Fast Track projects announced

SmartCrete CRC is proud to announce the funding of three projects submitted under its Fast Track program.

Click here to read the full Media Release (PDF)

Since establishment in June 2020, SmartCrete CRC has worked to promote scientific and engineering research for Australia’s concrete industry, including developments within the concrete supply chain and associated industries.

The new projects will run for up to the next 3 years and are spread across two of the three SmartCrete CRC research program streams, involving collaboration with our partner organisations. All SmartCrete CRC Fast Track projects are driven by the needs of industry partners and the end-users with whom they engage.

The projects cover a range of areas, including research into the following:

  1. Wastewater Pipeline Sensing System: Innovative and economical photonic sensor interrogation. Read more here
  2. Recycled Material Concrete Production: Recycled Waste in Concrete for Municipal Applications. Read more here
  3. Concrete Corrosion Tracking and Prediction: Cost-effective, deployable photonic sensor system. Read more here

The funding for the projects range from $500,000 and $1 million each.

These three projects represent the first of many to be funded by the Commonwealth, industry and research partners to deliver on the organisation’s goal of guaranteeing the long term viability of concrete infrastructure in Australia.

Industry , government and research partners include: Sydney Water, Melbourne Water, EngAnalysis, City of Ryde, OPV (Office of Projects Victoria), City of Whitehorse (Victoria), Macquarie University, Latrobe University, University of Technology Sydney, and RMIT.

Now that these are funded we are working through our portfolio of 34 active proposals to continue to develop industry led solutions for Australian concrete infrastructure.

Click here to read the full Media Release (PDF)

SmartCrete CRC announces new Board appointments

After an extensive process in evaluating required skills and experience, four Directors will be joining the Chair, Em. Prof. Elizabeth Taylor AO, and new Board member, Mr Stephen Harmer, to assist in determining the strategic direction and policies of the organisation.

New Board Members
– Dr Gunilla Burrowes
– Catherine Ferrari
– Elizabeth Whitelaw
– Peter Williamson

Click here to read the full Media Release and Board Member Bios (PDF)

The composition of the Board is now well placed to assist with areas such as commercialisation and intellectual property management, change-enabling, stakeholder management and research strategy. These skills will be vital to ensure the success of SmartCrete CRC in enabling solutions through research  to the issues and challenges facing the concrete industry.

The company has set a fast pace in opening its approvals process to proposals and developing in-house policies and procedures ensuring that it creates a balance of expectations for all stakeholders – industry, government and academia.

“SmartCrete CRC is indeed fortunate to have a strong and committed group of people as a Board committed to the success of the organisation. The Board looks forward to working alongside the Management Team as 
they continue to deliver and develop the exciting research program.”
Elizabeth Taylor AO

With an expansive breadth and depth of professional experience in its Board of Directors, SmartCreteCRC Ltd is well placed to step change the Australian concrete ecosystem and address the broader social benefit agenda.

Click here to read the full Media Release and Board Member Bios (PDF)

SmartCrete CRC Announces appointment of new CEO

The Interim Board of the SmartCrete CRC is pleased to announce the appointment of Warren South as Chief Executive Officer for the CRC.

Warren brings a wealth of technical domain experience in the research and development of concrete in Australia and New Zealand. In addition, he brings a strong existing network of industrial, academic and government relationships. Importantly, he offers a direct line of sight into issues within the concrete ecosystem and opportunities for value add.

Chair Elizabeth Taylor stated “We are delighted to welcome Warren. We look forward to working with him and our partners to operationalise innovations that address the problems, and seize the opportunities, identified by asset owners, industry organisations, SMEs, the supply chain, academics and our broader Australian community”.

Warren will join SmartCrete CRC in the middle of September and lead the consolidation of the central services function, initially supporting the “Fast Start” and Round 1 research projects.

Warren commented “SmartCrete CRC is an exciting new opportunity for the cement and concrete supply chain and leading research institutions to collaborate on research aimed at improving the sustainability and durability of concrete in infrastructure. It provides an important vehicle for industry to address pressing research needs, assisted by the best Australian academic minds, to ensure that concrete can maintain its position in underpinning the Australian construction industry. I thank the Federal government in investing in this new venture as part of its Co-operative Research Centres program. As incoming CEO, I look forward to engaging with a wide variety of industry and academic partners to ensure the vision of fully integrated product development and systems capability is achieved”.

