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Cooperative Research Centers Association

No impact of MYEFO on the Cooperative Research Centres Programme

The Government handed down the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) yesterday, overshadowed by the events that were unfolding in Sydney. All Government expenditure remains under considerable pressure, but changes in the Industry portfolio were relatively small.
 
Overall, the Industry portfolio's expenditure will be reduced by almost $50 million in 2014-15 and about $200 million over the forward estimates. The biggest changes - both about $70 million over the forward estimates - are to the government's administration of the National Training System and to payments to apprentices under the Adult Australia Apprentice scheme, which will cease. 
 
The Industry Skills Fund, part of the recently announced Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda has received about $42 million. Another feature of that policy, the Industry Growth Centres, have had their budget adjusted to put more expenditure later in the forward estimates. But Departmental officials advise this will not affect their starting dates. 
 
The $11 million to improve STEM teaching in schools is included in the adjusted Education portfolio budget (where around $3 billion has been restored due to the proposed changes in the university deregulation legislation to be presented in the Senate early in 2015).
 
The Cooperative Research Centres Programme, which received a funding cut of $80 million over the forward estimates in the May Budget, was not affected by any of yesterday's announcements.
 
There was good news for those working with India, with the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund funded for about $8 million to continue from 2015. Funds are also allocated to establish an Industry Counsellor in New Delhi, reflecting the growing importance of the relationship and, presumably, in anticipation of capitalising on a free-tree agreement.

So where are we up to at year's end?

The Review of the Cooperative Research Centres Programme by David Miles has completed its consultations. Mr Miles is expected to provide his report to Minister Macfarlane early in the New Year. It is not known if there will be a draft exposure period, and indeed this might depend on the nature of the recommendations. Minister Macfarlane may choose to issue the report quickly, or to wait and issue it with his response.
 
One CRC bid remains unresolved from the 16th funding round. The Innovative Manufacturing CRC bid was pulled together following the failure of two competing bids in manufacturing in the round to proceed. The CRC Association understands that the revamped proposal has completed all consideration by the CRC Committee and currently sits with Minister Macfarlane.
 
Parallel to the CRC process, the Government announced that one of the Industry Growth Centres will be in the field of Advanced Manufacturing. This announcement has led to some speculation that the funding for the Innovative Manufacturing CRC would simply be flipped over to the Growth Centre, perhaps building from the META (Manufacturing Excellence Taskforce of Australia) initiative. The logic goes: META's funding scenario is not clear; any announcement on the CRC is a bit slow and so that means the money is getting moved.

Commentary below by Dr Tony Peacock:

In my view, this is far too simplistic and ignores several major issues. Firstly, the CRC proposal is extremely impressive. The $40 million of requested government funds are leveraged by over $200 million. Industry groups AMTIL and Ai Group are right behind it and it has a great mix of companies and researchers. We keep putting up the Fraunhofer Institute as a great exemplar - well it's a member of the proposed CRC. Secondly, I think people are overlooking that the Minister's priority is getting it right, not simply getting an announcement out or some funding out the door.
 
The 17th Funding Round was truncated by the May Budget, but not completely wiped out. Existing CRCs planning bids were able to seek approval to do so and three submitted proposals for extensions. Only one, the CRC for Optimising Resource Extraction, was interviewed and we understand that the decision is currently resting with Minister Macfarlane.
 
So we may see some announcements of some CRCs early in the year, the Review results around about the same time hopefully, and then we can think about future rounds. One thing is certain: 2015 won't be boring.

Hazard science at forum

Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC projects based on the physical sciences and engineering were the focus of a Research Advisory Forum in Melbourne in early December.

Around 100 researchers, end users and senior stakeholder representatives met at RMIT University to hear about 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.

Over two days, 20 projects discussed their research to date in the main auditorium, while separate break-out rooms housed more intensive and detailed discussion between researchers and end users.

