Working together to grow manufacturing
On 4th July 2018, the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) invited Australian manufacturers to take advantage of the capabilities within universities to create new opportunities for research and development.
Manufacturers’ Monthly attended the “Path to Advanced Manufacturing” event and captured the presentations and conversations in this article. Please find below an excerpt from David Chuter’s presentation, introducing the Innovative Manufacturing CRC (IMCRC).
“Our membership is growing daily. The ability to connect our members from various sectors has proven itself to be very effective. There are many companies present here today that did not know each other before – even though they were located only a few blocks away. Through AMGC they learned about each other’s activities and started collaborating,” he told Manufacturers’ Monthly.
IMCRC funding R&D for manufacturers
To wrap up the program, David Chuter, CEO of IMCRC, gave the manufacturers an overview of IMCRC’s research and development fund for manufacturers and encouraged them to take benefit from it.
“Hopefully the conversation about collaboration and R&D between companies and universities has whetted your appetite. I want to tell you about the largest R&D fund currently available in Australia for manufacturers, to access if you want to do R&D in a collaborative environment with a university,” he said.
The IMCRC is a not-for-profit, independent cooperative research centre that helps Australian manufacturing companies increase their relevance through collaborative, market-driven research in business models, products, processes, and services.
Chuter noted that out of the $30 million Commonwealth fund available to IMCRC to spend before 2022, $17 million has already been allocated to collaborative projects, leaving another $13 million for companies planning to engage in R&D with universities or the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
“The $17 million has been assigned in co-fund 17 industry projects. So, we have invested an average of about one million dollar per company. We can fund as high as $3 million per company and as low as $150,000. This means that $150,000 of your cash is matched with a $150,000 of Commonwealth cash to create $300,000 that can be used for doing research with universities or CSIRO,” he explained.
He clarified some points about the types of projects that IMCRC funds.
“The difference between our program and some programs that AMGC or The Entrepreneur’s Programme run is that while those programs are designed for shorter, industry-based research projects, we focus on projects that require between 18 months to four years to conduct the R&D and get the product to the market,” he explained.
“Another key thing for us is about driving real-world outcomes. What is the focus of your research and what results you are hoping to achieve. We fund ideally from a proof of concept where you already have a business model. We work with you through that proof of concept until you have a product that is ready for the market,” he said.
Manufacturing is not dead
In a conversation with Manufacturers’ Monthly, Chuter noted that the projects funded by IMCRC are a testimony that the manufacturing sector in Australia is thriving.
“More than half of our funding has already been granted and that has led to about a $100 million of total R&D investments in manufacturing that has been facilitated by IMCRC. So, if anyone says that manufacturing is dead, there are many big investments taking place that show otherwise,” he said.
Chuter also noted that events like the “Path to advanced manufacturing” are important for bridging the gap between research and industry.
“Events like this help break down some of the existing barriers as the industry is often not aware of what the universities are doing and the universities aren’t always aware of what the industry needs,” he said.