Tony Peacock, CRCA CEO

The Pipeline – who’s bidding for a CRC?

Many syndicates are scoping bids for the 19th CRC Selection Round. The Government has published the timetable for the Round, which will open in May 2017 with selection processes running through 2017 and funding to commence 1 July 2018. Some people might think that it is a little early to be starting but the reality is that quality collaborations take time to develop. A Cooperative Research Centre will very often amount to a $200 million plus enterprise over its lifetime, so there is probably no such thing as starting too early. Participants have to commit serious investment into a CRC, and approval will generally come from a high level.

Leading up to submissions in mid-2017, CRCA News will publish a series of articles to highlight developing and potential bids and potential participants. Some bidders like to remain silent prior to lodging their bid. That’s fine, it is an intensively competitive process and bidders should play it as best suits them. Others like to let everyone know about their interest in bidding so they can maximise the level of interest and attract additional collaborators. If that’s you, feel free to let the CRC Association know about your bid (email [email protected] to include material in future editions of CRCA News). You don’t have to be leading a bid to let us know of your interests – if you are an industry group with a research need, a company wanting to get involved or a research group with particular capability – let us know. CRCA News goes to over 10,000 people every fortnight, many of whom are the best networked in their sector.
Where do we look for potential CRC bids?
There are some obvious sources:

  • The Sector Competitiveness Plans of the Industry Growth Centres
    Each of the six Industry Growth Centres have published (or are close to publishing) a 10-year strategy to improve the competitiveness of their particular sector. That’s a massive head-start when identifying how to have the biggest impact through research.
  • Existing CRCs and unsuccessful Round 17 and Round 18 bids
    Although existing CRCs are not eligible to bid for additional terms for their CRC, a subset of their participants will often identify new important areas to research or follow up. Given these participants have jointly invested in a CRC in the past, they may well form the core of a new bid. Bids that were unsuccessful in Round 18 may try again.  It has often been the case that CRC bids are successful on their second or even third attempt. Indeed, at the recent close of the Dairy Futures CRC, the Chairman Dr Mike Ginnivan, described the initial rejection of their bid as a valuable “gift” from Government, as it made the industry look to more transformational work at their second attempt (Dr Ginnivan acknowledged that it didn’t feel like a gift at the time).
  • Priorities from Government.
    In discussing CRCs with the CRC Association Board, Minister Greg Hunt has indicated that he is keen to see some CRCs developed from Government priorities. The Government is in a good position to identify gaps or opportunities in the Australian Innovation system that could potentially be addressed via a CRC. These might be identified at the level of the Commonwealth Science Council or Innovation and Science Australia Board, or Government itself. The Association’s Board pointed out to the Minister that early notification and full involvement of the CRC Advisory Committee are the best ways to get the best response to Government priorities.

In future editions of CRCA News, we will provide more detail and links to potential bids. For now, the CRC Association is aware of discussions on bids in a number of areas including:

  • Chronic Disease;
  • Under Sea CRC;
  • Food Wastage;
  • Advanced Medical Biotechnology; and
  • Several proposals heavy in data analytics for various sectors.

We won’t try and track CRC-P proposals in CRCA News, as these will be in the hundreds. Nevertheless, you are welcome to let us know about your bidding intentions and we will help with our networking connections if possible.