The Australian Government is building new research capabilities, driving commercialisation outcomes and investing in new industry engagement opportunities through the $370.3 million Trailblazer Universities Program (2022–2023 to 2025–2026). Through this initiative, the Government is building additional capacity to focus on the problems that matter to the nation by driving research excellence and real-world impact.
Over four years, six Australian universities will become leaders in research commercialisation, with dedicated investment in priority areas. Each Trailblazer university will receive $50 million, which will be matched by university and industry partner contributions.
The total funding includes $45 million for participating universities to partner with Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), which will provide them with access to specialist equipment and expertise to support the delivery of their projects.
About the Program
The Trailblazer Universities Program is led by six select universities with dedicated investment to accelerate Australia’s innovation agenda at speed and at scale. Trailblazer universities are demonstrating:
- commitment to boosting world-leading capability in a priority area, including, defence, space, food and beverage, recycling and clean energy, and resources technology and critical minerals technology,
- use of open, collaborative Intellectual Property (IP) agreements that are attractive for industry partners,
- use of incentives and rewards for research staff who engage with industry and commercialise research,
- co-funding commitments from industry partners, and proactive engagement with businesses,
- opportunities and pathways that promote strong industry engagement and job-ready skills, including development of educational qualifications and pathways with the Vocational and Education Training (VET) sector.
The Trailblazer Universities Program addresses feedback to the public consultation on university research commercialisation, which highlighted the importance of strengthening capability at the institutional level. Submissions to the consultation also emphasised key barriers to collaboration and commercialisation, and proposed solutions such as more effective IP arrangements and greater incentives for academics and institutions to translate and commercialise research.
Trailblazer universities were selected through a competitive two-stage application process.
The six Trailblazer university projects are:
- Curtin University – Resources Technology for Critical Minerals Trailblazer
- Curtin University has partnered with The University of Queensland and James Cook University, and over 30 company partners across Australia to boost Australia’s critical mineral industry and prevent future supply chain disruptions.
- The Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Trailblazer hub is matching the Government’s $50 million in funding with additional funding from the university and industry partners.
- Regional benefits include the engagement of local businesses to provide services, including transport and logistics, construction, maintenance, flowing through to other areas of the business community in regional areas.
- Deakin University – Recycling and Clean Energy Commercialisation Hub (REACH)
- Deakin University’s REACH is spearheading the largest recycling and clean energy advanced manufacturing ecosystem in Australia in partnership with the University of Southern Queensland and Federation University.
- REACH is driving significant regional economic benefit, with innovation and job creation in Geelong, Western Victoria and beyond.
- This research-industry partnership is expected to generate more than $1.4 billion in revenue and 2,500 jobs in the next decade.
- The University of Adelaide – Defence Trailblazer for Concept to Sovereign Capability
- Partnering with researchers from the University of New South Wales and over 30 businesses, the University of Adelaide is leading the Defence Trailblazer project.
- Defence Trailblazer is developing new defence industry technology and 100 new defence products, creating over 1000 jobs and more than 1,400 additional jobs through the broader supply chain over four years.
- In collaboration with industry partners, the University of Adelaide will match the Government funding by more than three-to-one investment in this critical project to safeguard national and regional security, and boost Australia’s sovereign capability in the defence industry.
- Stay up to date with Defence Trailblazer.
- The University of Queensland – Food and Beverage Accelerator (FaBA)
- The University of Queensland is leading the FaBA in partnership with the University of Southern Queensland and Queensland University of Technology.
- FaBA aims to contribute to doubling the value of Australia’s food and beverage manufacturing sector by 2030, through focusing on smart production and new ingredients, creating innovative foods and beverages and generating thousands of new jobs.
- The University of Queensland, industry partners and research collaborators are investing in the project to boost growth and innovation in the sector.
- Stay up to date with FaBA.
- University of New South Wales –Trailblazer for Recycling and Clean Energy (TRaCE)
- In collaboration with the University of Newcastle, University of New South Wales is leading TRaCE to take innovative technologies out of the lab and into global manufacturing.
- TRaCE will have positive impact on our regional communities, with the Trailblazer and its industry partners working on projects from the Northern Territory, iron ore mines in Western Australia, storage assets in Queensland, and solar and battery projects across northwest Victoria.
- University of Southern Queensland – Innovative Launch, Automation, Novel Materials, Communications, and Hypersonics Hub (iLAuNCH)
- In collaboration with the Australian National University and University of South Australia, University of Southern Queensland is leading the iLAuNCH, which is a regionally based project.
- iLAuNCH will fill critical gaps in Australia’s space market, including the production of rocket and launch facilities, satellite manufacturing, communication technologies and integrated sensing systems.
- The project is providing significant investment and opportunity in regional Queensland with the establishment of a major manufacturing precinct.
- Keep up to date with iLAuNCH.
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