BHP Billiton was one of the miners that would be working together with the university research teams. Image: BHP Billiton.
By Elizabeth Fabri
FOUR university research projects aimed at enhancing innovation in the resources sector have received $1.875 million in funding from the Turnbull Government’s Linkage Project scheme.
The University of Queensland was the recipient of three of the four grants, which included $550,000 towards Associate Professor Yongjun Peng’s research into more efficient and economical mineral separation and metal extraction with Newcrest Mining, Vega Industries and Sierra Gorda SCM; $450,000 towards Dr Steven Pratt’s project of advancing knowledge of Coal Seam Gas (CSG) water treatment; and $195,000 towards Professor Peter Hayes and Professor Evgueni Jak’s project with BHP Billiton that would provide technical information on the behaviour of different iron ores.
The fourth grant of $675,000 was presented to the University of Woolongong in NSW, towards its rail track stability project that examined causes of mud pumping and aimed to improve track longevity, boost production and reduce maintenance costs.
Federal Education and Training minister Simon Birmingham said the Linkage Projects scheme was a direct response to the country’s “appalling” reputation for industry and higher education research collaboration, of which Australia ranked last out of OECD’s 33 participating countries.
“When researchers and businesses come to the Government with strong proposals that will clearly deliver real benefits for industry and Australians, we want to be able to green light them as quickly as possible,” Mr Birmingham said.
“With the National Innovation and Science Agenda we sped up the processes for approving Linkage Projects that fund collaborations between researchers and businesses and we made changes so that grants could be made year-round so worthy projects don’t need to wait months and months until applications open.
“The Linkage Projects scheme supports our researchers to work with innovators outside the traditional research sector to find solutions to real-world problems and improve the translation of research into broader outcomes for businesses and the community.”