What is a CRC?

The Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program was established by the Federal Government in 1990 to improve the effectiveness of Australia’s research efforts by bringing together researchers in the public and private sectors with the end users. The CRC Program links researchers with industry and government with a focus towards research application with a strong focus on IP integration. Enabling access between researchers and the end users is the defining characteristic of the Program which further helps develop and plan the direction of research as well as to monitor its progress. Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) grants support medium to long term industry led collaborations.

What is SmartCrete CRC?

SmartCrete Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) was granted $21m in March 2020 from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s to conduct research into improvements in the cost, productivity, and sustainability of concrete. The very first Co-operative Research Centre for concrete of its kind in Australia. SmartCrete CRC will broker, manage, and guarantee high quality research and end-user partnerships to deliver economic, environmental and social benefits to Australia.

How do I apply?

Complete the online SmartCrete CRC Preliminary Proposal, please provide extensive detail regarding your project and we will advise accordingly if you have successfully made it to the next round where you will submit a full proposal.

What does it cost to become a partner?

What are the benefits of becoming a partner?

Benefits of becoming a partner are varied and tailored to meet the needs of our partner categories. Tabled below as key benefits designed to attract different large medium and small sized corporations, state government departments, and National and International research providers.

Membership of the company
Receive royalties from project IP
First rights to IP through Project Agreements
Influence and input into research investment plan
Access to pilot programs and CRC facilities
Access to industry embedded PhD program
Nominate Board members
Recommend projects for investment
Be represented in project development
Early awareness of emerging technologies

You can find out more about SmartCrete CRC’s Partner Values here (PDF)

What is the process involved in getting funding?

Complete the online SmartCrete CRC Preliminary Proposal form and submit for an initial assessment. Should the project be considered relevant to SmartCrete CRC research objectives, the Project Development and Approval Process will be followed.

You can find out more about the Project Development and Approval Process here (PDF)

Can partners tie their funding to a specific research project?

Core partners are able to nominate their priority projects and have their contributions tied to these projects. In addition, Core Partners can have their funding tied by nominating other projects of interest being proposed by other partners. One of the major benefits of being a Core Partner is they can access all projects with matched funding across the CRC rather than have it confined to a specific project.

The benefits of a Core Partner is restricted by the cash contributions made to projects. If they are the only cash contributing industrial partner all benefits will go to the Core Partner. If they provide only a small share of the cash funding, then they will receive a small share of the proceeds. SmartCrete CRC will need to track and account for the proportion of contributions made by partners in their system.
Supporting industrial partners can nominate one project over the life of the CRC for which they have their funding tied provided the project meets normal competitiveness criteria.

Should these projects not meet normal competitiveness criteria then this tied funding will be preserved for future projects.

Associate and Affiliate partners are not able to tie any of their contributions to a specific project.

Research partners are not able to tie their contributions to specific projects.

Can partners be given a refund if they do not get a project funded?

No. Partners are, however, able to withdraw from the CRC by giving 1 years written notice. If a new partner joins for a specific project and that project is not funded, they can opt to have their contributions refunded. Otherwise, SmartCrete CRC can retain the contributions for projects that the partner nominates to participate in moving forward.

What share of benefits do Partners receive?

Partners will receive benefits based on the individual Project Agreements negotiated dependent upon each Partner’s allocated tier. In broad terms these Project Agreements will work on the following principals:

  • Core Partners will have commercialisation rights to Project IP at no cost and retain all benefits from commercialisation of the associated IP. Where there are multiple industrial partners, these rights will be shared depending on their contributions to the project and their level of partnership.
  • Supporting Partners will have rights to use Project IP at a discounted rate and receive the benefits from the commercialisation of the IP.
  • Affiliate and Associate Partners will only be able to access IP on a commercial basis.

Can I join as an affiliate Partner with zero cash contribution and contribution additional cash to a project?


I am only interested in one project, can I join SmartCrete CRC as a member of that project only?

SmartCrete CRC are governed by the principles determined for Co-Operative Research Centres. All partners or project participants are required to become a Partner of SmartCrete CRC. Monetary and In-Kind contributions are reported quarterly to the Commonwealth. Becoming a Partner to SmartCrete CRC allows an entity to then become a participant in a Research Project. It is advisable to become familiar with the Research Guidelines (llnk) to understand the implications of research participation.

