Four Western Australian proposals to establish major new research centres in Perth have been shortlisted by the Federal Government as potential candidates for special funding.
Deputy Premier Ian Taylor said today they included proposals for a research centre to develop new technologies to improve the quality of wool; two others to expand geological know-how; and a fourth to develop the State's growing expertise in advanced telecommunications.
“Each proposal has made it to the third and final round in the Federal Government’s multi-million dollar program to establish a series of ‘Co-operative Research Centres (CRSs)’ across the country,” he said.
“The concept is to combine the scientific expertise of industry, government and academia to give Australia as a trading nation the maximum technological advantage - and I believe our four projects will do just that.”
Mr Taylor said between now and the end of the year the groups behind the four bids would face a gruelling period of assessment while a panel of judges weighed the merits of their proposals against 29 from other States.
“Any of the four which succeed will also be in line for State Government funding of up to $1 million,” he said.
Mr Taylor said the four latest proposals included:
· a joint submission by Curtin University, Australian petroleum companies, and the existing Melbourne-based Australian Petroleum Co-operative Research Centre, to extend the existing facility to Perth and include new geophysical research to assist offshore exploration;
· a submission by the CSIRO for Western Australia to join Victoria, NSW, and the ACT in creating a CRC for Geodynamics to investigate the properties of the earth's crust;
· a submission by the University of Western Australia and Department of Agriculture to create a CRC for Premium Quality Wool to increase wool's strength and create new textiles; and
· a submission by Curtin University and the research team behind the new internationally adopted QPSX communications system to establish a CRC for Broadband Telecommunications and Networking.
“Although this is the last round of the CRC bids, I do not see this as the end of WA's attempts to build up a strong and diversified scientific base,” Mr Taylor said.
“When all the results are in I will be commissioning a detailed assessment of our scientific strengths and weaknesses. Then, where necessary, I will be encouraging new links to be formed with CRCs interstate.”