RMIT University provided an excellent venue for a productive and informative forum. The Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor Prof Matthew Cuthbertson, opened the forum with comments strongly in support of the CRC program.

All presentations are online for sharing and broader discussion at www.bnhcrc.com.au.

RMIT University Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor Prof Matthew Cuthbertson spoke highly of the CRC Program.

Click image to enlarge.

Passing of Professor Don Metcalf‏

by Tony Peacock

One of the giants of Australian science, Professor Don Metcalf, a cancer researcher at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne for over five decades, passed away yesterday. Professor Metcalf's work on understanding how blood cells are formed in the body made him the "father of modern haematology" saving over 20 million lives. Tenor Jose Carreras was an early beneficiary of that research and famously thanked Professor Metcalf personally in 1991. Like many people, I had a family member, my father-in-law, gain many years of extra life through Professor Metcalf's research.
 
The CRC for Cellular Growth Factors was one of the original CRCs funded and ran from 1991 to 2004. A highly successful CRC, it supported worked by Professor Metcalf and his team. 
 
The CRC community joins the rest of the Australian science and medical community in mourning the loss of Don Metcalf and extending our condolences to his family and colleagues.

iSee Holds Largest Full Participation Online Video Meeting

iSee, developed by the Smart Services CRC and recently spun off into its own company, iSee VC Pty ltd, has set a record for the largest full featured synchronous video meeting with 67 people gathering simultaneously.

“Unlike traditional video conferencing technology, iSee is a video meeting solution that enables many-to-many crowd collaboration, merging video conferencing with interactive, virtual spaces," said Professor Safaei of the University of Wollongong and creator of iSee’s technology.

"Participants' video and audio is streamed in real time via personal webcams into an immersive setting where they can move around freely, form groups, talk and share content just as they would in the real world.”

The technology behind iSee enables large video meetings to take place at a fraction of the bandwidth used by current conferencing systems. One application for such a low bandwidth solution is engaging with students in regional and remote areas.

iSee is already undertaking pilot studies with clients in education K-12, Department of Education and Communities, TAFE Open Training Education Network and major Australian universities.

http://www.isee-meetings.com/

Click here for more information

Oral Health CRC Honoured with International Visit

The Oral Health CRC was honoured to host a visit to its research facilities by the Chairman of GC Corporation, Mr Makoto Nakao. A global dental materials manufacturer and an industry partner in the Oral Health CRC, GC Corporation has already commercialised a number of successful professional dental products developed from Oral Health CRC research.

Mr Nakao was accompanied on the Australian visit by divisional heads of the European, Asian and Australasian headquarters of the company. The high-level delegation toured the Centre’s research facilities at the Bio21 Institute and met with Oral Health CRC CEO, Melbourne Laureate Professor Eric Reynolds AO, to discuss current and future projects.

Eric says the visit was an important opportunity for the CRC. “This is the first time Mr Nakao has visited our labs in Melbourne and he and his team were keen to increase their understanding of our capabilities.”

Click here for more information.

AMCRC CEO Steps Down 

Andrew McLellan, CEO of the Advanced Manufacturing CRC (AMCRC), is standing down effective end of January 2015.

Mr McLellan has taken on a leading role in an ASX listed technology company but will maintain his focus on the Australian Advanced Manufacturing Community as a non-executive Director of AMCRC. AMCRC board member Simon Marriott will take on the role of Managing Director in January.

AMCRC held their final AGM in October but have spun off into AMCRC Pty Ltd to continue the legacy of the CRC.

It has been a pleasure working alongside Andrew under his tenure as CEO of the AMCRC. The CRC Association would like to wish Andrew the best of luck in the future.

Click here for more details.

New CEO Announced for CO2CRC

Dr Richard Aldous, CEO of the CO2CRC and Board Member of the CRC Association, recently resigned as CEO . Tania Constable PSM, currently a Chief Adviser in the Commonwealth Treasury, has been announced as the new CEO. Ms Constable has extensive experience as a senior executive in the Australian Public Service including more than 20 years in various industry and resources portfolio positions.

