If the scrapping of the nation's first carbon price mechanism sent a message that the new industry is in for a difficult ride, the recent Warburton Review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) confirmed that the political wind coming from Canberra has changed direction.
Here we provide a broader update on recent developments in the sector, including a summary of the Warburton Review...read full story (a
In July, the NHMRC took another step towards addressing this with the launch of the Advanced Health Research and Translational Centre program....read full story
It is unique in Australia in that it provides for the engineering of space equipment right from the design stage through to the launch-pad ready stage....read full story
The Green Paper is part of a process towards a broader policy framework for the region's ongoing economic development, which the Government plans to detail in a White Paper within the next 12 months. To this end, it has also formed a National Strategic Partnership with the governments of Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory....read full story
Demand for design rights grew by 7%, plant breeder's rights by 9%, while trade mark filings remained fairly steady....read full story
The funding is provided under the ARC administered Industrial Transformation Research Program scheme, a legacy programme of the former Gillard Government and established as a component of the ARC Linkage Program. The programme also includes the Industrial Transformation Training Centres scheme, for which, however, so far no funding round has been advertised for 2014....read full story
The Advanced Solar Steam Receiver Project achieved a steam pressure of 23.5 megapascals at temperatures of up to 570 degrees Celcius using the two solar thermal test plants at the CSIRO Energy Centre in Newcastle.
The ultimate goal of this research is the cost competitive production of baseload electricity through solar power....read full story
Yet, it is a very worthwhile effort to pursue, according to a review of the project commissioned by the Australian Government in 2013....read full story
However, This is assuming that there is no significant change in the way healthcare is administered.
The expectation is that the emerging health information technologies (HIT), such as personal e-health records, will significantly reduce the incidence of human errors and increase efficiency in the administration of healthcare.
But this hope is not uniformly shared, with scepticism especially entrenched among health professionals....read full story
But the Australian Government is continuing to "restore investor confidence in Australia's economic workhorse" with the release of its interim response to the 22 recommendations of the Productivity Commission's (PC) Inquiry Report into Mineral and Energy Resource Exploration....read full story
As can be explored in more detail in our infographic, all but one of the awarded permits are located in the Carnarvon, Browse and Bonaparte Basins offshore from Western Australia (including one within the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands). The one exception, a permit located offshore Victoria in the Otway Basin, was awarded to Origin Energy Resources.
But as a report released by the CSIRO in May highlights, the challenge is emerging across all sectors of society as we increasingly rely on digital services, including public services such as patient health records and taxation data....read full story
But because of practical limits, the radiofrequency spectrum is a limited resource. Consequently, there is the possibility that we are heading toward a 'spectrum crunch', and to overcome this challenge we will require new technologies and expanded infrastructure.
This is according to a new CSIRO report which canvasses a 'wireless' future where new digital services will have a pervasive impact on almost every aspect of our life. And the agency promotes its own Ngara technology platform as a tool to help prevent potential spectrum bottlenecks in rural and remote Australia....read full story
Instead these premises will be serviced through fixed wireless technology or two satellites that are currently under construction.
By no means these are confined to remote or even regional Australia, but often are at the edge of cities, metro fringe areas and the outskirts of country towns.
In May, NBN Co released its redacted review of the progress made in the non-fixed line footprint, and identified substantial issues with the approach taken by the company....read full story
Despite the promise of a targeted fund for medical research, for which funding is at present up to a hostile Senate, science and innovation in this country will be hit hard, with significant cuts across areas of research, education and training.
We provide here a budget wrap up on R&D and also explore in more detail a major claim underlying the budget: the existence of a budget emergency....read full story
Prior to the White Paper, the Climate Change Authority (CAA) published the final report of its Targets and Progress Review in February 2014. The report presents an alternative view on how Australia should proceed with its emissions reduction effort, while it is also providing factual context to the Government's new policy proposal.
And more recently, on 9 May 2014 the Government made its Emissions Reduction Fund Draft Legislation available for public comment. The main bill of this package is the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Amendment Bill 2014, which essentially expands the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) to allow crediting of emissions across the Australian economy....read full story
In December 2013 highly densely populated Germany had 23,645 wind energy projects installed on land providing 33.729 megawatt of energy. But the industry is also experiencing rapid growth in India and China.
In Australia, which has vast wind energy resources, primarily in the western, south-western, southern and south-eastern coastal regions of the country, the industry has also seen a significant expansion. As previously reported, the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) Energy in Australia 2013 report estimates that by mid century wind energy could produce around 21% of Australia's electricity.
