The Federal Government has announced an additional $5 million in funding for the University of Wollongong-led, ARC Research Hub for Australian Steel Innovation (Steel Research Hub). The Steel Research Hub will be funded for five years (2021-2025).
Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, announced the funding on 2 July as part of the ARC’s Industrial Transformation Research Program, which brings together the best and brightest researchers, scientists and engineers from higher education and industry to drive innovation and improve global competitiveness in key industries.
In addition to the ARC funding, the Steel Research Hub’s eight industry partners, BlueScope Steel, Liberty Primary Steel, Infrabuild, ArcelorMittal, Bisalloy, Australian Steel Institute, Weld Australia and Australian Industry Group will contribute another $13.9 million in cash and in-kind support.
The University of Wollongong, together with RMIT University, Australian National University, Swinburne University of Technology, University of Newcastle, Deakin University, University of Sydney, University of New South Wales and Monash University, will contribute a further $9.5 million cash and in-kind.
The total funding for the Steel Research Hub currently stands at $28.4 million.
The first Steel Research Hub began operating in 2014 with the vision of bringing together teams of internationally recognised research and industry talent to deliver innovative solutions and breakthrough technologies in manufacturing and product development.
The overarching goal of the new Hub is to support the transition of Australia’s steel manufacturing industry to a more sustainable, competitive and resilient position, based on the creation of new, higher value-added products and more advanced manufacturing processes.
The Hub’s director is Dr Zulli, an internationally recognised leader in steel manufacturing research, technology development and deployment, combining over 30 years of technical and management experience across many aspects of the steel and ferrous minerals industries.
Dr Zulli welcomed the funding announcement, and said he looked forward to the Steel Research Hub strengthening its collaboration with the Australian steel industry, through delivering both new innovative research outcomes and training of a new generation of capable and influential researchers and technologists.
“A globally competitive domestic steel manufacturing industry is a strategic asset for Australia’s nation-building, economic growth and employment,” Dr Zulli said.
“The domestic industry must continue to provide a secure, flexible and high-quality local source of steel and products for infrastructure and construction, manufacturing, mining and agriculture.”
Dr Zulli added that the research outcomes delivered over the coming five years will benefit the competitiveness and future growth of large and small steel-related businesses in Australia.
“In turn, these should positively affect key societal challenges, such as providing affordable housing and quality infrastructure, developing longer-lasting materials, recycling of resources, and training a more capable and diverse workforce.”
University of Wollongong Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Jennifer L. Martin AC said the University’s strong historic links with Australia’s steel industry put it in an ideal position to drive innovation in the industry.
“Our researchers are recognised as world-leaders in many aspects of steel innovation and development,” Professor Martin said.
“In its first five years, the Steel Research Hub has worked closely with industry to research and develop innovative products and processes that have enhanced the global competitiveness of Australian steel.”
“With the announcement of a new Steel Research Hub, the University of Wollongong and its industry and research partners will continue to deliver world-class research, enhancing economic and environmental outcomes for the steel industry, and ultimately benefiting all Australians,” she said.