Warren joins the SmartCrete CRC following 9 successful years as Director – Research and Technical Services with Cement Concrete and Aggregates Australia (CCAA).

SmartCrete CRC has the objective of step changing the concrete ecosystem through improvements in cost, productivity and sustainability.

SmartCrete CRC alignment to Infrastructure Australia 2019 Infrastructure Audit Outcomes

In a recent post Peter Colacino (Chief Policy and Research at Infrastructure Australia) highlighted the need for a renewed focus to our thinking about resilience and sustainability, identified in the 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit*.

The report provides a valuable insight into the “Future of Uncertainty” and the subsequent challenges and opportunities facing Australia including the intersection between the demand for infrastructure, the user outcomes, industry capability, the escalation in costs, asset maintenance and sustainability.

The SmartCrete CRC (Cooperative Research Centre) is focussed on improved productivity, lower costs, improved asset management and the development of a sustainable supply chain.

Through outcomes-based R&D SmartCrete CRC is applying high level Technology Readiness Level (TRL) projects to deliver improvements in Concrete to facilitate the innovative design and construction of the next wave of infrastructure designed to stimulate the Australian economy.

SmartCrete CRC has three program areas designed to meet tomorrows needs with “Fast Start” projects for near term results and three further rounds of projects over the next seven years.

The Federal Government grant funding of $21m, supports the $69m raised in cash and in-kind contributions from industrial, government agencies and universities to support the $90m in research project across the three program areas:

  • Engineered Solutions – This program is concerned with improving the way we engineer concrete structures and includes development of smart cladding, reduced noise pavements, 3-d printed concrete structures, self-healing, fire resistance stronger and more durable concrete. lightweight concrete and safety in design.
  • Asset Management – This program is concerned with the way we manage our concrete assets and includes development of sensing systems to monitor structural health and usage, inform lifetime models and extend the service life of concrete infrastructure.
  • Sustainability – This program includes bio-concrete, use of artificial aggregate, CO2 absorbing concrete, luminescent concrete, energy producing concrete, waste disposal in concrete and cement less concrete.

These industry-led themes provide a forum for the development of truly cooperative research projects targeting specific industry outcome to address the productivity, cost, resilience and sustainability of the concrete industry.

Importantly, this focus provides an open environment to bring new players into the supply chain from for example the waste industry, with recycled product forming a key element of the future sustainability of the supply chain.

SmartCrete CRC is addressing the “Future of Uncertainty” with resilient and sustainable research outcomes, supporting new industries and skills development across Australia.

Stephen Harmer
Interim CEO

Research to make construction cheaper & safer

Making construction in Australia cheaper, without compromising safety or quality, will be the focus of two new industry led research centres being backed by the Morrison Government.

The Building 4.0 CRC will receive $28 million in government support, while the SmartCrete CRC will get $21 million to reduce the cost of concrete and improve productivity.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the work of the Building 4.0 CRC would provide Australians with lower cost, smart housing solutions and put Australia among the world leaders in the advanced manufacture of buildings.

“Affordable, sustainable and safe housing is something that concerns all Australians. It’s vital we do what we can to make construction more efficient and cost-effective, without reducing quality,” Minister Andrews said.

“Making sure our homes and apartments are built to the highest standards is particularly important given recent issues which have disrupted the lives of Aussie families and impacted confidence in the sector.”

The Building 4.0 CRC has set ambitious targets for its work, including cutting project costs by 30 per cent, an up to 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions and 80 percent reduction in construction waste.

Minister Andrews said the SmartCrete CRC also had the potential to drive down costs significantly without compromising safety or quality.

“Concrete is so essential to our building industry and public infrastructure projects that even small savings and increases in productivity can make a massive difference,” Minister Andrews said.

“It will allow us to get more bang for our buck, which is so important for the productivity and sustainability of Australian industries.”

The industry-led SmartCrete CRC has generated a further $69 million in cash and in-kind contributions from industry and researchers.

