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Cooperative Research News Christmas tree
19 December 2012
CRCs are involved in research across many industries in Australia

CRCs impact on research education

A new report by Melbourne University's Centre for the Study of Higher Education shows that Australia's Cooperative Research Centres are making a significant contribution to postgraduate training. 

Completion rates of CRC affliated postgraduates are high and most CRCs offer industry-oriented development opportunities for their students. In 2010, 218 CRC-affliated students graduated with a PhD, representing about 4% of Australia's total doctoral graduates for the year. 

Importantly, CRCs assist postgraduates through the five dimensions of research training: resources; supervision; professional development; collegiality and administration. These are the likely factors leading to good completion rates. Some CRCs have gone to considerable effort in particular aspects such as bringing students from different University settings together regularly for professional development and involvement with their respective industry. Several have pulled together frameworks to ensure a "complete" postgraduate experience. 

CRC Association CEO, Tony Peacock, said the Association commissioned the report to give guidance on the best way to train postgraduates in the future. "All our industries are fighting for talent. CRCs know you can't treat a PhD student in the old style apprentice model. We are better at recognising the diversity and aspirations of postgraduates than we used to be."

"The Association Board feels it's time to think of a thorough framework for postgraduate training as a minimum standard rather than a "value add". We want to keep moving forward and improving. A framework is just the start to to providing an outstanding postgraduate experience and that's what we want to provide so those postgraduates can go on and make the biggest possible impact on their sector".

The report was authored by Nigel Palmer and is available on the CRC Association website.



A winning year

Tony Peacock

This year has been a good one for the Cooperative Research Centres. Our Minister, the Federal Opposition and the most senior people in Australian science have all shown great positivity and enthusiasm for CRCs during 2012.

The CRC Program is really delivering. Just take a glance through the sheer number of prestigious awards that CRCs and their affliated businesses and scientists are getting shortlisted for or are winning.

We do extraordinarily well when it comes to any measures of, or awards for, research impact. Of course we should do, because CRCs are designed to create impact. They have the timeframe, scale and teams to achieve impact. Although they represent only a small slice of the Australian Government's innovation pie (about 1.7% of it), they get to draw on all the other parts of that system as well as international research and business. So we should produce the goods, and the evidence is there to show we do just that.

The challenges for 2013 are pretty clear from my perspective. We have to continue to make CRCs more relevant to more sectors and the structure of businesses in those sectors. For example, we currently work really well with agriculture where many of the small to medium enterprises are relatively similar (farms, for example) and already well organised and connected, usually through a levy system and their Rural R&D Corporation. But we do less well in developing CRC models that suit small to medium enterprises in other sectors like manufacturing or service industries. We need to work with those sectors to find the best ways of getting end-users to take the lead on research ventures.
We are due for another review during the year. Our Association will continue to argue for more flexibility to be allowed in the design of a CRC and measures to reduce the cost of bidding (in money, time and energy). In an age where an innovative start-up can grow from conception to a billion dollar valuation in less time than human conception can produce a baby, it is probably timely to explore ways of fast tracking dynamic proposals.

Of course 2013 is an election year. The CRC Association has enjoyed excellent hearings from the Government, the Opposition and the Australian Greens throughout this year and we expect that dialogue to continue. Innovation policy deserves a prominent place in the coming discourse.

I had the extraordinary privilege over the past fortnight to hear practice sessions of all seven* of the shortlisted CRC bids. As this Newsletter is issued, the final pitch is being made and the CRC Committee will convene over the next couple of days to prepare their advice to Minister Chris Evans. Congratulations to all those involved in developing outstanding cases for your CRC. We expect the Minister will make an announcement fairly early in the New Year.

Finally, thank you to everyone in the CRC Community for all your efforts, good wishes and assistance during the year. I've enjoyed the busy time but am completely reliant on our Office Manager, Pauline Quinane and part-time contributions from Sally (accounts), Karen (web, GroupSpaces) and Anni (everything else). The Board of the Association is very supportive and wise, and you will all be pleased to hear that our Chairman Tony Staley has recovered rapidly and is resuming his work on our behalf, replumbed, in 2013.

Our very best wishes to you for the Festive Season.

* This year the CRC Association was pleased to be able to provide help to all of the shortlisted bids. This was only possible due to the small round and will not be possible in 2013. We will need to limit our support in 2013 to Members, Associate Members and bids from Affiliate Member organisations.

CRCA Annual Conference news

About the Venue:
Where better to hold the CRCA Collaborate Innovate 2013 Conference than the innovative Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre? As the first 6 Star Green Star rated centre in the world, the MCEC represents leadership in best practice, innovation and sustainability. It was also the first centre in Australia to offer free Wi-Fi to all visitors and continues to raise industry standards in technology, imaginative catering and service options.

Located on the banks of the Yarra River in South Wharf, the MCEC is a short stroll from Melbourne's central business district, Conference accommodation and a 20-minute drive to Melbourne Airport connects MCEC to the rest of Australia and the world.

