Register now for Educator's Forum
The CRC Association hosts forums for a number of Member's interest groups. The next forum is for Educators and will be held in Canberra 12-13 September. Registration is available here.
The Educator's Forum will be an excellent opportunity to discuss the rapidly changing landscape for PhD supervision and study. Sessions on completing PhDs and value adding to doctoral degrees will be held. Skills training will also be on the agenda, including a special discussion on online training developments.
GE launches low carbon challenge
If you have an idea for a low carbon product or service, GE wants to know about it. This morning in Sydney, GE challenged businesses, academics, entrepreneurs and backyard inventors to come up with ideas to reduce our carbon footprint.
And they are throwing serious money on the table - a $10 million capital pledge. GE has teamed up with venture capital firms in Australia and New Zealand, including Cleantech Ventures, CVC Limited, Greenhouse Cleantech, MH Carnegie & Co and Southern Cross Venture Partners to help back the most promising ideas. Imagine having the backing of GE to take your idea to market!
This open innovation challenge closes in three months time and initial investments will be made early in 2013. So if you or your team want to make a serious difference to lowering carbon, it's time to show the world what you can do.
Go to GE's ecomagination Challenge: Low Carbon Solutions for details.
Editor's note: I was delighted to help GE launch the challenge in Sydney this morning. $10 million is about equivalent to the 1887 prize offered by Henry Parke's NSW Government to solve the biggest environmental problem of that age - rabbits.
Fifteen hundred entries were attracted from around the world including from the greatest scientist of the day, Louis Pasteur, who sent his nephew to Sydney to fix Australia's rabbit plague with fowl cholera. That didn't pan out - although it probably contributed to thinking on biocontrol of rabbits which was successful 63 years later . But it helped establish agricultural vaccines in Australia and Pasteur's nephew showed Victorian Breweries how to culture yeast to Pasteur's Carslberg method, which is still used in the production of VB today. You never know exactly where the road to innovation will take you!
(see Pasteur's Gambit by Stephen Dando-Collins,
Random House 2008)
International Research, Defence & National Interest: Getting the Balance Right
(from FAL Lawyers)
Defence Trade Controls Bill 2011 - Further consultation recommended
The university and research sectors can breathe an interim sigh of relief as further stakeholder consultation on the Defence Trade Controls Bill 2011 (Cth) ("Bill") is the key recommendation of a preliminary report presented to the Senate on 15 August 2012 ("Report") by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee ("Committee").
This gives rise to an opportunity for further participation in the development of strengthened export controls by interest parties, with a view to the Committee submitting its final report on revised legislation on 31 October 2012.
What the Bill does
The Bill (and its companion legislation, Customs Amendment (Military End-Use) Bill 2011):
- introduces controls over the export of intangible defence and strategic goods ‘technology’ and ‘services’;
- gives effect to a treaty with the US Government under which Australian and US members of an ‘Approved Community’ may trade in certain defence goods without requiring a separate licence for each trade;
- creates a registration and permit regime for brokering defence and strategic goods; and
- introduces a catch-all control over export of otherwise-unregulated goods which are destined for ‘military end-use’.
The Report acknowledges that complying with controls over the transfer of intangible technology and services to foreign nationals or out of Australia has the potential to significantly impact on the conduct of both international business and research.
The Committee is critical of the timing and breadth of consultation undertaken by the Department of Defence (“Defence”), particularly in relation to engagement with the university and research sector, and concludes that ‘more groundwork is needed to refine the proposed legislation’. Recommendations include the establishment of a roundtable and advisory panel of stakeholders to facilitate the design and implementation of the legislation, involving the Chief Scientist of Australia, Universities Australia and others.
Submissions received by the Committee from the university and research sector identify the value to Australia from international engagement in the course of research in fields that touch upon defence and strategic goods. The CRC Association submitted that the Bill, in its current form, makes it ‘difficult for Australia to operate at the forefront of these fields of national interest’. Concerns raised focus on the need to exempt exports occurring in the course of scientific research, the redundant regulation of ‘services’ (covered by controlling the supply of intangible ‘technology’), and the application of definitions, including the need to define the scope of ‘scientific research’ to encompass ‘applied’ as well as ‘basic’ research.
Revision of the Bill
Defence has proposed four options for revision of the legislation, with research sector stakeholders favouring an option under which public domain technology and most scientific research are exempted from the operation of controls upfront, while Defence favours an option under which supply is permitted to foreign persons within Australia (relying on border controls), but tighter controls are exercised over technology leaving Australia. Universities Australia contends that ‘the sheer volume of international collaborative activity in the digital age’ would see this option constraining ‘low risk research of high public value, with few obvious benefits to national security’.
The Bill is intended to safeguard national security and meet Australia’s obligations under various international treaties, including by remedying the current inconsistency of regulating defence and strategic goods exports, but not the export of related intangible technologies. However, stakeholders from the university and research sector will be seeking to balance these goals with the need to ensure Australia does not become an unattractive destination for research collaboration, leading to a loss of globally competitive research outcomes.
If you have any queries please contact Jenni Lightowlers or Anne Donaldson from FAL Lawyers.