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Bright future for water ahead of CRC bid

Nov 1, 2016
Author: Goyder Institute


The formal bid for a Future Water Cooperative Research Centre (FWCRC) has been lodged with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Led by Murdoch University, the bid attracted support from 50 organisations including the International Centre of Excellence in Water Resources Management (ICE WaRM), 13 universities and 36 other industry partners from across Australia.

An expression of interest for a cooperative research centre opened in March this year and from 15 submissions, seven were shortlisted at the end of August and invited to submit a detailed business case.

The FWCRC intends to focus on water technology to better utilise Australia’s abundant impaired water resources for growth and economic development and has proposed three research programs: agribusiness, resource industry and regional and remote communities.

The research programs have been crafted to stimulate a positive economic impact for the industry partners and for Australia, and foster strong collaboration between industry and academia.

The bid team, co-ordinated by Murdoch University under the direction of Deputy Vice Chancellor Research Prof David Morrison, consists of the Chair-designate, Prof Don Bursill, and CEO-designate Neil Palmer.

Prof Bursill had a 12-year tenure as CEO of the former CRC for Water Quality and Treatment and was more recently Chief Scientist of South Australia.

Mr Palmer, currently a Principal Water Engineer with Tonkin Consulting, was formerly the CEO of the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia.

“There are seven shortlisted entities and only one dealing with water,” Mr Palmer said.  “The CRC Program is likely to fund three or four, so the chances of success are reasonable, especially with the level of industry support we have received.”

Following lodgement of the submission, an interview with the CRC Advisory Committee is scheduled for the end of November and it is expected the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon. Greg Hunt, will announce the successful CRCs in February 2017.