Conference Accommodation:
If you will be traveling interstate, or into Australia for Collaborate Innovate 2013, you can book your accommodation at the same time as you register. Rooms have been reserved at the Hilton South Wharf, the Crown Metropol, Oaks on Collins and the Grand Hotel Melbourne. Varying in prices, there is a room for every budget and in walking/tram distance to the MCEC.

Social Function update:
Wine tasting event tickets are still available, but hurry as only the first 50 to register can attend and they are going fast. Register today!

For more information please visit the Conference website.

Collaborate Innovate 2013 is proudly sponsored by:
RMIT University; DIISTRE; CSIRO; Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick; FAL Lawyers  Russell Kennedy Pty Ltd; Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, ANU;  Campus Travel; Australian Research Council; AutoCRC

Collaborate Innovate 2013 is proudly  hosted by the Victorian Government.

ACE CRC wins 2012 Resilient Australia Award, Bushfire CRC Highly Commended

Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC has won a 2012 Resilient Australia Award in the Training and Research Category for the Climate Futures for Tasmania Project.

The Climate Futures for Tasmania project took global climate change modelling and scaled it down to a 10-square kilometre grid across Tasmania. Modelling then projected the impacts that increasing greenhouse gases could have on agriculture, the general climate, frequency of extreme events, water and catchments and inundation from the sea.

The project leader of Climate Futures for Tasmania, Professor Nathan Bindoff of the ACE CRC, said information from the project would assist planning in areas such as emergency management, local government planning, infrastructure planning and food production.

The awards were announced on December 6 by Attorney-General and Minister for Emergency Management Nicola Roxon. The Resilient Australia Awards recognise innovative practices that are making our communities safer, stronger, more resilient and better prepared to manage any emergency situation.

The Bushfire CRC was recognised by a Highly Commended award  for the impact of its collective research program over the past decade. The program of research projects by the Bushfire CRC was in the Nationally Significant and Cross Jurisdictional Category of the awards.

The Award announcement

Read the ACE CRC press release

Read the Bushfire CRC press release

ACE CRC accepting award
ACE CRC Resilient Australia Award
(L-R) Gai Broadtmann MP, Prof Nathan Bindoff, Dr Chris White
Suzy Gaynor,Dr Stuart Corney

Bushfire CRC award
Bushfire CRC Highly Commended Award
(L-R) David Bruce, Dr Richard Thornton, Dr Noreen Krusel

CRC researchers shortlisted for Australian Innovation Challenge

Three CRC researchers were shortlisted in The Australian Innovation Challenge. The Australian newspaper runs the awards, in association with Shell, and supported by the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education. The aim of the awards is to help drive some of the nation’s best ideas to commercialisation or adoption.

CSIRO scientist Laihua Wang and his research team at the CAST CRC were shortlisted for CASTvac. CASTvac is a new vacuum valve boosting the efficiency of the manufacture of precision car parts. The valve is designed to overcome problems in vacuum assisted high-pressure die casting, used at the top end of the car-parts industry to cast aluminium components in moulds.

Harvey Dillon, director of the National Acoustic Laboratories, a member of The HEARing CRC, was shortlisted for a fully self-fitting hearing aid aimed directly at developing countries. The device, designed to be customised, fitted and fine-tuned by the user at home, does not require a computer or internet access.

Farzad Safaei from the Smart Services CRC and the University of Wollongong, was shortlisted in the Education category for the iSee video-conferencing tool. This system has also won a prestigious international award (see following story). The iSee video collaboration tool can support hundreds of users at once in custom-built virtual worlds. The tool allows students and teachers to interact naturally as if in a real classroom, according to Safaei.

More information on The Australian Innovation Challenge

More information on CASTvac, Self-fitting hearing aid, iSee Video collaboration

Smart Services CRC wins Asia Pacific
ICT Award

iSee, the video collaboration system developed by Smart Services CRC and the University of Wollongong ICT Research Institute has won an award in the Research and Development category at the 2012 Asia Pacific ICT Alliance (APICTA) Awards held in Brunei Darussalam in early December.

iSee is a multi-platform, real-time video collaboration tool that uses socially interactive video streaming to create a lifelike immersive environment for participants to look and feel natural. It is the first web-based application to fully utilise the social complexities of real-life interactions as a natural element of the technology.

iSee can host anywhere from two to hundreds of users simultaneously in custom-built virtual environments. Users are streamed in real-time video and can freely move around the 3D iSee space to interact as part of a dispersed workforce, host and attend events, such as conferences and to be actively involved in team meetings; share files and images and video on virtual screens in a range of professional or educational environments; and engage in collaborative learning via large group presentations or simultaneous smaller group workshops and discussion.

iSee is the ideal tool for CRC staff and researchers to keep in contact and collaborate. Contact Natalie Chapman if your CRC is interested in a demonstration.

