Industry Growth Centres Initiative
Background Information for Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Research Program Applicants

September 2018


The Australian Government wants to foster economic growth, community development and sustainable job creation through higher levels of collaboration, research commercialisation and innovation.

Domestic and international evidence shows that industry research collaboration is increasingly important in driving business and economic growth, and delivering impact from public investments in research.

This paper highlights Growth Centres’ identified Industry Knowledge Priorities – research and knowledge gaps in their sectors, which correspond with the Industrial Transformation Priorities of the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) Industrial Transformation Research Program (ITRP).

ARC ITRP applicants are encouraged to align their applications with the key themes, vision and/or Industry Knowledge Priorities of relevant Growth Centres, and to engage early and directly with relevant Growth Centres to leverage their sector expertise.

Industry Growth Centres and ARC ITRP Projects

Growth Centres

The Industry Growth Centres Initiative (the Initiative) is helping Australian firms to be more internationally competitive by enabling industry sectors to build capability and stronger industry systems through a collaborative, industry-led approach. There are six Growth Centres operating in sectors of competitive strength and strategic priority, including the:

  • Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC);
  • Cyber Security Growth Centre, known as AustCyber;
  • Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre, known as Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL);
  • Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals Growth Centre, known as MTPConnect;
  • Mining Equipment, Technology and Services Growth Centre, known as METS Ignited; and
  • Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Growth Centre, known as National Energy Resources Australia (NERA).

Growth Centres link capability and industry need through national networks, and highlight industries’ knowledge requirements to the research and education sectors as targets for collaboration efforts. This will help industry to better capitalise on Australia’s excellent research and development capabilities.

All six Growth Centres have published Sector Competitiveness Plans, a strategic vision that highlights opportunities and activities to boost productivity and drive cultural change in Growth Centres’ sectors.

Growth Centres role in facilitating ARC ITRP applications

Growth Centres have a role in leveraging, aligning and targeting collaborative research effort to address their sectors’ research and knowledge gaps. In addition to providing advice to the ARC Selection Advisory Committee, Growth Centres can also provide applicants with guidance prior to submission.

ARC ITRP applicants will note that the Industrial Transformation Priorities align directly with the Growth Centre sectors, and applicants are strongly encouraged to consider the key themes, vision and/or Industry Knowledge Priorities of relevant Growth Centres, and to engage early and directly with relevant Growth Centres to leverage their sector expertise.

At this early stage, the Growth Centres can provide advice and facilitate connections for ARC ITRP applicants. They can also provide applicants with advice on their application’s potential impacts for growth sectors and on pathways to commercialisation for research proposed in applications. For example, Growth Centres may be able to:

  • Help create linkages between potential participants, in particular between researchers and industry;
  • Help target a project’s scope to ensure it aligns with industry needs; and
  • Suggest where alternative funding options may be more suitable for a proposal. 

Growth Centre research and knowledge priorities

ARC ITRP applicants are encouraged to consult each Growth Centre’s Sector Competitiveness Plan for further details about industry needs within their sectors:

  1. Advanced Manufacturing, known as AMGC 
  2. Cyber Security, known as AustCyber
  3. Food and Agribusiness, known as FIAL
  4. Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals, known as MTP Connect
  5. METS, known as METS Ignited 
  6. Oil, Gas and Energy Resources, known as NERA

Each Growth Centre’s Sector Competitiveness Plan contains Industry Knowledge Priorities, a summary of knowledge and technology gaps in their sectors – addressing these gaps through collaborative research will underpin innovation and enhance productivity and competitiveness in each sector. 

These priorities were developed in close collaboration with the CSIRO Sector Roadmaps which similarly outline prospective technologies and opportunities integral to long term growth in each sector.

Common knowledge priorities across all Growth Centres include:

  • identifying emerging technologies and how they will impact markets;
  • developing strategies and systems associated with automation and digitization;
  • commercialisation pathways;
  • advanced materials; and
  • environmental impact and sustainability.

Sector-specific Priorities


Advanced Manufacturing


Cyber Security


Food and Agribusiness

  • Robotics and automated production
  • Sensors and data analysis
  • Augmented or virtual reality systems
  • Advanced materials and composites
  • Digital design and rapid prototyping
  • Sustainable and life cycle manufacturing
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Materials resilience and repair
  • Bio-manufacturing and biological integration
  • Nano, micro and precision manufacturing
  • Emerging cyber threat prevention, detection and response technologies.
  • New strategies and techniques for identity authentication and authorisation in the cyber domain
  • New approaches for shared responsibility of cyber security
  • Ensuring security, privacy, trust and ethical use of emerging technologies and services, including: cloud computing, cyber physical systems (Internet of Things – or connected products), machine learning, big data and data analytics, and mobile applications.
  • Use of Industry 4.0 for food manufacture applications, such as precision agriculture, robotic harvesting, food manufacture and processing and pest/environment monitoring.
  • Models for identify emerging global markets and value chains including the ability to trace and optimise supply chains
  • Novel ways of predicting consumer and market insights and linking these traits to production capability and capacity
  • Protection from climate change, pests and disease through enhanced systems that target food safety and productivity improvements
  • Protection from and management of biosecurity and food security risks
  • Genetics, novel technologies and processing techniques to produce highly differentiated, value added foods
  • Feeding the growing and ageing population with functional, nutritious and personalised foods

Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals

Mining Equipment, Technology and Services

Oil, Gas and Energy Resources

  • Devices, diagnostics and informatics products and services including bionics, smart devices, implants, point of care diagnostics, and wearable devices
  • Clinical specialty and therapy areas including geriatrics, infectious disease, precision medicine (including genomic analysis, patient stratification, etc), and immunology
  • Areas of science including antimicrobial resistance, biomedical engineering, and regenerative medicine
  • Accelerated pharmaceutical development
  • Medical imaging analysis and diagnostics
  • Advancing sensors, data analytics and data/ information systems including connectedness and human machine interfaces
  • Advanced automation and mining benefaction technologies e.g. selective mining, comminution, classification, reducing tailings/reject streams, in‑situ recovery, small scale robotics for continuous mining, bio‑leaching and nano‑technology
  • Building capable, innovative and collaborative export‑savvy businesses
  • Advanced explorations, mining and extracting technologies, including automated systems
  • Improved mining energy efficiency and remediation
  • Improved social sustainability and safety
  • Advancing knowledge and

understanding of modular solutions, standardisation and interchangeability

  • Enhance efficiency in operations and maintenance, including through data, automation and predictive analytics
  • Commercialise technology and research
  • Enhance skills and business capabilities to support automation and digitisation
  • Understand and unlock Australia’s resources base
  • Pursue a sustainable and low carbon energy future
  • Develop new markets and business models

How to engage with Growth Centres

You can network with the Growth Centres at the various conferences and industry events the Growth Centres display in the news and events sections of their websites.

Connect with the Growth Centres

Growth Centres can provide advice and facilitate connections for ITRP applicants. Applicants in the Growth Centre sectors are encouraged to connect with Growth Centres and discuss proposals early in the development process.

Growth Centre



Advanced Manufacturing known as Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMCG)

Cyber Security,
known as AustCyber

Food and Agribusiness
known as Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL)

Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals
known as MTPConnect

Mining Equipment, Technology and Services
known as METS Ignited

Oil, Gas and Energy Resources
known as National Energy Resources Australia (NERA)

Source: Department of Industry, Innovation and Science