Celebrating 30 years of CRC success

June 05, 2020

It’s 30 years since the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program was established. During this period, it has boosted productivity, grown the economy and created jobs.

The Hon Karen Andrews, MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology reflects on 30 years of CRC success.

It’s 30 years since the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program was established. During this period, it has boosted productivity, grown the economy and created jobs.

It provides government grant funding to support industry-led collaborative research partnerships, with matching contributions from partners.

Since the program’s inception in 1990, the Government has committed more than

$4.8 billion to support the establishment of 225 CRCs, while industry and research partners have committed $14.9 billion in cash and in-kind contributions.

Since CRC Projects (CRC-P) was added to the program in 2015, 111 CRC-Ps have been established, providing opportunities for small and medium enterprises to participate in collaborative research.

The Australian Government has committed $755 million to the CRC Program in the forward estimates to 2022–2023.

The CRC Program also helps create a highly skilled workforce with research capability in industry. CRCs have supported more than 4000 PhD students since the program commenced, with a majority having found employment with industry or research end-users following graduation.

CRC success stories include:

  • The Sheep CRC, which launched in 2001 and operated until 2019. During this period the gross value of the Australian sheep industry increased from $5.6 billion to more than $8.5 billion.  
  • The Deep Exploration Technologies CRC developed the RoXplorer® coiled tubing drill rig, which is regarded as the biggest breakthrough in drilling technology in the past 50 years.
  • The HEARing CRC, which developed an innovation underpinning Cochlear medical devices that has improved the quality of life for millions of people.

Continuing CRC work includes: 

  • The Tasmania-based Blue Economy CRC, established in 2019, which is projected to increase the value of seafood production to $5 billion by 2050. It will allow for 50 postdoctoral fellowships and 50 PhDs to train scientists and engineers for the aquaculture, offshore renewable energy and engineering sectors.
  • The Future Battery Industries CRC, which is developing opportunities for specialist battery manufacturing in Australia and funding 40 PhD students to undertake an education and training program to build a workforce to support Australia’s future battery industries.

The CRC Program is a proven model for industry and research collaboration and has my strong, ongoing support. I wish all involved every success in the future.

– The Hon Karen Andrews, MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology

Fast facts:

  • 5: The number of Excellence in Innovation awards presented in 2019 for outstanding examples of the transfer of CRC research results, knowledge and technologies that have been developed for communities, companies and government agencies.
  • 30 years: The CRC Program’s age. It was officially launched by the Australian Government in 1990. In three decades, 225 CRCs have been funded, fostering research in fields addressing major challenges facing Australia.
  • $1.1 billion: The money funded by the Australian Government since 2013 to CRC Project grants dedicated to fostering new technologies.
  • 4: New CRCs started in June 2019: Blue Economy CRC, SmartSat CRC, Future Food Systems CRC and Future Battery Industries CRC.
  • 56: The number of organisations working in collaboration with the Autism CRC at the end of the 2018-2019 reporting period.
  • $600 million:  The independently valued benefit of research and adoption activities, over 15 years, conducted by the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities in 2019, at a benefit-cost ratio of 1:6.

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