research and knowledge translation. More information and call for abstracts will be released in March 2017.

Published science: bioinformatics toolkit for plant biosecurity

A Plant Biosecurity CRC research team recently published the paper An internet-based bioinformatics toolkit for plant biosecurity diagnosis and surveillance of viruses and viroids. The researchers have developed a plant diagnostic toolkit that can accurately detect nearly all plant viruses and viroids in a single test. This will significantly reduce the time imported plant material spends in Australia’s quarantine system, while also improving accuracy of detection.
More information

Science Protecting Plant Health: Call for abstracts

Abstracts are now open for the international conference Science Protecting Plant Health. Presented by the Australasian Plant Pathology Society and the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre, Science Protecting Plant Health will showcase research, innovation and developments in the plant health sciences and plant biosecurity. To be held in Brisbane, Australia 26-28 September 2017. Find out more and submit an abstract at

Have your say on priority areas for future CRCs

The Turnbull Government is seeking input from the industry, science and research communities on priority research themes for upcoming selection rounds of the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Programme.

Public consultation will identify possible themes and priorities for CRC and CRC‑Project selection rounds over the next two years.

Submissions close on Wednesday 15 February 2017.

For more information

Research informs flood safe campaign

The NSW State Emergency Service have used flood research by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC to back their latest flood safety campaign, launched recently on social media. The campaign features a series of videos, with real people recounting their experiences of trying to drive through floodwater, what happened to them, the consequences of their actions, and why no one should ever drive through floodwaters. Each video is backed by data showing what activity they were undertaking when they were killed and who is most at risk (i.e. children, young males, passengers in a vehicle, 4WD’ers). View the campaign on the NSW SES Facebook page.

Are you bidding ?

Are you currently preparing, or thinking about preparing, a CRC or a CRC-P bid in the current or a future round?  Are you also looking for partners? Then the CRC Association wants to know.

By letting us know about your CRC bid we can help you make the connections and introduce you to the people you should be talking to. The bids will be advertised on the CRC Association website and in the fortnightly newsletter.
View the bids
Forward to Friend
Contact Information


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

Jordan Gardner:
02 6273 1124
CRCs in the news
Jan 27, 2017 12:26 pm

Media Release From: Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) ‘Cell of origin’ provides clues for early detection of...

Jan 24, 2017 03:33 pm

Farmers and geeks don’t tend to move in the same circles, but they are the popular faces of two of the hottest industries for new careers....

Jan 20, 2017 01:43 pm

The University of Tasmania has launched a nationwide project that researchers hope will resolve a multi-billion-dollar healthcare problem....

Nov 08, 2016 04:00 am

A two day workshop to develop a National Tramp Ants Biosecurity Plan begins today in Brisbane. “Tramp ants, including the red imported...

News from the Minister
Feb 07, 2017 08:14 am | Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

A review of innovation, science and research in Australia has confirmed the nation is good at creating knowledge, but could be stronger when it comes to applying it

Feb 03, 2017 04:35 pm | Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

The Australian Government is offering grant funding to help Australian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and researchers work with international partners to develop innovative products and services.

Feb 03, 2017 03:52 pm | Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

The Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator the Hon Matt Canavan, spoke to Sabra Lane on the ABC's AM program.

Feb 02, 2017 04:31 pm | Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

The Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos held a doorstop with the Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP and Mr Rob Sindel, Managing Director CSR, at Viridian in Dandenong South, Victoria.

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
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 Innovative Manufacturing 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.


This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
CRC Association, Unit1/10 Burke St. Barton ACT 2600,  Tel: (02) 6273 0624,  Email: