This week Rail Express reported that a bid has been made to the Federal Government for a new Rail Manufacturing CRC (Cooperative Research Centre). This builds on ANUE’s extensive On Track to 2040 roadmapping project conducted on behalf of the rail industry in 2011. Through the CRC program the federal government seeks to support medium to long-term industry led research collaborations. This round will target $50 million towards innovative manufacturing as a priority area. The Rail Manufacturing bid initially includes 15 industry proponents.
The Rail Express report highlighted the On Track to 2040 roadmap as key in identifying the major industry opportunities targeted in the CRC bid. The impact of the On Track to 2040 report is clear in the proposed research agenda and has laid the ground work for the successful progress of the bid to the interview stage. The proposed CRC will specifically focus on SMEs in the rail industry and on a number of high value multi-disciplinary collaborative research projects.
The bid proposes specific research projects identified in the roadmap in the areas of “Power and Propulsion”, “Materials and Manufacturing”, and “Monitoring and Management”. The hope is that a new CRC will help the Australian rail industry face a future with increased competition and reducing import barriers that have meant that Australian manufacturers have found it difficult to survive. Significant investment and collaboration is needed in order to take full advantage of these opportunities.