The latest round of Cooperative Research Centre funding has been announced two months later than anticipated, with a new CRC for rail and the Advanced Manufacturing and Manufacturing Industry Innovation CRCs told to combine and resubmit their proposals.
Announced on Friday, funding for Round 16 of the CRC Program saw three new CRCs successful, four gaining extended funding and 10 proposals – including the AMCRC and MIICRC – unsuccessful.
The Rail Manufacturing CRC was awarded $31 million to “develop products, technologies and supply chain networks to increase the capability and globally competitive position of the rail industry.”
“Strong competition for funding results in high quality projects being supported and I am sure these CRCs will continue to deliver major benefits to Australia,” said industry minister Ian Macfarlane, who advised the two unsuccessful manufacturing CRCs to combine their bids.
“These applications displayed merit and are proposing to address issues of national importance,” said Macfarlane.
“As such I have asked these CRCs to submit a combined proposal for my consideration.”
Kim Carr took to Twitter following the news, questioning the timing of this.
The funding announcement was tipped for December, though the delay was not publicly treated with suspicion by those involved.
“The announcement is always scheduled for December but has floated into January and even February on occasion,” said the CRC Association in its newsletter.
Professor Roy Green, dean of business at UTS, said the resubmitting of MIICRC and AMCRC bids was fair, citing the scarce funding available and needing to stretch this as far as possible.
“One would have to be confident the rebid will get up; after all the government must want to do something that is significant and reasonable in the manufacturing space given all that has happened in the car manufacturing in recent months,” he told The Australian.
The CRC program was established in 1991 and has been granted combined support by both sides of politics worth $3.7 billion in total. Its stated goal is to support, “medium to long-term end user driven researchcollaborations to address major challenges facing Australia”.
To read more about the results of the latest round of the CRC, click here.