STATEMENT: Government’s CRC-Projects Round 10 Announcement

August 28 2020

The Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), as instigators of the Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) program, share the serious concern expressed by ATSE Fellow Dr Tony Peacock regarding the Australian Government’s decision to limit the scope of Round 10 of the CRC-P Grants.

ATSE encourages the Government to address these concerns by fast-tracking the third CRC-P funding round for this year (Round 11), with the previously flagged amount of $20m, and ensuring the funding allocation is as broad and open as in previous rounds.

The program plays a critical role in growing commercially focused translation of research, and fostering collaborative entrepreneurial enterprise between small to medium businesses and Australian public research.

Projects empowered through this program are driven by Australian businesses and produce tangible and often immediate economic benefit by growing new industries and creating jobs.

Previously funded projects through the CRC-P have improved the Australian production of influenza vaccines, transformed hazardous solar panel waste into value-added consumer materials, and a commercially viable sensor network for integrated Space Traffic Management for Australia – among many others.

While ATSE applauds continuing investment in research and development in waste and recycling, we also recognise this is not the only national priority. In the past, priority areas of research for the CRC-P have attracted additional Government investment rather than curtailed opportunities for the broader remit of the program.

The Government’s own position is to increase encouragement and opportunity to grow industry-led research and development collaboration, as outlined in the current job-ready graduates package and the $900 million national priorities and industry linkage fund. ATSE supports the Government in this objective.

Business investment in research and development in Australia is declining, and if not corrected, will likely have a long-term detrimental impact on Australia’s ability to recover from the current COVID-19 pandemic and build our resilience in the face of future crises.

An immediate further and broad-ranging round of funding for the CRC-P would do much to rehabilitate this crucial component of a resilient and growth-enabled economy.

Professor Hugh Bradlow
President, Academy of Technology and Engineering