Australia spends $5.95 million on R&D with China


Canberra earmarks $5.95 million for six new educational research centres. Move to strengthen science and innovation links between industry, government and education.

The Australian government is building its alliances with China under an ambitious $5.95 million funding package that fast-tracks innovation, research and commercialisation with leading educational institutions.

The Australia-China alliance, announced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during his visit to China, also sees a boost in funding for educational institutions. The R&D between the two countries incorporates marine science, food and agribusiness, mining equipment technology and the services sectors.

The Commonwealth’s Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne said the six new Joint Research Centres are being funded for three years. This funding comes under the Australia-China Science and Research Fund. The latest grant totals $5.95 million and supports the Australian government’s high-profile $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda.  “This will help Australian research institutions build links with China – a growing science power and important collaborative partner for Australia in science and research,” Pyne said.

He said the China alliance helps build Australia’s research capacity, while forging strategic alliances across the region. This also increases commercialisation and the application of research outcomes. The goal is to nurture innovation and international competitiveness.

The new Joint Research Centres grant winners are:
•Monash University and Soochow University researching dairy industry manufacturing process efficiencies and new high-value products.
•University of Adelaide and the Shanghai Jiao Tong University developing new cereal grains with long term health benefits.
•University of Melbourne and Chinese Agricultural University investigating healthy soils for sustainable food production.
•Swinburne University of Technology and First Institute of Oceanography of the State Oceanic Administrations developing a new generation of models to forecast and describe ocean and wave climatology.
•Australian Institute of Marine Science and Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Science exploring the translation of data into management solutions for coastal pollution and ecosystem safety.
•University of South Australia and Central South University developing in-line chemical and mineral sensing for sustainable mineral processing.

The Joint Research Centres will also receive co-investment from the Chinese government through the partnering Chinese institution.

In other news, Minister Pyne has announced the first grants under the Global Connections Fund, at the APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE) awards ceremony. The Global Connections Fund provides grants to help researchers and businesses collaborate in the global arena. This is through links with international counterparts.

Pyne said the fund will bridge communications between Australian SMEs and international researchers. “This builds international industry-researcher engagement, and offers access to world-class expertise, infrastructure and the global market,” he said. More information about the Global Connections Fund is available at this dedicated site.