Trailblazer Universities Program

The Australian Government is providing $362.5 million over four years from 2022-2023 to 2025-2026 under the Trailblazer Universities Program to build new research capabilities, drive commercialisation outcomes and invest in new industry engagement opportunities.

Trailblazer Universities will become leaders in research commercialisation, with dedicated investment in strategic priority areas. Each Trailblazer University will receive $50 million, which will be matched by university and industry partners.

The total funding includes $45 million for participating universities to partner with Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), to access specialist equipment and expertise to support delivery of their projects and boost their research translation and commercialisation capabilities at speed.

About the Program

The Trailblazer Universities Program will be comprised of a select group of six universities with dedicated investment to accelerate Australia’s innovation agenda at-speed and at-scale. Participating universities will demonstrate:

  • Commitment to boosting world-leading capability in a strategic priority area (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.

Through this initiative, the Australian Government will build additional capacity to focus on the problems that matter to the nation by driving research excellence and real-world impact behind Australia’s strategic priority areas.

The Trailblazer Universities Program responds to 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.

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Trailblazer Universities

Trailblazer universities were selected through a competitive two-stage application process.

The six Trailblazer Universities projects are:

  • Curtin University - Resources Technology for Critical Minerals Trailblazer
    • Curtin University will partner with The University of Queensland and James Cook University, and over 30 company partners across Australia to establish a competitive advantage of critical mineral opportunities and shield from supply chain disruptions.
    • The Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Trailblazer hub will match the Federal Government’s $50 million in funding with additional funding from the university and industry partners.
    • Regional benefits include the engagement of local business to provide services across a broad spectrum, 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 will spearhead the largest recycling and clean energy advanced manufacturing ecosystem in Australia in partnership with the University of Southern Queensland and Federation University.
    • The REaCH will drive significant regional economic benefit, with innovation and job creation in Geelong, Western Victoria and beyond. The 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 (CSC)
    • Partnering with researchers from the University of New South Wales and over 50 businesses, the University of Adelaide will lead this project to develop 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 our national and regional security, and boost Australia’s sovereign capability in the defence industry.
  • The University of Queensland - Food and Beverage Accelerate (FaBA)
    • The University of Queensland will lead the Food and Beverage Accelerator (FaBA) in partnership with the University of Southern Queensland and Queensland University of Technology.
    • The FaBA aims to contribute to doubling the value of Australia’s food and beverage manufacturing sector by 2030, through a focus on smart production and new ingredients, creating innovative foods and beverages, generating thousands of new jobs.
    • The University of Queensland, industry partners and research collaborators will invest in the project to boost growth and innovation in the sector.
  • University of New South Wales - Australian Trailblazer for Recycling and Clean Energy (ATRaCE)
    • In collaboration with the University of Newcastle, University of New South Wales will lead the Australian Trailblazer for Recycling and Clean Energy (ATRaCE) initiative to move innovative technologies out of the lab and into global manufacturing.
    • ATRaCE 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/battery projects across northwest Victoria. 
  • University of Southern Queensland - Innovative Launch, Automation, Novel Materials, Communications, and Hypersonics Hub (iLAuNCH Hub)
    • In collaboration with the Australian National University and University of South Australia, University of Southern Queensland will lead the Innovative Launch, Automation, Novel Materials, Communications and Hypersonics (iLAuNCH) Hub, which is a regionally headquartered project.
    • The iLAuNCH Hub 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 will provide significant investment and opportunity in regional Queensland with the establishment of a major manufacturing precinct.

If you have any questions, please email the Department at urcs@education.gov.au.

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