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Cooperative Research News
9 April 2013
CRCs are involved in research across many industries in Australia

Crunch Time

by Tony Peacock, CEO, CRCA

Where is the time going to?

In just nine weeks time, bidders will submit their applications for funding in the 16th Funding Round for Cooperative Research Centres. It is set to be one of the bigger funding rounds of recent years, with the Government announcing the availability of $240 million, of which at least $50 million will be allocated to manufacturing CRCs.

Like all competitive races, the field is starting to jostle for position.

We are on about the equivalent of the last corner ahead of the sprint to the finish. At least one bid has decided not to push for that final sprint but to save their energy for the 17th funding round. One scratched at the barrier when they decided the discussion about getting a CRC up was enough to make clear what needed to be done in the sector - and they decided to go elsewhere. Others are considering their final run and haven't quite decided whether to go hard with the whip or pull back to await a better opportunity. There is at least one match race going on in the field where the jockeys can't decide yet whether they should keep racing or agree to work together (you're allowed to do that for CRCs, they are cooperative after all. The author isn't implying jockeys would ever work together, it's just that he has got himself too deep into this metaphor to back off now).

Finally, there are a few sprinters wondering if they should join the race late in the day. After all, who says endurance bids are the only ones that are successful? In the past couple of rounds fairly late runners have gotten over the line.

With the deadline fast approaching, most bids would be well into their term sheets and starting to hone their list of potential participants. Participants are getting asked to move from dating mode to commitment mode, and we know how hard that is for some. A common problem right now is finding the best mode for participation of small to medium enterprises (and usually there is no "right" answer because it varies for each industry). Another common problem is securing the obvious big players if they aren't already in the bid. This might be the Commonwealth Department in the line area for a bid, or it might be the outstanding company in the sector.

Serious discussions will be happening on intellectual property. Do we opt for project or program based IP or share it all or have the CRC company own it?

The neglected points I think tend to emerge from now until the bid is submitted (and unfortunately sometimes after the bid is submitted) are the education activities and the true focus of the CRC. Sometimes, the challenge or problem itself remains the number one factor and the effort to date has been rallying the potential participants around that challenge. The actual detail of what the CRC will do has been sidelined for the moment. Well now is the time to get serious about that focus. "What are the critical, researchable issues that will be addressed that will make the biggest possible impact to the sector?" The bids that are able to clearly identify and articulate those factors, and address them, will most likely emerge as the winners when the announcement is made late this year. Similarly for the education activities in my view. I think they stand out as a litmus test for a CRC bid. If the bidders have really identified the critical educational issues that need addressing, then that often seems to correlate to a well thought out and well-structured bid.

It isn't enough to have an important issue. It isn't even enough to have the right players. If that was the case, the United Nations would work a lot better than it does. You also have to develop the right approach to the problem and focus on the critical points where innovation will make a difference. Innovation isn't a panacea that can work against major shifts in the economy, society or the environment. You have to get specific. And that can't be done in the final fortnight. It's crunch time now.

It's also crunch time to register for Collaborate | Innovate | 2013. The full program is now online and you really should get there if you can. I have heard people say our conference is too close to the CRC submission deadline to be able to attend. To use a final metaphor in this crowded space, that's like saying you are too busy preparing for the Sydney to Hobart to attend the final weather briefing. Good luck.


Super Seafood – what’s in Australian seafood?

The Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre (Seafood CRC) recently released a major report providing a comprehensive nutritional analysis of the key 20 Australian seafood species that Australians love to eat. The research was undertaken by Dr David Padula at the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) based in Adelaide.

Seafood CRC Managing Director, Dr Len Stephens, said the research report filled an important gap in our knowledge of commercial Australian seafood species. “The Seafood CRC funded this work with the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation because there was a scarcity of reliable nutritional data for key Australian seafood species,” he said.

The Super Seafood brochure and associated kit developed by the Seafood CRC can be used by businesses to develop key nutrient messages in their marketing, labelling and packaging .

Check out the Super Seafood superheroes in the Consumer Booklet.
Dr Cath McLeod

Dr Cath McLeod from the South Australian Research and Development Institute talks through the Super Seafood results with John Leonardis, Store Manager of Angelakis Bros.

CIEAM collaborates in information gateway for Delta Electricity

A new software application being piloted at Delta Electricity's Wallerawang Power Station will allow maintenance engineers to make faster, better decisions to reduce the frequency and duration of plant outages.

The Delta Electricity Information Gateway will be available on mobile devices and desktop computers, making Delta engineers significantly more productive. The project is a collaboration between the Cooperative Research Centre for Infrastructure and Engineering Asset Management (CIEAM), the University of South Australia, Queensland University of Technology and enterprise asset management software provider Mainpac. Delta Electricity is sponsoring the pilot, which commenced in March 2013.

