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Cooperative Research Centers Association

Government outlines Entrepreneurs' Infrastructure Programme

 
The Department of Industry has released a Discussion Paper seeking input to the proposed Entrepreneurs' Infrastructure Programme announced in the May Budget. The paper can be accessed here and businesses are invited to give their feedback during June. The rush to give feedback is because the Programme is due to commence operations from 1 July.
 
The "new" Programme looks very much like a consolidation of parts of Enterprise Connect and Commercialisation Australia. The three streams are yet to be completely finalised, but in summary are:
  • Business Management  (due to commence 1 July 2014) offers business advice under matching arrangements;
  • Research Connections (due to commence 1 September 2014) offers matching funding to $50,000 for researcher placement into businesses; and
  • Commercialising Ideas (due to commence from 1 November 2014) offers matching funding to $250,000 for evaluation and commercialisation of ideas.
I have to admit to a sense of considerable disappointment on reading the Discussion Paper. 
 
When one reads that the Programme is due to be rolled out almost immediately, you get the idea that the Department isn't actually that interested in feedback that says anything other than "go for it". When the Budget killed off Enterprise Connect and Commercialisation Australia, I had thought that we might be in for some new directions from the new government. After all, the announced "new" Programme contains the ambitious words "entrepreneurs'" and "infrastructure". Unfortunately, the proposed Programme is merely a revamping of the old ones. It's $845 million less, delivered through a single agency but doing essentially the same things. The requirements for matching funding mean there will be little of this funding going to entrepreneurs (or new entrepreneurs at least) and I can't understand the use of the term "infrastructure" in the title at all. It isn't an infrastructure programme.
 
The continued reliance on advisers that know business better than business people is the most surprising aspect of a new programme from a conservative government. I was not a great fan of the role of so many advisers in the Researchers in Business program within Enterprise Connect, for example. To me, putting advisers in as conduits between business and researchers is treating a symptom rather than a cause. That's not to say intermediaries don't work - clearly there are some excellent clusters and coaching programmes that do. But the problem is deeper than just making connections.
 
Australia has a chronic problem of our businesses and researchers working in different circles and we should be working more on the overall culture, in my view. I have real trouble seeing how government funding of business advisers is the answer to that problem. Just last week, the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) released a report, found here, commissioned by the Chief Scientist for the Prime Minister's Science, Innovation and Engineering Council that contains 25 recommendations for lifting productivity through science and research. Moreover, that report reminds us that many of the unimplemented recommendations of Karpin's Enterprising Nation (1995) and Cutler's Venturous Australia (2008) remain valid. The ACOLA report shows that there are still plenty of ideas for improving business-research interactions. Just don't expect to find many of them in the Entrepreneurs' Infrastructure Programme.
 
Commentary by Tony Peacock
CEO, CRC Association
 

Three new distinguished friends

The Cooperative Research Centres Association was delighted to admit three new “Distinguished friends” to the Association at the recent conference in Perth.

The Hon. Bob Hawke AC, the Hon. John Kerin AM and Dr Anne Campbell were each admitted this year. The CRC Association admits “Distinguished Friends” to thank those who have made an outstanding contribution to the CRC Program or CRC Association.

Mr Hawke made the CRC Program one of the main promises of the 1990 Federal Election Campaign. On winning the election, the Hawke Government went on to establish the CRC Program, awarding the first CRCs in 1991. 

He has remained a good friend of CRCs in the subsequent 25 years and delivered the 2014 Ralph Slatyer Address on Science and Society.

The Hon. John Kerin AM was a highly successful Cabinet Minister in the Hawke Government. Amongst the many reforms he initiated was the establishment of the Rural Research and Development Corporations. After leaving office, Mr Kerin has chaired six separate CRCs and still remains the Chair of the Poultry CRC.  He also maintains a strong involvement in development and food security as the Chairman of the Crawford Fund.

Dr Anne Campbell was CEO of the CRC Association for over a decade. She tirelessly worked to assist CRCs in all their phases and to promote the Program. Under her leadership the CRC Association established the Excellence in Innovation Awards and the Early Career Researcher Showcase. Anne continues to provide service to the Association as a judge of the Awards.

