Australia to build $100m fibres research centre

The Australian Future Fibres Research and Innovation Centre (AFFRIC) at Deakin University will transform Australia's manufacturing and fibre related industries and the economy of the Geelong region.

The AFFRIC is a collaboration between the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia's national science agency, Deakin University, and the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing.

Currently under construction, the new research centre is set to position the region as an international hub for research in advanced fibrous materials, and is estimated to cost AU $100 million.

Minister for Science and Research, Chris Evans said "the centre will see CSIRO and Deakin University researchers working together on a series of projects aimed at increasing the research capacity of both organisations to service the textile and fibre industry.”

The new centre will have a world-first, pilot scale research plant able to produce commercial quantities of carbon fibre which is at the core of a number of advanced materials used in aeronautical and other engineering applications, reports 4-traders.

The Geelong region in southern Australia will also benefit from the project.

"Already 14 researchers ranging from PhD students through to professor level have been recruited and, when completed, the centre will support another 300 students and staff," Evans stated.

Federal Member for Corangamite, Darren Cheeseman said "Geelong is a centre of manufacturing – having CSIRO, Deakin University and local manufacturers working together will help generate growth and jobs for our region."

The local Geelong economy is also likely to benefit as AFFRIC is expected to generate almost 500 indirect jobs in the region during the construction phase.

The AFFRIC will bring together expertise from around Australia in an international-standard hub and will allow Australian researchers to establish collaborations with researchers across the world.

The Gillard Government has invested $37 million in the centre for building two new facilities-a carbon fibre research building and a fibre processing building.