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Tue, 19 Apr 2022

JCU’s Trailblazing research success

exterior of The Science Place, Townsville

James Cook University has been selected as one of Australia’s Trailblazer universities, and will receive a share of more than $242 million in Federal Government funding to develop a research commercialisation hub that will turn world-leading research into breakthrough ideas, products and businesses.

The Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Trailblazer program will match $50 million of government funding to more than equivalent support from the university and industry partners for a total value of the initiative of over $200 million.

JCU will partner with Curtin University (project lead) and The University of Queensland, as well as 33 company and commercial partners across Australia involved in the technology metals, critical minerals and metals value chains.

The Prime Minister made the announcement this morning in Perth.

JCU Vice Chancellor Professor Simon Biggs said James Cook University is excited to partner with Curtin University and The University of Queensland in the Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Trailblazer.

“This Trailblazer will supercharge the development of our regions’ technology metals and critical minerals industry and boost the economic growth of northern Australia.

“It will further support, encourage and accelerate the opportunity for JCU to focus on research that delivers industry-aligned commercial outcomes.

“The projects and activities planned under the Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Trailblazer have significant potential to deliver economic growth for regional and remote communities in Northern Australia.

“Supporting the regional resources and critical minerals industry is a priority for JCU and the opportunity presented by this initiative aligns with JCU’s strategic direction to increase industry-aligned research that leads to commercial outcomes.

“Importantly, for the economic growth of our region, the Trailblazer activities will directly engage regional Small-to-Medium-Enterprise (SME) businesses across the resources and critical mineral sector, as they make up a large proportion of the employment in regional Northern Australia.

“This will allow regional SME businesses to integrate into broader frameworks of national research and commercialisation activity, not only increasing regional jobs, but also increasing their exposure to, and participation in, the Modern Manufacturing Initiative”.

JCU Trailblazer Lead Daniel Christie said the Trailblazer Universities Program provides crucial funding to JCU to boost prioritised research and development and drive commercial outcomes for and with industry partners.

“Trailblazer will change the way commercialisation and the University’s interaction with industry will work.

“There is a huge global demand for ‘technology minerals’ - the minerals that are essential for smart phones, electric vehicles, renewable energy and energy transitions. The Trailblazer program will allow JCU to work closely with the resources sector to exploit this global surge in demand.”

The Trailblazer will drive benefits through delivery under the following three pillars.

  1. University Transformation – affecting deep and lasting change in the way commercialisation and industry-led research is embedded, facilitated, taught and rewarded in universities.
  2. Technology Readiness – partnering with industry to de-risk new technology to achieve commercial outcome and make it more attractive for SMEs, investors and industry to adopt and implement new ways of working.
  3. Commercialisation – becoming a world leader in the translation of research outcomes into new products, services and industry processes.