However, there are concerns that in Victoria planning restrictions and health concerns may have impacted on the industry. While this has led to the stalling of some projects, the State's 420 megawatt Macarthur Wind Farm, the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, just became fully operational (January 2013) ...read full story
Commissioned by ACMA and the Centre for International Economics, the Economic impacts of mobile broadband on the Australian economy, from 2006 to 2013 study surveyed 1,002 Australian businesses.
It found that in 2013 mobile broadband led to an estimated increase in Australia's economic activity of $33.8 billion, of which $26.5 billion was attributed to time savings for businesses using mobile broadband....read full story
This is the overall message from the following report on recent developments, which also show that this does not equate to an end of the mining boom. Earnings from exported commodities are expected to increase driven by China's demand, especially for iron ore, and the commencing export of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG)....read full story
In future, these stories will also be accessible in our 'States' section....read STATE stories
It reveals how the deregulation of the sector and the removal of distorting producer support over the past decades led to strong agricultural productivity growth...read full story
The new funding totals $133 million for projects across five NHMRC schemes:
The Government also announced the appointment of a four member independent review panel, which will be chaired by Dick Warburton. The panel will primarily consider the contribution of the RET in the reduction of emissions, its impact on electricity prices and energy markets, as well as its costs and benefits for the renewable energy sector, the manufacturing sector and Australian households.
The Government expects a report from the panel by the middle of this year for it to provide input into the Energy White Paper process....read full story
It was part of the A Plan for Australian Jobs (APAJ) policy, through which the Government responded to the Smarter Manufacturing for a Smarter Australia report.
With the proposed amendments large companies with turnover of $20 billion or more would not longer be entitled to the non-refundable 40% R&D Tax offset.
Following the September 2013 election, the Government decided to proceed with this proposed tightening of elegibility to the R&D Incentive as part of the Tax Laws Amendment (Research and Development) Bill 2013...read full story
The funding will go towards the establishment of three new CRCs, while also providing for the extension of four existing projects...read full story
However, interdisciplinary work is not without challenges, as was recently highlighted in The Character of Interdisciplinary Research report which the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) released in January....read full story
Garvan is is one of the first in the world to acquire the machine. Announced by Illumina in January, the HiSeq X Ten Platform can process around 20,000 genomes a year. And run at capacity, the current cost of $10,000 for the sequencing of a human genome could drop to an estimated $1,000 each.
The technological advance in the field has been tremendous. Just a decade ago the price tag for a sequence of a human genome was more than $1 billion, and the process took months. With the Illumina sequencer there is now a practical avenue available for the clinical translation of genomic medicine such as through routine analysis of cancer biopsies and people with genetic disorders. The technology is also expected to facilitate population-scale genomics research.
The HiSeq is located at Garvan's Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics, and at present awaits clinical accreditation. It will then be accessible to clinicians and researchers who are interested in establishing a clinical service or exploring the sequencing of large cohorts.
Based on the current trajectory, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is likely to double from preindustrial levels over the next 50 years.
Computer models simulating our future climate under such conditions have produced a broad spread of temperature scenarios that span from 1.5 to 5 degrees Celsius. This variance is largely due to differences in how clouds and their feedback on global climate are accounted for.
In a study published in Nature in January, Professor Steven C. Sherwood and coworkers report a mechanism for the formation of low-level clouds, which removes much of this uncertainty. However, the authors show that climate models that are correctly simulating this feedback tend to be constrained towards more severe future warming scenarios, indicating increases by at least 3 degrees Celsius with a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere...read full story
And in February, a study led by Professor Matthew England and published in Nature Climate Change explained why, despite increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHG), the global average surface air temperature has stayed more or less steady since 2001 - but is likely to significantly increase again in future...read full story
Thus an estimated $45 billion in electricity network infrastructure is expected for the period 2010 to 2015 alone.
Concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) could provide a cost competitive alternative to expensive network upgrades, according to a collaborative study funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)....read full story
The ERF is the core component of the Government's Direct Action Plan, which aims to reduce emissions to 5% below 2000 levels by 2020.
To this end, the plan, which is modelled on the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism, will encourage low-cost and effective emissions reduction opportunities....read full story
This included $24.6 billion for higher education activities, with the remainder earned from vocational education and training operations.
