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Cooperative Research News 23 October 2012
CRCs are involved in research across many industries in Australia

No cuts to CRCs

The Government has recognised the importance of the Cooperative Research Centres Program and left it intact following a "funding pause" and review of programs leading up to yesterday's mid-year economic outlook. The 15th selection round is expected to resume shortly. The major research councils, the NH&MRC and the ARC were also unaffected. The ARC opened its delayed Linkage Program within minutes of the announcement and applications are due 3 December.

Lower tax revenues and the Government's commitment to a budget surplus in 2012-13 meant that all programs have received scrutiny over the past weeks to find possible savings. During this period, the CRC Program was put on a "pause" increasing nervousness of the nine syndicates currently vying for CRC funding. Short listing of those proposals going to interview was expected in the last week of August.

Government research funding was not left untouched.

Universities are disappointed at a $499 million saving from the Sustainable Research Excellence (SRE) program, part of the University Block Grants. Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans said "The SRE program will continue to provide a significant contribution to the indirect costs of competitive grant research. This year's SRE funding will remain unchanged. In 2013, the funding will be indexed from the 2012 level and will then steadily increase at a more sustainable level over three years to reach the planned peak of $300 million in 2016."

Commentary from Tony Peacock, CRCA

The research community in Australia has just had a couple of things reinforced. Firstly, we cannot expect the benefits of R&D to be self evident and we are as vulnerable to Government budgeting processes as any other area of expenditure. Secondly, we are lucky to be represented in Cabinet by a senior Minister.

The recent demonstration that the CRC Program is delivering a $14.5 billion benefit to the nation, making significant contributions to productivity and GDP, did not put us on an "untouchable" list in the MYEFO process. By and large, Federal politicians know and like the Program. But that didn't save us from the end of the "Backing Australia's Ability Program" or cuts in the 2010 election campaign and 2011 budget. We need to keep increasing our efforts to have the general community and our industry supporters appreciate the value of CRCs and how they are delivering real differences to the lives of Australians. After two decades of CRC delivery, I doubt any Australian could go through a full day without being impacted by the outcome of at least one CRC, but relatively few would recognise that fact.

Science and research has not always been directly represented in Cabinet. And never at such a senior level as it is currently represented. Minister Evans is the Leader of the Government in the Senate and in the May budget his portfolio was the only one not to suffer some trimming. Under the Government's fiscal circumstances and a determination to deliver a surplus for the year, to avoid any cuts in the MYEFO process was never on. The slowdown in indexing the SRE is obviously not ideal, but that program is largely spent on infrastructure and Universities were given infrastructure boosts during the height of the GFC. I don't know how much staring down the Minister had to do, but we should acknowledge he has been able to largely hold the line. Cuts to ARC or CRC Programs would have directly led to less researchers employed in the system next year, and we can't afford to be mucking around with the careers of early career researchers.

The research system in Australia already mucks around far too much with the early career of researchers and it is an area that needs attention over the coming years. At a recent Early-Mid Career workshop in Canberra, Nobel Laureate, Brian Schmidt said that he appointed all his postdocs for five-year terms (despite receiving maximum of three-year funding), allowed any of them to work part-time and offered jobs to partners if it meant he could attract good people to Canberra. Brian should be applauded for facing up to the realities of modern family life and making life a bit easier at a stage where many researchers are on their first mortgage and first child and they need support. No doubt he gets a performance benefit as a result. It's a pity that the research system in Australia makes Brian unusual in this regard - it seems every other sector has discovered we are in a fight for talent, except science.

There is one part of the sector that can very simply make life easier for early career scientists: CRCs. Cooperative Research Centres can offer extended postdoctoral terms; they can headhunt the best and brightest and they can help build the careers of our researchers to maximise the impact they make. Let's not squander that advantage.


Sheep CRC matches research with
consumer needs

The sheep industry is sharply focusing in on consumer demands, with new research from the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation providing new tools to match production to the end product.

In recent months the Sheep CRC has delivered new products that will guarantee the end customer’s experience when eating their lamb roast, or selecting a new woollen garment.

Genomic research has delivered the ability to select sheep for productivity as well as attributes related to the eating quality of lamb.This means that sheep breeders will be able to use DNA tests to select breeding stock that carry the genes for tenderness and taste.

The CRC is also negotiating the commercialisation of its Wool ComfortMeter and Wool HandleMeter. The new measurement systems have been trialled with major wool knitwear manufacturers in China and Mauritius.

The ability to accurately predict exactly how comfortable a garment will be for a wearer is of major importance to these manufacturers and the whole supply chain.

