24 December 2013

More than  $26 million has been released for seven new training centres and three new research hubs under the Industrial Transformation Research Programme (ITRP) administered by the Australian Research Council (ARC).

This is the  second round of the ITRP and the priority areas for this round were of a dual focus: food and manufacturing.

The ITRP is  designed to have strong industry linkages and in this second round industry is contributing more than $30.6 million cash and in-kind for these new training centres  and hubs.

An ARC Research Hub for Australian Steel Manufacturing is one of the three hubs to be funded in this round and will be based at the University of Wollongong (UoW). The Research Hub will develop breakthrough processes and product innovations to enable the Australian steel industry to improve its global competitiveness.

Associate Professor Brian Monaghan, from UoW, said in a statement issued by the University that the Hub will revitalise the steel industry both locally in the Illawarra and the nation as a  whole.

"The  Hub will address economic and environmental challenges in iron and steelmaking, positively impact on downstream partners and end users, securing the industry for future generations. Attracting significant industry investment of over  $5million, this collaboration with universities will help secure the long-term competitiveness of Australian steel manufacturing."

At  Charles Sturt University (CSU) an ARC Training Centre for Functional Grains is one of the seven Training Centres that will be established in this round. The Training Centre aims to improve the profitability of the Australian grains industry and will work with a range of industry partners, including other partners including: GrainGrowers; MSM Milling; Flavour Makers; and the Grains Research and  Development Corporation.

Training Centre Director and CSU Associate Professor in Food Science Chris Blanchard said, in a statement issued by the university that researchers want to improve the profitability of the Australian grains industry and transform the sector into a high value export  industry.

"Rice, pulses and canola account for $2.5 billion of earnings when sold as commodities, with even greater economic  potential for the Australian economy through value-adding."

The aims of the new Training Centre include: identifying the preferences of Australian and international grain customers; improving grain storage; developing new grain based products with enhanced sensory and health attributes: and training the next generation of food science researchers.

"We want to transform the three commodities by examining the functionality of food, particularly the growing demand for healthy food or food with novel applications," Associate Professor Blanchard said.

The ITRP offers a suite of funding schemes attractive to both university-based researchers and industries to fund research hubs and training centres; and support Higher Degree by Research students and postdoctoral researchers in gaining real-world practical skills and experience through placement in industry.

The Research Hubs encourage R&D projects that could help solve the big problems facing our industries today, while the Training Centres foster close partnerships between university-based researchers and industry to provide innovative training for young researchers vital to Australia's future industry.

For more information about these funding outcomes please visit the ARC website. A  full list of the Training Centres and Hubs funded is below.

ARC Industrial Transformation Research Programme

Industrial Transformation Research Hubs (for funding commencing in 2013)

Research Hub

Administering Organisation

ARC funding

ARC Research Hub for Transforming Australia's Manufacturing Industry through High Value Additive Manufacturing

Monash University


ARC Research Hub for BioProcessing Advanced Manufacturing

Monash University


ARC Research Hub for Australian Steel Manufacturing

University of Wollongong


Industrial Transformation Training Centres (for funding commencing in 2014)

Training Centre Title

Administering Organisation

ARC funding

ARC Training Centre for Transforming Australia's Naval Manufacturing Industry

University of Tasmania


ARC Training Centre for Food and Beverage Supply Chain Optimisation

The University of Newcastle


ARC Training Centre in Biodevices

Swinburne University of Technology


ARC Training Centre for the Australian Food Processing Industry in the 21st Century

The University of Sydney


ARC Training Centre for Portable Analytical Separation Technologies

University of Tasmania


ARC Training Centre for Innovative Horticultural Products

University of Tasmania


ARC Training Centre for Functional Grains

Charles Sturt University


Image: Foundry Industry - Fiery steel. Image courtesy: ©iStockphoto.com / Baoshan Zhang