The bulk of the income was through funds from the Australian Government, which increased by 10.2% to $14.7 billion. Of this, $11 billion were provided through grants and $3.7 billion were from loans to students.
The reported operating expense of the 39 universities was $23.3 billion, of which employee benefits made up 56%, leaving an operating surplus of around $1.9 billion.
In 2012, the universities had assets valued at $59.5 billion, which were offset by $16.6 billion in liabilites, leaving a net asset position of $42.9 billion.
The funding will commence in 2014.
The 12 centres, which were selected from a pool of 22 proposals at a success rate of 54.5%, will collaborate with 106 organisations from 44 countries. This is expected to leverage more than $392.2 million in cash and in-kind support....read full story
Its president Dr Ross Smith said that the cuts would further limit the capacity of these 'world class' grants, which already have a success rate of below 25%. Governments needed to set priorities for research but that priority setting was very different from political picking and choosing.
"Peer review is simply the best way of ensuring tax-payers dollars are invested in world class research every time."
The summary report on Broadband Availability and Quality Survey shows that 91% of Australian premises now have access to fixed line broadband.
Mobile broadband services through 3G and 4G technology can be accessed from 81% and 59% of premises, respectively, while all of Australia is covered by satellite broadband, although this type of service has a ceiling to the capacity of service delivery.
This still leaves some Australians with limited access to broadband services, but it appears that the quality of broadband connections may be a more pressing national issue.
Thus the delivery of broadband services to more than a third of Australian premises was found to be have peak download speeds of less than 9 mega bit per second (Mbps).
However, even with access to fast broadband it is not guaranteed that Australians actually participate in the 'Digital Age'. In fact, a study by the CSIRO and the Australian Centre for Broadband Innovation (ACBI) identified a significant 'broadband gap' with one in five adults not using the Internet at all and particularly smaller sized businesses showing low activity online.
The report raises the concern that a lack of certainty about the future rollout of Australia’s broadband infrastructure and the predominant focus on cost and scale rather than the potential benefits of next generation broadband are distracting from getting Australia prepared for the 'digital age'. Read full stories:
However, much less recognised is the amount of organic carbon stored in our oceans. So called 'blue carbon' initiatives try to change this. It includes the Blue Carbon research initiative by the GRID-ARENDAL centre, which supports the United Nations Environment Programme (see also our 2011 dossier 'Ocean Views')....read full story
Following up on a key election promise, it aims for a 'one-stop shop' procedure in all Australian jurisdictions. In broad terms, this concerns maritime zones that lie within coastal waters of states and the Northern Territory (up to 3 nautical mile off the coast) and Commonwealth waters (3 to 200 nautical miles from the coast).... read full story
Over a six year period the total investment could be up to $730 million, according to a statement released by Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane.
Around $540 million guaranteed investments stem from three proposals that target a new oil and gas exploration area offshore South Australia in the Great Australian Bight (see 'Tough Bight to chew on' in our previous story). The sites of exploration are approximately 200 to 300 kilometres west to south-west of Ceduna. The permits were awarded to Chevron Australia New Venture Pty Ltd (2) and a joint venture of Murphy Australia Oil Pty Ltd and Santos Offshore Pty Ltd (1).
A further two permits are offshore Western Australia and were awarded to a venture of Woodside Energy Limited and Mitsui E&P Australia Pty Ltd, and to Shell Development (Australia) Proprietary Limited.
Seven further areas released did not receive compliant bids, with one further bid still under consideration.
It will be followed by a White Paper in early 2014 for the ERF to take effect from July 2014, concurrent with the repeal of the carbon price legislation.
The ERF will be a major component of the Direct Action Plan initiative that is to replace the current carbon price legislation (A respective draft legislation package was released on 15 October 2013)....read full story
This includes initiatives supporting the development of renewable energies.
On 21 November the House of Representatives passed a package of 7 bills with the primary objective to repeal the current carbon price mechanism and the, at the conservative side of politics, unloved Climate Change Authority. The legislation is now to be debated in the Senate.
With its proposed legislative changes, the Government also wants to remove the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation and scrap $450 from the $3 billion the previous Government had allocated for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. In addition, a $370 million ARENA was to receive in 2014-15 will be deferred to 2019-20.
