IMCRC signs off with $4.2 billion legacy

Brandon How

The Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre has closed up shop, leaving behind an estimated $4.2 billion in new revenue growth by 2030.

Backed by $40 million in government funding through the CRC grants program, the IMCRC supported 71 collaborative projects, involving 78 industry partners, 13 universities, and the CSIRO.

The CRC fostered commercialisation for industry 4.0 technologies, helping develop new ideas, business models, products, processes, services, and platforms.

The Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre team.

Of the IP generated through the projects, 89 per cent was owned by industry and 7 per cent by research organisations, with a many often advanced from proof of concepts through to commercialisation, according to an ACIL Allen report last year.

The report, released at the end of 2022, argued that the firm’s business model delivered “significant positive impacts for the Australian manufacturing industry,” including the headline $4.2 billion in additional economic benefits by 2030.

It also notes that the benefit-to-cost ratio, projected to 2029-30, is around 1.8 based on a total net present value of $171 million across all IMCRC projects. By 2029-30, the CRC is expected to have created 22 businesses or business opportunities.

By 2030, the firm expects the creation of “6,000 ongoing fulltime jobs, 224 collaborations and new partnerships, planned investment of $2 billion in future R&D and a 3,300,000 tonne CO2 reduction in greenhouse gas emissions”.

Announcing the end of the IMCRC on Tuesday, chair Ian Macfarlane said what made the IMCRC stand out was its commitment to “operating with strong commercial principals” and delivering support within the time requirements of industry.

“This approach enabled IMCRC’s partners to realise significant return on investment, including through the ownership of intellectual property and commercialistaion of technology,” he said.

“I would like to thank the board for their tireless dedication to the success of the IMCRC, and CEO and managing director, David Chuter, and his team for their incredible work supporting participants on their innovation journeys. Their efforts have made IMCRC arguably Australia’s most successful CRC.”

As IMCRC winds down, Cooperative Research Australia has continued to call for greater investment in the CRC program in the upcoming federal budget. The peak body has called for a yearly increase to the tune of $50 million since at least 2020-21.

The CRA also called for R&D expenditure more broadly to be increased to three per cent of GDP, in line with the target canvassed by Industry and Science minister Ed Husic and in Labor’s policy platform ahead of the election last year.

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