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Cooperative Research News 21 August 2012
vaccine 3

"High Distinction" for CRC Program

Allen Consulting Group Impact Study shows massive benefit to country

The CRC Program has once again shown its benefit to Australia. Chris Evans, the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research described the Allen Consulting Group Impact Study of the Program as a "high distinction" when launching the report at a science week function in Parliament last week.

Chairman of the CRC Association, Tony Staley AO, said that the Allen's study was a benchmark in studying the impact of research. "This is the third study in a series showing the increasing effectiveness of the CRC Program" said Mr Staley.

"The CRC Association initiated the first study back in 2004. We went directly to the head of Treasury and asked what methodology we should use".

Allen Consulting Group gathered information on impacts from Cooperative Research Centres and used Monash University's model of the Australian economy to determine the overall economic impact. For every dollar spent by the Government, $3.10 more has been delivered to the Australian economy than if the money had been left with taxpayers. The study shows an ongoing impact of 0.03 per cent growth in GDP from the CRC Program, which represents less than 2 per cent of the Australian Government's spending on innovation programs.

Social and environmental benefits are also documented in the report. The highly competitive nature of CRC funding and the longer-term nature of the Program are noted as contributors to the big impact. 

crc event (2)

Minister Chris Evans, middle, with Tony Staley AO at the Parliamentary event to launch the Allen's Impact Study. Chairman of the CRC Committee, Neville Stevens AO is at the lectern.

Find the full report here.



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!

Tony Peacock
(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’.

Concerns Raised

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.

Reserve these dates

The next CRCA Conference will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre 15, 16 and 17 May 2013.

As one Research Fellow put it:

The insight gained from the conference into how industry and academia can successfully interact is second to none.  Add to that the networking opportunities, and you’ve got yourself one of the most valuable conferences for research leaders in Australia.

Sponsorship enquiries can be directed to Justin Holsinger at EventCorp.

Job available in QUT CRC Unit

Go to this Senior Project Officer role.

Upcoming Events for Members

12/13 September

CRCA Education Forum (includes online education for the skills sector discussion).

17/18 October

CRCA Business Forum (including update on not for profit tax arrangements)

14/15 November

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


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.

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




13-14 September 

Camera Trapping Colloquium in Wildlife Management and Research

19-21 September
Gold Coast

Australasian Research Management Society Conference  Register here.

23-28 September

28th Congress of the International Council of Aeronautical Sciences.

9-10 October 

The Scramble for Natural Resources:
More food, less land?

The 2012 Crawford Fund 2012 development conference.


Shortlisting of Applicants

"About the same timetable as last year" is the response from CRC Program General Manger, Anthony Murfett, when asked about the forthcoming shortlist.

Last year, the shortlist came out in the last week of August.

CRCA observes that the scramble by applicants tends to come immediately after shortlisting, when "example projects" are required. Many applicants prepare them on the assumption they'll be shortlisted.

Correction: In the last CRCA News, we speculated that few existing CRCs would bid in 2013, with a raft of contracts ending in 2014. That was incorrect. A round of contracts ends in 2013, so perhaps up to a dozen existing CRCs may bid. This error was due to Editor's myopia.


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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