The agency will still have a sizable funding of $2.5 billion and, according to a statement released in November, its funding vehicles - the Emerging Renewables Program, the Accelerated Step Change Initiative, the Community and Regional Renewable Energy Program and the Regional Australia's Renewables & Industry Program - will continue accepting proposals....read full story
However, for most applications envisioned for human embryonic stem cells (ESCs), and more recently human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and mesenchymal stem cells, 'potential' may still most accurately describe the state of development.
Here we trace the progression of new stem cell therapies into clinical practice, in Australia and abroad.
In a recent review covering the translation of stem cell discoveries, one of Australia's most distinguished experts in the field, Professor Alan Trounson, writes that there is great momentum in the basic research across the breadth of potential applications.
However, "the spectrum of translational studies is rather limited"....read full story
This year the agency received over 5000 applications for NHMRC Project Grants, NHMRC Partnership Project grants, European Union Collaborative Research Grants and NHMRC fellowships. From this pool of applications only around 19% were selected for funding.
However, as is explored in more detail in the infographic, the success rate of organisations varied significantly....read full story
What makes this report an interesting read is that it is not just providing data on trade mark and patent filings. Within the context of an analysis of Australia's IP activity it also delivers a well rounded review of Australia's position as a trading nation.
A central message is that for advanced industrialised economies it is innovation, not production, that drives growth. It is now less important where products are assembled than who owns key resources and new ideas, for which IP is a key. Thus, the iPhone is wholly assembled in China but for just 2% of the overall profit.
Australia's investment in ideas as a percentage of GDP is below that of other developed countries, especially innovation leaders such as the US, Sweden and Switzerland. It has also not yet made the important shift towards so called intangible assets (R&D, design, organisational expertise and branding) which are important facilitators of new product development and productivity improvements.
For example, in the US the intagible stock of capital is equal to 91% of tangible assets, whereas in Australia it is only 4%....read full story
At the end of August, it released an options paper for its review of the innovation patent system. It follows on from an issues paper released in 2011.
In addition to this review, the ACIP has also started a review of Australia's designs system, for which it released an issues paper in September 2013.
Australia's system for innovation patents primarily targets small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs). It was established in 2001 as a form of second tier patent protection, which can be obtained relatively quickly and cheaply with a lower inventive threshold than is set out for standard patents.
In fact, the threshold for standard patents has just been further raised through the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act 2012.
The idea behind innovation patents is that SMEs can protect incremental inventions on the way to a marketable product. However, there are concerns that by providing similar protection levels to standard patents the system also opened the door to the unjustified blocking of new technologies, particularly in the information technology industry....read full story
However, as a proportion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) spending decreased slightly from 1.28% to 1.24%.
According to new data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), BERD was $18.3 billion in 2011-12, an increase of 2% from the previous year, of which 96% was also funded by the business sector.
As in previous years, almost all of the funds were spent in the research fields of Engineering (62%) and ICT (30%), mainly undertaking experimental development (62% of BERD) and applied research (32% of BERD). Typical for Australia, only around 1% of BERD was directed towards pure basic research.
Despite the overall increase of BERD, Queensland and Victoria reported a significant downturn in spending - down $180 million and $141 million, respectively. This was offset by large increases in Western Australia (up $320 million and South Australia up $215 million)....read full story
The Selected Characteristics of Australian Business, 2011-12 broadly covers data from the agency's 2011-12 Business Characteristics Survey which asked businesses about their performance compared to the previous year, which innovations they undertook during the period and their use of ICT.
Across all relevant indicators, including productivity, respondends indicated markedly better performances when they also engaged in a form of innovation activity (see figure). Thus, innovation-active businesses were more than twice as likely to report an increase in productivity (34%) than businesses that were not innovation-active.
It has to be noted, though, that the results do not discern how innovation-activity relates to performance improvements....read full story
As it stands, the newly appointed Minister for Industry, Ian Macfarlane, will have some responsibility for R&D and innovation, including for the CSIRO.
But the emerging picture suggests that science policy will now be even more fragmented across government portfolios than in the past.
In light of this we revisit a report Australia's Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb released in July.
The report Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the National Interest: A Strategic Approach established that while there is considerable public investment in the STEM sciences in Australia, the returns are not optimal and urgently require a more strategic approach....read full story
The Government announced its ongoing support in its August budget (see 'It's budget time').
ICRAR was established in 2009 as a joint venture between Curtin University and the University of Western Australia.
International in its scope, the research institute was set up to create a collaborative environment for scientists and engineers working with industry on projects related to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project.
