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Collaborative research critical to competitiveness: Australian chemistry industry

The need to create more opportunities for manufacturing innovation capabilities along the value chain was a major focus at the 2014 Australian chemistry industry's National Conference, "Manufacturing our Future", held this week in Melbourne.

During the highly anticipated panel discussion ‘Driving the Innovation Edge’, presenters called for a long-term national vision for innovation, including a greater investment in STEM education, and improved relationships between industry, academia and the government.

Panel presenters included Mr Ross Pilling from BASF, Dr Greg Simpson from CSIRO and Professor Scott O'Neill from Monash University.

The panel delivered the consistent message that a collaborative approach, with much tighter connections between academia and industry, will be crucial to maximising the potential of innovation.

“To grow, we need to rethink and to innovate. We need a national, strategically-aligned vision for industry that can support the great place we live in. And we need to let our competitive industries be competitive on the world stage,” said Mr Pilling.

The Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association (PACIA) CEO Samantha Read said, “Australia’s extremely valuable technology and research base relies on the strong interconnectivity of manufacturing with innovation. If we want the chance to make the next breakthrough technology in Australia tomorrow, we need to be investing in manufacturing today.

“The new Chemicals and Plastics Innovation Network and Training Program, announced on Wednesday night by Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier Craig Ondarchie, is a significant step towards improving our success rate of bringing research through to commercialisation.

“We have seen a tremendous response from industry to this initiative. This is recognition of the vital importance of strong collaboration between academia, the research community and industry in helping to drive innovation. The role of innovation in helping to create competitive advantage for the Australian chemistry industry, cannot be overstated,” said Ms Read.

The Chemicals and Plastics Innovation Network and Training Program is led by Monash University and PACIA, and underpinned by support from the Victorian Government Department of State Development, Business and Innovation (DSDBI). It will have an initial investment of $5.9M including in-kind support, in an innovative co-founding partnership between over 20 industry participants, the State Government and academia.

“The Australian chemicals and plastics industry is a critical enabler and solutions provider to 109 of Australia’s 111 industries. Investment and innovation in the Australian chemistry industry also has the power to multiply through these supply chains, exponentially increasing benefits,’ said Ms Read.


Media contact:  Claire Selby, [email protected], 0448 028 876.
Released 18 September 2014


PACIA is the pre-eminent national body representing Australia¹s $40bn chemistry industry, whose businesses directly employ 60,000 people and contribute approximately 11.5% of total Australian manufacturing production. PACIA members comprise a broad range of companies positioned across the entire value chain.  Members include chemicals manufacturers, importers and distributors, logistics and supply chain partners, raw material suppliers, plastics fabricators and compounders, chemicals and plastics recyclers and service providers to the industry.  These businesses range from small family-owned companies and innovative medium-sized enterprises, to leading national and multinational enterprises.

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