Curtin University will partner with the University of Queensland, James Cook University, and 33 company partners across Australia involved in value chains requiring lithium, nickel, cobalt, vanadium and hydrogen resources, to develop a trailblazer research hub.
Curtin has been named the first of Australia’s Trailblazer universities to receive a share of more than $242 million in federal government funding, to develop the Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Trailblazer hub to turn research outputs into breakthrough services, products and businesses.
This initiative complements the recent government announcements in direct support of critical minerals companies and the release of the new Federal Government Critical Minerals Strategy.
“This investment will turbocharge Australia’s critical minerals industry and backs in the state’s status as an economic powerhouse for the whole country,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
The Curtin-led hub will match $50 million of government funding to more than equivalent support from the university and industry partners for a total value of the initiative of over $200 million.
Curtin Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Professor Chris Moran said the Trailblazer will catapult the partner universities into commercialisation success by first carefully listening to industry demand and then delivering the right research outputs and digital edge.
“The mission of the collaboration is to conduct and translate the research needed to link the value chains so desperately needed if Australia is to become a genuine international leader in efficient production of critical minerals, precursors and ultimately, metals,” Moran said.
“In doing so, Trailblazer will add significant value, resilience, and sovereign capability throughout Australia’s critical minerals and hydrogen energy value chains.
“It will deliver the skills and the future workforce required to realise the potential benefits from our resources.
“The Trailblazer will be a key gateway for industry- opening up access for industry to the wealth of expertise inside universities to ultimately support the start-up and growth of Australian businesses.”
Curtin University vice-chancellor Harlene Hayne said the Curtin-led Trailblazer will drive the cultural shift needed to facilitate the pathway from resources technology research to commercial outcomes and to opportunities for university staff and students to start and succeed in their own businesses.
“It is an incredible achievement for Curtin to be the first of what will only be a handful of Australian universities, and the only one in Western Australia, to be named a Trailblazer and I congratulate all those who delivered the successful proposal,” Hayne said.
“This project speaks to everything Curtin is as a university- innovative, highly collaborative, industry-facing, impactful and community-minded; and we are proud to be able to lead this exciting partnership into the future.
“Together with the University of Queensland and James Cook University, we will use Trailblazer to affect deep and lasting change in the way technology readiness, commercialisation and industry-led research are prioritised, taught and rewarded in our universities.”