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Commencement of $65 million Composites Research Program in Australia

  • Monday, 6th September 2010
  • Reading time: about 3 minutes

Last month marked the first official meeting of the new Board of Directors for the Cooperative Research Centre for Advanced Composite Structures (CRC-ACS), signalling the commencement of a five-year international research program based in Australia.

“This is an important milestone in the 19 year history of our organisation”, noted Prof. Murray Scott – CRC-ACS CEO.

This extension of the CRC-ACS is supported by AUD 14 million from the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centre Program, and over AUD 50 million in cash and in-kind support from 28 participating organisations. A major feature of the extension is the high level of international participation: nine of the 28 participants are located outside Australia.

The CRC-ACS Board is chaired by Dr Bill Schofield, AM, and consists of four other Directors, two of whom are independent: Mr Paul Barratt, AO, and Prof. Grant Steven. Also joining the Board is Mr Fabrice Rochereau, CEO of EADS Australia Pacific Pty Ltd, and Dr Colin Wong Hee Huing, Vice President of Technology and Engineering at PETRONAS, Malaysia’s national oil & gas company.

The CRC-ACS Extension Program is expected to:
• focus on international development of composites and related technology in Australia, using a highly successful collaborative research model
• facilitate the integration of Australian composites manufacturing, materials supply and engineering support enterprises into international value chains
• bring a range of new technologies to market, including breakthrough aircraft structure assembly technology, low-cost infrastructure repair, and sustainable plant-fibre biocomposites.

The 28 organisations that have joined CRC-ACS represent an array of research institutions, materials suppliers, engineering service organisations and end-users. Additional organisations will be invited to join the research program, so that all relevant organisations to industrial implementation can build the necessary skills within the program. This “value chain” approach, and consequent opportunities for Australian Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to join international business opportunities, was a major reason for support from the Australian Government.

Murray Scott is emphasising the importance of the increased international focus of the new CRC-ACS program. “The Centre has had great success in developing Australian technology and making Australia internationally competitive in the field. The success of collaborative programs such as CRC-ACS depends on the engagement of the technology users, and I am very pleased that we have the support of such important multinational organisations in the development of composites technologies. The extension of funding has taken CRC-ACS to an entirely new level of international engagement. We aim to make Australia a preferred destination for composites technology development over the next five years, through its combination of skilled personnel, leading technology and innovative approaches to development and implementation.”

By securing a fourth term of CRC Funding, CRC-ACS has again established its position as the longest continually-running Centre in the history of the CRC Program. Since its establishment in July 1991, CRC-ACS has delivered significant benefit to the Australian economy, including technology underpinning Australia’s AUD 4 billion engagement in the Boeing 787 program. Continuation of CRC-ACS will allow Australia to take a leading role in composites development, position Australian SMEs prominently amongst international industry, and lead the Australian Composites Industry into a strong and competitive future.

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