Who owns the IP from a research project?

As a default, SmartCrete CRC will own IP but beneficial rights will be given to partners to use the IP in line with the Project Agreement, which will be negotiated based on each project party’s partner tier.

Who pays for the IP protection?

The cost of maintaining the IP will be in proportion to the share of benefits for the IP. For example, a Core Partner receiving all the benefits of the IP will be expected to pay the associated costs. For Associate and Affiliate partners where the CRC enters a commercial arrangement with these partners the CRC will be expected to pay the associated costs.

When giving industrial partners access to IP can they use the IP anywhere and for anything?

No. Access to IP is restricted to the geographic territories and the markets in which industrial partners operate. The IP can also only be used for its intended purpose or field(s) of use.

Do you have to be in the CRC for 7 years to be a Core Partner?

Foundation partners do not have to commit to being a Core Partner in the CRC for the full 7-year term of the CRC. Average contributions must equal or exceed the minimum cash threshold for the entire term of the CRC.

Partners joining after the CRC has been awarded but prior to the first AGM of the CRC, must commit for the entire 7-year term of the CRC. Average contributions must equal or exceed the minimum cash threshold for the entire term of the CRC.

For partners joining when the CRC is established, they must be a partner for the remaining life of the CRC. Average contributions must equal or exceed the minimum cash threshold for the remaining term of the CRC.

Who owns the background IP?

Background IP remains the property of the IP owner. If background IP is required for commercialisation purposes the CRC (or owner of the foreground IP) will be provided with the rights to use this background IP for commercial purposes. Returns for the use of this background IP will come from the distribution of CRC proceeds which will be determined by the CRC Board of Directors.

What value is given to background IP that used in projects?

Background IP will be provided as an in-kind contribution to projects.

Who gets the commercial returns from the CRCs share of any commercial proceeds?

As a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee with charitable status, the CRC will be required to re-invest all revenue back into its objectives e.g. research for the benefit of the concrete ecosystem.

Where an appropriate legal structure can be established, the CRC will distribute the proceeds back to all partners. Partners share of this distribution will be at the discretion of the Board of Directors.

What happens to IP that falls outside of the markets, geographic territories, or field of use of our partners?

The CRC will take carriage of exploiting IP that falls outside Partner Agreements to ensure partners and the industry can receive additional benefits of research outputs.

How long does the industrial partner have to commercialise their IP?

Partners are given 12 months to commercialise IP.

Do international partners have the same commercial arrangements as domestic partners?

Commercial terms will be negotiated in the Project Agreements and based on each partner’s tier and not on their geographical location. However, it should be noted that most international partners are participating in SmartCrete CRC at a lower tier and generally, Australian industry will need to obtain benefit from any commercial arrangements with international partners.

What if the lead industrial partner wants IP made available through an ‘open source’ arrangement?

This will be accommodated for those projects where it is requested by a Core industrial partner and they are major industrial contributor. This IP will be made available to the SmartCrete CRC commercialisation company.

What if the lead industrial partner wants the IP but the project has a supporting partner that wants the IP made available through an ‘open source’ arrangement?

The lead industrial partner will have access to IP as per the standard IP terms. A partner who wants open-source IP but is not a Core or lead industrial partner, will have to decide whether they will participate in the project under this arrangement.

Can partners determine how much of their funding is spend on a project?

Projects must have a lead industrial partner who can nominate the share of their contributions directed towards each project. The Board of Directors however will, ultimately determine the share of partner and Commonwealth funding directed to each project.

Research partners cannot determine where their research contributions will be spent as their research partners receive a return through the commissioning of research projects. If the research partner has brought in the lead industrial partner to the CRC, the research partners preferred level of contributions to the project will be considered by the Board.

What are the timelines for the next round of applications?

All project submissions will follow the Project Development and Approval Process following the initial Preliminary Proposal submission. The timeline will be governed by the availability of the committees to sit and review each step with final board approval to be conducted by circular resolution.

What do I use when I need to acknowledge SmartCrete CRC in a presentation or document?

We would like to acknowledge this project has been made possible by funding from Smartcrete CRC.