Read more about the award

iSee Asia Pacific  ICT award
iSee team (L-R), Pedram Pourashraf, Aboozar Azarnoush,
Farzad Safaei, Amir Hesami

Chairperson of the Lowitja Institute wins Human Rights award

Pat Anderson, Chairperson of the Lowitja Institute, is the winner of the Human Rights Community Individual Award (Tony Fitzgerald Memorial Award) for 2012.
The award honours individuals for promoting and advancing human rights in the Australian community on a not-for-profit basis.
An Aboriginal advocate for human rights, Pat is recognised nationally and internationally for her leadership in promoting and advancing the human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with a particular focus on the health, education and the protection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The Lowitja Institute incorporates the CRC for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.

Read the full press release

The 2012 Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation awarded to Ana Deletic

Professor Ana Deletic, from Monash Water for Liveability (Monash University's Centre for Water Sensitive Cities), has been awarded the 2012 Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation. The Victoria Prize celebrates excellence and honours achievements, including academic leadership and innovative research, while aiming to inspire similar dedication in aspiring scientists and inventors.

Ana Deletic, an international leader in stormwater research, became the first woman to receive a Victoria Prize in the award’s 14-year history when she was awarded the $50,000 prize for physical sciences.

Professor Deletic has worked on treating stormwater and more recently on capturing stormwater for human use, particularly irrigation. Her work was an important factor in the successful bid for the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities which began in July 2012. She coordinates research and end-users for the Melbourne Research Hub of the CRC.

Read about the Victoria Prize

Watch a video of Professor Deletic's work

The CRC for Water Sensitive Cities announcement

collaborate innovate 2013

May 15-17 2013
The CRCA's Annual Conference

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Super Earlybird Registration now available

Sponsorship enquiries can be directed to Justin Holsinger at EventCorp

Why you should be a Member of the CRC Association

Members of the CRCA have access to communications that can cut the cost of your operations

Recent discussions include best use of Social Media, management costs and governance issues.

Members of the CRCA gain insights and support in seeking partners and funds.

All seven shortlisted CRC proposals in the current funding round have received referrals through CRCA.

An analysis of Round 16 potential bids is already available to CRCA members.

A benchmarking study outlining all CRC salaries is available to members.

Members of the CRCA receive advocacy, promotion and introductions.

Meetings with Ministers Combet, Plibersek, Butler, Carr and others were organised for Members during 2012.

In the past year, the CRC Association had provided Associate Membership and Affiliate membership at 25% and 50% of the full membership rate respectively. Our Associates and Affiliates are reporting significant benefits arising from their Membership.

Enquire today about joining us in 2013.

Get involved

Consortia are developing for CRC bids in the next (2013) round. CRCA is happy to help you connect with other potential bidders. Let us know about your interest and we can pass it on to others in the areas of:

  • Asian markets
  • Diabetes
  • Cybersecurity
  • Industrial Safety
  • Geothermal Energy
  • Online Education
  • Soils
  • Murray–Darling
  • Farm Safety
  • Data Decisions
  • Several manufacturing approaches
  • Healthy Ageing
  • Complex Project and Program Management

as well as potential re-bidding CRCs and a range of early stage bids. Participation in a CRC is not limited to any specific group or region. You must have an Australian small-medium enterprise and an Australian University involved.


17-19 February 2013

AIRG 2013 Summer Conference
Early bird special until
31 December 2012

7-10 April 2013

National Rural Health Conference

6-10 August 2013

Prostate Cancer World Congress

Associate Members

Essential Energy

Alertness, Safety and Productivity CRC bid

Safeguarding Biodiversity CRC bid

Affiliate Members

The Recruitment Alternative

Capital Hill Consulting

FAL Lawyers

Hynes Lawyers

Queensland University of Technology


University of South Australia

Online courses

Part-time Graduate Certificate in Research Commercialisation and Master of Research Management & Commercialisation

Closing date:
Semester 1 2013 - 18 January 2013

Cost: (Domestic) $1932

e-Grad School, QUT

Members of the Cooperative Research Centres Association

CRC for Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Health
CRC for Advanced
Automotive Technology
CRC for Advanced
Composite Structures
Advanced Manufacturing CRC Australian Seafood CRC CRC for Asthma and Airways
Antarctic Climate &
Ecosystems (ACE) CRC
CRC for Beef Genetic
CRC for Biomarker
Bushfire CRC Cancer Therapeutics CRC Capital Markets CRC
Environmental Biotechnology
CRC Pty Ltd
CRC for Biomedical
Imaging Development
Deep Exploration
Technologies CRC
Cotton Catchment
Communities CRC
CRC for Contamination
Assessment and Remediation
of the Environment (CARE)
CRC for Infrastructure
and Engineering Asset
Management (CIEAM)
Dairy Futures CRC DMTC Ltd Energy Pipelines CRC
eWater CRC CRC for Forestry Future Farm Industries CRC
The HEARing CRC CRC for Mental Health Invasive Animals CRC
Biosecurity CRC
CRC for Optimising
Resource Extraction
Parker CRC for Integrated Hydrometallurgy Solutions
Oral Health CRC CRC for Polymers High Integrity Pork CRC
Poultry CRC CRC for Rail Innovation 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 Smart Services CRC
Young and Well CRC CRC for Low Carbon Living  
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.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

CRC Association, Engineering House, Tel: (02) 6270 6524, Fax: (02) 6273 1218, Email:



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