"We anticipate that the reduced severity and duration of plant outages will allow us to improve electricity supply" said Steve Saladine, General Manager Production at Delta Electricity. "We will be able to increase worker safety by providing staff with relevant information in real time via their smart phones and tablets."

Read the full story

Thanks for the advice

The CRC Association would like to publically acknowledge its thanks to Rebecca Scouller, who served as Science Adviser to both Minister Chris Evans and Minister Chris Bowen in their tenure in the Science Portfolio. Rebecca facilitated exceptionally good levels of contact with the respective Minister's offices. We have truly appreciated her professionalism and depth of knowledge. In carrying out her role, Rebecca was very respectful of the Association's role, as well as that of the public service and the CRC Committee. She has taken forward the public good funding stream within the CRC Program and has been a real builder of constructive discussion.

Everyone acknowledges that Ministerial Adviser jobs are plain hard work and ridiculously busy. Despite her schedule, we have found Rebecca to have been a deep thinker about how the CRC Program can have the best possible outcomes for Australia. We wish her all the best on her return to the Department of Defence and would welcome the opportunity to work with this very talented lady in the future.

Using the Impact Tool - suggestions from RMDSTEM Limited

The Impact Tool is a challenge for CRCs, and requires substantial work before it can be filled out.  CRCs need to identify value chains, develop a model for each project, collect industry data and other ‘evidence’, and make a number of assumptions.  Project leaders and CRC managers should drive the process, as they will need to fully understand their models and assumptions and be able to argue validity.  Three important things to know are:

  • Allow enough time to capture and estimate downstream costs (applications engineering & design, commercialisation, implementation) as these are often underestimated
  • Check the logic in the following areas:
    • how much of the total benefit is attributable to the R&D projects?
    • what benefits do you assume for a base line or BAU scenario?  Is someone else likely to develop similar technology, and generate a benefit even without the CRC?
    • how much benefit can be claimed when two or more projects have overlapping impacts?
  • When you calculate benefit cost ratios, make sure you are clear about ‘who benefits’ and ‘who pays’, and think about whether this is reasonable.

John Thomson, RMDSTEM Limited.

More information about Technology Consulting and RMDSTEM

Switch attention to listen

Some children who have trouble learning in the classroom have difficulty switching their listening attention and so have trouble following a conversation from one talker to the next, according to a University of Sydney study published online in Nature Scientific Reports.

The PhD study led by Imran Dhamani and Johahn Leung was a collaboration between the University's Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory and Macquarie University's Audiology Section, funded by the HEARing Cooperative Research Centre. Imran was a CRCA Early Career Researcher finalist in 2012.

A deficit in the ability to switch attention across multiple talkers now provides the basis for this otherwise hidden listening disability, especially in noisy environments involving multiple talkers, such as classrooms.

Read the University of Sydney press release

Read the study

Free SPIN trial this month

InfoEd Global’s SPIN offers 40,000+ opportunities from 11,000+ sponsors, providing a single solution for Researchers and Principal Investigators who desire to spend less time searching, but still yearn for ideally suited and perfectly matched funding opportunities. The system has an intuitive, easy-to-use web interface which utilises powerful data mining capabilities and time-saving features to provide fast and comprehensive search results.

In celebration of InfoEd Global’s support of Collaborate | Innovate | 2013, a CRC member trial of SPIN is planned. Representation is sought from all CRC member sectors to use and evaluate SPIN during the month of April. Please register your interest in participating in the trial to Damian Davini – InfoEd Global Regional Manager Asia-Pacific.

About InfoEd Global

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

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
  • Soil Security
  • Murray–Darling
  • Big Data
  • Several manufacturing approaches
  • Healthy Ageing
  • eFIT
  • Simulation
  • 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.


1 May 2013

Seafood Marketing CRAM conference

6-7 June 2013

The BIG Science Communication Summit - pathways to Inspiring Australia
A 2-day hands-on Summit to map out the next challenges for Science communication in Australia and to collaboratively address best practice solutions. An Inspring Australia, TechNyou and Science Rewired event.

6-10 August 2013

Abstract submissions now open
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

Piper Alderman

Queensland University of Technology


University of South Australia

Innovativity programs

9-10 April 2013
30 April- 2 May 2013
28-30 May


Innovativity provides a real-world three-day Program to help Australian organisations profit through innovation


Members of the Cooperative Research Centres Association

CRC for Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Health
AutoCRC CRC for Advanced
Composite Structures
Advanced Manufacturing CRC Australian Seafood CRC CRC for Low Carbon Living
Antarctic Climate &
Ecosystems (ACE) CRC
Deep Exploration
Technologies CRC
CRC for Biomarker
Bushfire CRC Cancer Therapeutics CRC Capital Markets CRC
Smart Services CRC CO2CRC CRCMining
Future Farm
Industries 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
The HEARing CRC CRC for Mental Health Invasive Animals CRC
Biosecurity CRC
CRC for Optimising
Resource Extraction
Young and Well CRC
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  
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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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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