In May 2012, the Australian-New Zealand partnership was tasked to host components of the SKA telescope, in a split arrangement with South Africa.
The project is to operate over a wide range of frequencies, from less than 100 megahertz (MHz) to several gigahertz (GHz). In preparation, the project partners set up 3 major precursor projects, the South African MeerKAT telescope, and in Australia the CSIRO-led SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP), launched last year as well as the $51 million Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), constructed by an international consortium of universities....read full story
Announced in April (see 'Taking a Bight' for details),
the $20 million Great Australian Bight Collaborative Research Science
program by the CSIRO, Marine Innovation Southern
Australia (MISA) and BPproject will research the
Bight's ecosystems, marine resources and socio-economic importance.
'The Braggs' was partly funded through a $29 million grant from the Australian Government and will house scientists working with photonics and soft glass optical fibre.
IPAS follows on from the university's former Centre for Expertise in Photonics, which conducted research into the generation and control of light. Led by Professor Tanya Monro, its successor now pursues a cross-disciplinary approach to improve measurement and sensing technology in a close relationship with industry partners.
The potential applications of IPAS research spread across a broad spectrum of areas, including defence, manufacturing, health and the environment. For example, current projects include a new sensor to detect early-stage gastric cancer, and the development of optical fibres that identify corrosion in military planes. (The IPAS was featured in an IN FOCUS article in our ARDRmagazine 12-09 issue).More information:: www.adelaide.edu.au/ipas
Set up as a national program it will combine the expertise of government, business and universities to provide Asia focused training programs, research and the development of regional networks
It is the first of its kind in the world and follows a key recommendation in the 2012 report of the Asialink Taskforce for an Asia Capable Workforce.
The Australian Government announced funding of $36 million towards the project, which will be administrated by the University of Melbourne's Asialink and include the University of New South Wales as a partner organisation.More information: www.unimelb.edu.au
The project to be established across 2 sites in NSW will have a combined capacity of 155 megawatt, 15 times larger than any other solar power station in Australia.
The total costs of the construction are estimated at $450 million, of which $166.7 million will be from ARENA with a further $64.9 million provided by the NSW Government. The project will also benefit from $40.7 million from the Education Investment Fund which will fund solar power research by project partners, the University of Queensland (UQ) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW)....read full story
In a pilot study CSIRO conducted with Canadian firm Mevex a new gamma-activation analysis (GAA) technology was 2-3 times more accurately detecting gold than the industry's standard chemical 'fire assay'.
By scanning mineral samples with high-energy x-rays, the technology was able to detect gold ore below a threshold of 1 gram per tonne of rock. This could facilitate the recovery of otherwise discarded traces of gold present in mineral samples.
Each year, Australia produces gold worth a total of around $10 billion. Yet, according to CSIRO, a gold processing plant typically recovers only between 65%-85% of ore present in mined rock. Just a few percentages of improved yield could amount to hundreds of million of dollars worth of additional mining revenue.
As pointed out by project leader Dr James Tickner, the new technology could also be cheaper and more sustainable. GAA can be set up in an automated process, while chemical analysis involves the sending of samples to a central lab. With GAA there is also no need for the use of heavy metals, such as lead, in the analysis of samples.
CSIRO is now searching for a suitable commercial partner to implement a full-scale facility in Australia, which could be up and running in 2-3 years time.
If successful, GAA may in future also be adapted to the detection of other high-value metals, including silver, lead, zinc, tin, copper and the platinum group metals.More information: www.csiro.au
Located at Cape Ferguson south of Townsville the facility is close to quality seawater and at a distance to urban population. According to the AIMS, these are ideal local conditions for the $37 million initiative, which is to simulate ocean conditions and the potential impacts of natural events and human activities....read full story
The new research hub at the Clayton Innovation Precinct is co-funded by the Australian Government, Monash and the CSIRO with the objective to advance Australia's manufacturing capabilities and facilitate collaborative research across disciplines and departmental, faculty and intstitutional boundaries....read full story
It will run with an annual budget of $30 million and draw on CSIRO's extensive expertise in biosecurity research. This includes recent developments such as an equine Hendra virus vaccine and the delivery of a a biological control of the silverleaf whitefly, one of the world's most invasive pests.
The Flagship places a strong emphasis on developing a One Health (formerly One Medicine) approach to improve the response to emerging biosecurity threats.
