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Curtin commits to new $200M Trailblazer hub

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Liam Wignell
innovation
// // Only six universities will be part of the program...

Curtin University has been announced as the first of Australia’s Trailblazer universities.

Curtin will receive part of the $242 million federal government program to develop a commercialisation hub that will seek to turn research outputs into breakthrough services, products and businesses.

So far, the University of Adelaide has also been announced as a Trailblazer university, with the rest yet to be announced.

The Curtin-led Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Trailblazer hub will match $50 million of government funding with equivalent support from university and industry partners, taking the total investment to over $200 million.

The University of Queensland and James Cook University will partner with Curtin and 33 company partners involved in value chains that require nickel, lithium, vanadium, cobalt and hydrogen resources.

The announcement was made by the then Prime Minister Scott Morrison as part of the Federal Government’s Critical Minerals Strategy.

“This investment will turbocharge Australia’s critical minerals industry and backs in the State’s status as an economic powerhouse for the whole country,” said Mr Morrison.

The Curtin-led Trailblazer will drive benefits through three pillars – university transformation, technology readiness and commercialisation.

Curtin was shortlisted from 21 universities, with all bids assessed on their “commercialisation readiness”, “industry alignment” and “research capability to support a national manufacturing priority”.

Innovation to create opportunities for Curtin stakeholders

Curtin commits to new $200M Trailblazer hub
Professor Harlene Hayne.

Professor Harlene Hayne, Curtin University Vice-Chancellor, said the program will drive the cultural shift that is needed to facilitate the pathway from resources technology research to commercial outcomes, creating an array of opportunities for entrepreneurial university staff and students.

“It is an incredible achievement for Curtin to be the first of what will only be a handful of Australian universities, and the only one in Western Australia, to be named a Trailblazer and I congratulate all those who delivered the successful proposal,” Professor Hayne said.

“This project speaks to everything Curtin is as a university- innovative, highly collaborative, industry-facing, impactful and community-minded; and we are proud to be able to lead this exciting partnership into the future.

Together with The University of Queensland and James Cook University, we will use Trailblazer to affect deep and lasting change in the way technology readiness, commercialisation and industry-led research are prioritised, taught and rewarded in our universities.

Professor Harlene Hayne

Professor Chris Moran, Curtin Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, reiterated the Trailblazer program will catapult partner universities into commercial success by carefully responding to industry demand.

“The mission of the collaboration is to conduct and translate the research needed to link the value chains so desperately needed if Australia is to become a genuine international leader in efficient production of critical minerals, precursors and ultimately, metals”, Professor Moran said.

“In doing so, Trailblazer will add significant value, resilience, and sovereign capability throughout Australia’s critical minerals and hydrogen energy value chains. 

“It will deliver the skills and the future workforce required to realise the potential benefits from our resources.

The Trailblazer will be a key gateway for industry – opening up access for industry to the wealth of expertise inside universities to ultimately support the start-up and growth of Australian businesses.

Chris Moran, Curtin Deputy Vice-Chancellor

Along with Curtin and its industry partners, CSIRO will also be involved in the program, commissioning new Metal Binder Jet Printers – valued at $6.6 million – and will provide mineral characterisation and analytical services to support the research activities of Trailblazer.

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Curtin University is a sponsor of Startup News.

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Picture of Liam Wignell

Liam Wignell

Liam has extensive experience across marketing, procurement and project management roles in both the public and private sector. He contributed to Startup News from 2020 to 2023 and was contracted as Managing Editor in 2022.
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