It’s down to the wire in the 18th Selection Round for Cooperative Research Centres. Fifteen groups bid earlier this year and seven of the fourteen compliant bids will be interviewed next week.
The shortlisted candidates are:
- Future Water CRC
- CRC for Honey Bee Products
- Innovation for Mental Wealth CRC
- Cyber Security CRC
- iMove CRC
- Food Agility CRC
- CRC for High Performance Soils
In effect, the CRC bids are not only competing against each other but against the 2nd Round of CRC-Projects. Sixty-two CRC-P bids were recently lodged. The CRC-Project programme was developed following the Miles Review and has attracted a lot of attention. No separate budget allocation is made, with CRCs and CRC-Ps being funded within the same total funding envelope.
The final step of the selection process is an interview with the CRC Advisory Committee. The Committee may choose to include additional expertise in the specific area addressed by a CRC. One-hour interviews will be held with each bid, with bidders allowed the first 15 minutes to present their bid. Bidders are allowed eight representatives in the room.
“There is not a separate scoring mechanism for the written application and the interview. Blow the interview and you blow the bid,” says Tony Peacock from the CRC Association, adding “no pressure”.
“I think trust and teamwork are significant factors in the interview. It’s hard to judge how people will collaborate through the written bid. The interview is the best place to decide if this is really a team or not.”
Following the interviews, the CRC Advisory Committee will provide advice to Minister Greg Hunt. The Advisory Committee now falls under Innovation and Science Australia (ISA) and the degree of input from the ISA Board is not yet known.
Announcement of the winning bids will be made late in 2016 or early 2017. Dr Peacock says he expects “one to four bids” to be successful in gaining funding. The CRC Association wishes all bids the best of luck.