The One Health strategy is a global interdisciplinary initiative that aims to integrate human medicine, veterinary medicine and environmental science. It emerged from the understanding that human health, animal health and the health of ecosystems are interdependent....read full story
Worth a total of $47 million, they support national and international scientist working in research fields that range from improved child health, language learning, energy from seabed soils, to studies on bacteria.
The only women in the elite circle of eminent scientists are Professor Glenda Sluga from the University of Sydney, who was awarded the Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship, and Professor Tanya Monro from the University of Adelaide, who received the Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship.
However, the apparent gender inequality was not based on a lower success rate of female applicants but instead reflects that only 14 of the 112 applicants were women....read full story
A final project report released by the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) and VicHealth is a first step to provide a sound scientific basis to answer this question. The report covers a pilot of the Australia’s Progress in the 21st Century (AP21C) project, in which ACOLA and VicHealth collaborated with the Australian National Development Index Limited (ANDI). Further partners in the project were the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) and the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre.
To date, the widely used proxy for the state of a country's progress is its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is easily measured and compared. Nevertheless, it becomes increasingly clear that broad economic indicators fall short of capturing the true wellbeing of a society, notwithstanding that they are retrospective rather than forward looking....read full story
It is also the world's third largest supplier of uranium for use in electricity generating nuclear power stations. With this large domestic access to fuel source, electricity generation through nuclear power could be an obvious option.
Yet, despite the potential of nuclear power stations to produce electricity largely emissions free, it has not been at the forefront of public debate, and was not an issue raised in the lead up to the election.
The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) has recently called for the issue to be put back on the national agenda. The organisation says that Australia has a moral responsibility to debate how its uranium is used and disposed of.
Running at 1.2 petaflops (floating point operations per second) when performing at its peak, Raijin is Australia's fastest supercomputer and thus a major addition to the nation's rapidly advancing computing capacity....read full story
Visualisation and spatial information storage software as well as 'virtual laboratories' operating in the cloud will support the project, which is to provide better access to Australia's geoscience data....read full story
It is hoped to mark the beginning of a more sustainable timber industry in the State, after a long protracted struggle between conservationists and forest industry.
The Royal Ascend of the Act also fullfills a requirement of the2011 Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreementwhich stipulates a cooperation between the Australian and Tasmanian Governments in an effort to transform the State's ailing economy.
Over $200 million of federal financial assistance can now flow into an Economic Diversification Fund and will primarily target projects in the areas Tourism, Dairy, Aquaculture, Horticulture, Forestry and Energy....read full story
The 16 research teams of the centre are currently located within SA Pathology but with a recent partnership between the University of South Australia and SA Pathology the centre will now also become a key component of the State's new Health & Biomedical Research Precinct.
The precinct is a major investment in health and biomedical research in the State. Its key infrastructures include a new Royal Adelaide Hospital, funded with $2.1 billion by the State, and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute , which received federal and state investments of $200 million and $79 million, respectively.
In addition to the CCB funding, the Australian Government is investing a further $60 million in another key project of the precinct, the Integrated Clinical School facility by the University of Adelaide.
In June it announced a set of 15 strategic research priorities, which are to drive investment in areas of immediate and critical importance to Australia. They will supersede the National Research Priorities (NRPs), which have been discontinued....read full story
However, we are net importers of crude oil and refined petroleum products as production is declining while domestic demand, particularly for transport fuel, is increasing.
Since 2003-04, our balance of trade in petroleum products has been negative, as illustrated in a figure by the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, and the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics recently reported in its Australian Petroleum Statistics that in 2012-13 the total export value of Australian petroleum products was around $28 billion while the value of imports was around $40 billion.
However, there is a general understanding that Australia needs to increase its effort in petroleum exploration. Here we cover recent developments related to this crucial industry.... "read full story
These include horizon scanning and emerging technologies, manufacturing technologies, advanced technologies, advanced materials, intelligent processing, energy storage, autonomous systems, sensors and bio-technology.
Under the alliance Australia's largest publicly funded organisations will also share professional development training programs for staff, undertake staff exchanges and joint community outreach activities and share infrastructure including participation in each other's innovation precincts.
We here report on the federal budget as well as on state budgets from the Victorian, Queensland, South and Western Australian Governments.
Just a few years ago it was believed to be lasting, possibly for decades to come. But the tides have turned with mega projects either cancelled or delayed, such as the $36 billion Browse LNG project (Woodside), the $30 billion Outer Harbour Development at Port Hedland (BHP Billiton) and the $20 billion Olympic Dam Expansion (BHP Billiton).