The Building 4.0 CRC has also generated a further $102.9 million in cash and in-kind
contributions from industry and researchers, with major partners including Lendlease, Bluescope and Master Builders.

Since 2013, the Government has committed $1.1 billion to support the establishment of 30 CRCs, with industry and research partners contributing $3.4 billion in cash and in-kind contributions.

Media contact: Minister Andrews’ office 02 6277 7070

$21m grant to boost to infrastructure productivity

Improving infrastructure productivity through reduced cost of concrete construction, improved durability and sustainability are among the goals of a Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) receiving $21 million in Australian Government grant funds.

The industry led SmartCrete CRC has generated a further $69 million in cash and inkind contribution from industry, government agencies, peak industry and professional bodies and researchers.

In making the announcement Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews noted that the SmartCrete CRC was very much aligned to the CRC program objectives of improving competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries.

“Concrete is so essential to our building industry and public infrastructure projects that even small cuts in cost and increases in productivity will have positive impacts on the sector and the community”, Minister Andrews said.

The SmartCrete CRC goal is to ensure the long-term viability of vital existing and future concrete infrastructure through improvement in cost, application and durability, while becoming a catalyst for a step change in whole of life asset management and the sustainability of the supply chain, including reducing our carbon footprint.

The SmartCrete CRC is a truly industry led collaborative research partnership bringing together the leading industry, research, agencies and associations from across Australia and globally, to focus on innovation covering Engineered Solutions, Asset Management and Sustainability.

Core research partner Macquarie University will host the SmartCrete CRC with research projects focussed on improved productivity, applying smart sensing in predictive asset management and the use of recycled materials in the supply chain.

Reflecting the close working relationship with industry, SmartCrete CRC will integrate updating Australian Standards, Skills and Capability development, Economic and risk modelling and industry development in all its programs.

Direct outcomes of applying new technologies such as 3D printing, AI, Sensing and new products will be the development of new industries, and opportunities in Universities and the VET sector, as well as new export markets to meet global supply chain requirements.

Funding announcement by the Minister for Industry, the Honourable Karen Andrews MP

Hello SmartCrete partners,

It is my great pleasure to announce that today the Minister for Industry, the Honourable Karen Andrews MP, announced that the SmartCrete CRC was awarded $21 million funding under the Cooperative Research Centre program. This provides our industry with a significant capability to improve the performance and prosperity of the sector. The SmartCrete CRC consortium has nearly $90 million of resources which will be deployed to realise the major opportunities for the concrete sector over the next 7 years.

Before we begin, we need to establish the CRC and formalise our arrangements with each and every one of you as well as the Commonwealth. We also need to put in place the appropriate governance, management and commercialisation arrangements. There is a LOT to do but we have an enthusiastic and expert team which includes our consultants CIS who have supported the bid development and Stephen Harmer who will continue in his Acting CEO role. We are committed to completing the necessary work activities with a sense of urgency so that the CRC can begin its important work as soon as possible.

Important activities in the near term include:

  • Developing our communication plan.
  • Creating the SmartCrete CRC corporate entity.
  • Finalising the program and project priorities and participants.
  • Completing Partnering agreements with all 68 partners.
  • Signing the Grant Agreement with the Federal government.

We will organise direct discussions with each partner organisation and will run a series of workshops for you all to attend with dates to be confirmed. The purpose of these discussions and workshops will be to ensure we understand how the CRC can be of most benefit to you, to describe the arrangements we need to put in place, what we need from each of you and ensure there is clear communication between us and all of the CRC partners.

We are underway with the most significant collaborative research effort into the concrete industry we have seen in Australia. We have $90 million to invest over the next 7 years to step change the industry and significantly improve the productivity of Australia.

I strongly encourage you to take this time to review the proposed programs and projects and either confirm or nominate your participation and make yourself available to attend the planned workshops. The more involved you are, the more you will benefit and the sooner we can begin the work that will be of benefit to you.

Should you have any questions please use the contacts shown on the SmartCrete CRC website or directly contact the Program leads.

Elizabeth Taylor
Chair Elect

Stephen Harmer
Interim CEO