Read more about the DNA testing

Read more about the Wool ComfortMeter

collaborate innovate 2013

May 15-17 2013
The CRCA's Annual Conference

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Sponsorship enquiries can be directed to Justin Holsinger at EventCorp

Upcoming Events for Members

14/15 November

CRCA Communicators Forum (includes a session on social media use).

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
  • Cybersecurity
  • Geothermal Energy
  • Online Education
  • Soils
  • 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.

Benefits of CRCA Membership

Every CRC is a Member of the CRC Association. But Membership is not limited to CRCs. Associate and Affiliate Members enjoy a range of discounts and offers as well as the CRCA's networking and representation services.

CRCA Members access substantially discounted and/or flexible fares with Qantas. To take advantage or organise a briefing, contact Jodi Walton at Campus Travel.

Westpac is the CRCA's preferred bank. They are great supporters of innovation in general and CRCs in particular. To find out what they can do for you, contact Rose Stellino.

CRCA also gets you discounted recruitment services through The Recruitment Alternative.


6-9 November 2012

Innovation Week
KCA Annual Conference linked with Univation and the Western Australian Department of Commerce’s Innovator of the Year

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 Commericalisation and Master of Research Management & Commercialisation

Closing dates:
Summer Semester 2012 - 26 October 2012
Semester 1 2013 - 18 January 2013

Cost: (Domestic) $1932

e-Grad School, QUT

Are you connecting with the CRC Community?

Collaborate Innovate 2013 will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from the 15th to 17th of May and Sponsorship and Exhibition packages are available now. Here are seven great reasons to support the CRCA National Conference:

  • Directly access up to 500 industry professionals from Government, Corporate & Academic sectors
  • Opportunity to develop and strengthen networks and relationships with key industry figures
  • Position your corporate brand before multiple key industries who share innovative initiatives
  • Look for possible business partners to collaborate on projects
  • Excellent networking opportunities or sign new business on the spot
  • Create a positive association between your brand and excellence in research impact
  • Be acknowledged for your support of Australia's innovative development in industry

Contact Nazli Barootian, the sponsorship representative at Eventcorp. Nazli will be happy to discuss your needs so that you secure the right exposure for your organisation.

Tel: 07 3334 4400 Email:

Cast flame dwindles with industry
R&D investment

The Board of CAST CRC Limited recently made the decision to wind up the organisation’s operations, along with many of its research and development activities, by the end of 2012.

CAST CRC Limited has managed the CRC’s operations, including research management and IP commercialisation, since 2008. Most recently, it has been responsible for advancing CAST’s work beyond the Australian Government’s CRC Program, following an unsuccessful re-bid application last year.

“It was a very difficult decision to make,” said CAST CRC Chairman, Professor Peter Robinson. “In the nearly two decades CAST has been operating, we’ve made significant contributions to Australia’s metals manufacturing sector and its economy, and added substantially to global knowledge and technology.”

Despite these contributions, Australia’s manufacturing sector has been beset with economic difficulties which have reduced their capacity to invest in local R&D, and in CAST, to the levels they have in the past.

Read more in the press release


Media training with Science in Public

One-day media training for Scientists and Communications staff

  2012 Dates:
Thursday 25 October (Melbourne )
Wednesday 14 November (Melbourne TBC)
Friday 2 November (Canberra TBC)

Contact Niall Byrne

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 Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems (ACE) CRC CRC for Asthma and Airways
Australian Seafood CRC CRC for Beef Genetic Technologies CRC for Biomarker Translation
CRC for Biomedical Imaging Development Bushfire CRC Cancer Therapeutics CRC
Capital Markets CRC CAST CRC CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CARE)
Cotton Catchment Communities CRC CO2CRC Dairy Futures CRC
Deep Exploration Technologies CRC DMTC Ltd Energy Pipelines CRC
Environmental Biotechnology CRC Pty Ltd eWater CRC CRC for Forestry
Future Farm Industries CRC The HEARing CRC CRC for Infrastructure and Engineering Asset Management (CIEAM)
Invasive Animals CRC CRC for Mental Health CRCMining
National Plant Biosecurity CRC CRC for Optimising Resource Extraction Oral Health CRC
Parker CRC for Integrated Hydrometallurgy Solutions CRC for Polymers High Integrity Pork CRC
Poultry CRC CRC for Rail Innovation CRC for Remote Economic Participation
CRC for Sheep Industry Innovation Smart Services CRC CRC for Spatial Information
Vision CRC Wound Management Innovation CRC Young and Well 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.

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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