A report by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) covering the six months to April 2013 shows that the stock of investments in committed resources and energy projects has indeed plateaued, albeit on record levels at about $268 billion....read full story
Funded with $13 million over 3 years, the project is a research collaboration between the CSIRO and the universities of Sydney, Newcastle, Queensland and New South Wales.....read full story
The partners in the $25 million centre include the NHMRC and the several NGOs including the Brightwater Care Group (WA), HammondCare (NSW), Helping Hand Aged Care (SA) and Alzheimer's Australia.
Chaired by Simon McKeon, the review panel reached the overarching conclusion that Australia's health care system performs well by international standards - only Japan, Spain and Italy achieve higher life expectancy at lower cost.
Nevertheless, there is an insufficient connection between health and medical research (HMR) but calls and health care services delivery.For example, the panel cites a recent CareTrack Australia report according to which around 43% of Australians do not receive appropriate, evidence-based healthcare.
Laying out a 10 year strategy, the panel details 21 recommendations that aim for a better integration of HMR into all aspects of the healthcare system.
Major points include that current HMR investment should be optimised and be boosted with additional competitive programs that could be accessed by a broader range of researchers than current programs. Measures to improve research capacity in the health sector include support for initially 100, and over a 10 year period up to 1,000 research grants for health professionals...read full story
It is the third since the initiative commenced in 2011.
Selected applicants will receive mentoring from some of the country's leading advisors on commercialisation, business modelling, funding solutions and successful techniques for pitch delivery. In addition, finalists will also be assisted in participating in export markets and participate in a Government-led trade mission in Asia.
Entries close on 3 June. For further information visit www.cleantechcomp.com.au.
Responding to the announcement, the CRC Association (CRCA) expressed concern regarding the level of funding, given that $150 million were initially allocated for this round and 7 out of 9 initial applications were selected to interviews. But proposals for CRCs in Biodiversity, Resilient Regions and Prostate Cancer missed out in funding.
However, this may not indicate a cut to the overall level of funding for the program, CRCA chief executive officer Tony Peacock wrote in the association's newsletter. Thus, in the announcement of the funding, the Government reaffirmed that $619 million will be made available over 2012/13 to 2015/16 period...read full story
Carnegie's CETO technology has frequently generated waves among renewable energy enthusiasts. Its Perth Wave Energy Project ('PWEP'), a $31.2 million power station under construction at Garden Island to become the company's first commercial-scale CETO grid-connected wave energy project.
But apart from electricity, the high pressure seawater generated as CETO's fully submerged buoys move with the wave motion, can also be used to produce desalinated water through standard reverse osmosis desalination technology.
This concept is the basis of the CETO desalination pilot which will co-located with the PWEP aims to demonstrate the technology's potential to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from desalination plants.
This followed on from the Government's controversial conditional approval of AGL's coal seam methane gas (CSG) project at Gloucester in NSW, announced in February alongside further approvals for two NSW coal mine projects at Maules Creek and at Boggabri (see below).
With the planned amendments to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 a project would require Australian Government assessment and approval of coal seam gas and large coal mining developments if they have a significant impact on a water resource. According to Minister Burke, so far federal approval of projects includes water to the extend there has been an impact on issues such as threatened species or a RAMSAR wetland.
With the amendments, the Australian Environment Minister would have the capacity to take all potential impacts on water into account...read full story
Meanwhile a new report by the CSIRO predicts a future in broadband connected homes, the ACMA shows the rapid uptake of smartphones and tablets, and Adelaide plans to become a free wireless city......read full story
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It found that the required emissions reduction that Australia needs to achieve between 2013 and 2020 could be substantially less than previously assumed. The Australia's Emissions Projections 2012 document, which formed the basis of the previous Government's carbon price mechanism, projected a total of 755 million tonnes CO2 that would have to be abated over the period 2013-2020, with a further reduction of 155Mt CO2 then needed in the year 2020. According to the new CCA figures, the task will now only be a cumulative 593Mt kCO2 between 2013 and 2020, and a further 131Mt 2 in 2020.
While this assessment also forms the basis of the Government's Emissions Reduction Fund White Paper (bottom panel), the Government's projections used in the ERF White Paper include the impact of two years of carbon price and the Carbon Farming Initiative, as well as carryover surplus Kyoto Units. This reduces Australia's task to only 421Mt CO2 between 2013 and 2020.