The Hon. Martin Ferguson AM, Chairman of the CO2CRC, had the following to say at the opening of the CRC’s annual research symposium.

“CO2CRC is fortunate to have attracted such high calibre interest,” Mr Ferguson said.

“Ms Constable’s knowledge and experience of Australia’s resources sector, her relationships with key stakeholders and understanding of the public sector will ensure CO2CRC’s continued relevance as it moves into its next five-year program of research.

“CO2CRC has an international reputation as a leader in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies. Under Ms Constable’s stewardship, the organisation will build on this through its commitment to research excellence and development of improved methodologies and cheaper processes.”

Mr Ferguson thanked outgoing CEO Dr Richard Aldous for his leadership of CO2CRC over the past three years.

“Richard leaves the organisation having secured funding for the next five years, which is a significant achievement indeed,” Mr Ferguson said.

“He has successfully steered CO2CRC through some difficult and uncertain times, allowing the researchers to focus on enhancing CCS as an essential part of Australia’s low-carbon future.”

Ms Constable will take up the role in early 2015
 
The CRC Association would like to wish Richard the best of luck in the future and thank him for his invaluable service as a CRC Association Board Member. The Association would like to welcome Tania as CEO of the CRC. We look forward to working together closely in the future.

Click here to continue reading.

Time to Review your Travel

CRC Association members enjoy access to significant discounts on both domestic and international travel.

If you haven’t used our travel arrangement recently, take the time to review them for 2015. Over the past two years, CRC Association members have saved around $600,000 on Qantas fares alone, an average of 16.5% savings.

Through our deal with Campus Travel, the Association’s preferred full service travel provider, you not only save on Qantas fares but Virgin and a series of airline partners as well.

Even if you can find a better deal by going direct to the Qantas or Virgin website, Campus Travel can match the same price giving you access to the benefits of a full service travel provider with 24/7 staffing making last minute changes much easier. So stop torturing yourself and your EA.  
 
Some statistics:
  • Red eDeals are Included – You will pay 8% less on average than the published fare;
  • Save 24% on Flexi Savers and 20% on Fully Flexible fares;
  • 21% off the corporate  Qantas Club Lounge Membership;
  • Complete help and training is available to get up and running though Campus Travel.

For more information contact Jamison Warren, Director of Sales, Campus Travel.

Mobile:  0412 856 384

Email:  jamison.warren@campustravel.com.au

Augmented Reality for Visualising Research

 
What is AR?
Augmented Reality enables mobile devices to interact with the world around them and allows researchers to add rich media to images, objects and environments. For example holding up a smartphone to a conference poster could trigger a video, 3D animations and online content. 
 
How can AR assist CRCs?
Researchers seeking to educate audiences can harness Augmented Reality to make their data more engaging and interactive including adding gamification elements.
 
How does it work?
Augmented Reality technology utilises the device camera to search for ‘trigger’ content. Once an image or object is recognised the rich media experience is activated.
 
What is the uptake?
Annual revenues from mobile augmented reality (AR) services and applications are projected to reach US$1.2 billion by 2015 according to Juniper Research. 
The IKEA Augmented Reality App was the most downloaded promotional app of 2012. 
 
How can I find out more?
Contact Tom West from Sydney Interactive, Australia’s forefront Augmented Reality provider, on (02) 8970 3354, or email tom@sydneyinteractive.com.au
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Events
 
8 December 2014, Melbourne
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8-10 December 2014, New South Whales
2014 Asia-Pacific Solar Research Conference
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3-5 February 2015, Melbourne
Polymer Summer School

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12 March 2015, Melbourne
Cars of Tomorrow Conference 2015
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10 Mach 2015, Adelaide
National Workshop on Nuclear Energy for Australia
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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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