Our three new friends join our initial Distinguished Friends, the Hon. Tony Staley AO, Dr Geoff Vaughan AO and Dr Peter Jonson.
The Hon. John Kerin AM, Dr Anne Campbell, The Hon. Bob Hawke AC. Click image to enlarge.

Thinking ahead: Embedding research in aged care

The CRC for Mental Health is holding a public event in Perth on 16 June. The event will explore how scientific research can be embedded in aged care systems.
 
Speakers include:
  • Prof Ralph Martins AO (Director of Research, McCusker Alzheimer's Research Foundation)
  • Prof Ashley Bush (Chief Scientific Officer, CRC for Mental Health)
  • W/Prof Assen Jablensky (Director, Centre for Clinical Research in Neuropsychiatry)
  • Prof Fran McInerney (Mercy Health Chair of Aged Care)
 
If you wish to attend, please register at mentalhealthcrc.com
 
Click here for more information.
 

Queen’s Birthday Honours

The CRC Association would like to congratulate the following CRC affiliated people who were honoured in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday List:   

Dr Megan Clark AC - Long-time supporter of CRCs and Board member of the AJ Parker CRC for Hydrometallurgy
Hon. Dr Barry Jones AC – Former Chairman, Coastal Zones CRC
Dr Ian Allison AO - Former Program Leader, Antarctic CRC
Pat Anderson AO - Chair, Lowitja Institute (CRC for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.
Prof.  Edwina Cornish AO – Former Director, CRC for Molecular Plant Breeding; Petroleum; Tissue Growth and Repair
Prof. Sam Lake AO – Former Chief Ecologist, CRC for Freshwater Ecology
Prof. Mike Aitken AMCEO, Capital Markets CRC
Dr Marlene Kanga AMFormer National President, Engineers Australian; Director, iOmniscient

Virgin Travel Deal

The CRC Association and Campus Travel have formed a relationship with Virgin to offer CRC Association members discounted rates on Virgin airfares.

For more information contact Jamison Warren, Director of Sales Campus Travel, on 0412 856 384 or via email at Jamison.warren@campustravel.comau. 
 

Recognising business excellence in China


AustCham Westpac has recognised Brien Holden Vision Institute China for business excellence with the 2014 Australia-China Business Award (ACBA) for Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility, which was presented at the ACBA Gala Dinner on 29 May in Shanghai

In 2011, Brien Holden Vision Institute, based at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, established an office and research facilities in Guangzhou, under Executive Director, Addy Wu. The main focus has been on applied vision correction research, optometry development, innovative technology development and public health programs, with the objective of enhancing China’s optometric capacity and to build opportunities for providing excellent vision care to Chinese people, by the Chinese people.

“It’s a great honour to win this award,” said Professor Brien Holden, CEO, Brien Holden Vision Institute, “and it’s an important recognition of the Institute’s efforts in China.”

Click here to read more.
Brien Holden receiving his award.

Farming and the Arts     

Future Farms Industries CRC, scheduled to close June 30, recently donated 6 easels left over from their legacy event, Future Farms live, to two local Canberra Art Centres: Tuggeranong and Belconnen.

Robyn Higgins (Belconnen Arts Centre) and Filipe Bernabo (Tuggeranong Arts Centre) were both very appreciative of the donation in what they said are hard financial times for art.
 
Filipe Bernabo, Tuggeranong Arts Centre
Robyn Higgins, Belconnen Arts Centre

CRC Benchmarking Study now available to Members‏

If you are a member of the CRC Association and would like a copy of the bench marking study, contact Jordan Gardner: Jordan.Gardner@crca.asn.au for a copy.
 

Positions Available

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Events

16 June 2014 - Perth
Thinking ahead: Embedding research in aged care
How does Australia’s aged care system benefit from the latest scientific research? What are the opportunities for the future?

Click here to learn more

9 July 2014
Concept to Impact - Sheep CRC Final Conference
Sheep producers and industry participants should pencil 9 July 2014 into their diaries, when the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) will take them on an R&D journey from ‘Concept to Impact'.

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20 August 2014 Victoria
Australian Science Industry (ASiX) Industry Day

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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.

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

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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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