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The Australian Future Fibre Research and Innovation Centre (AFFRIC) is a collaborative relationship between Deakin University, CSIRO and the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing (VCAMM). AFFRIC's purpose is to conduct research focussing on all aspects of fibre manufacturing, including carbon fibre development. The Australian Carbon Fibre Research Facility (ACFRF), which includes construction of a pilot research plant capable of producing commercially relevant quantities of Carbon Fibre, is a collaboration between Deakin and VCAMM.
AFFRIC is supported by two major Government grants:
AFFRIC will not just focus on carbon fibre. A number of external reviews and reports, including the 2008 Commonwealth review of Australia's Textile, Clothing and Footwear (TCF) sector confirm the need for an innovative approach to address shortfalls in this sector. The Centre will also generate a range of innovative materials including nanomaterials, smart fibrous materials and green natural fibres, building research platforms in each of these areas to assist in the revitalisation of the TCF industry. These are all areas of existing research capability and active research engagement within Deakin's Institute for Technology and Research Innovation (ITRI), specifically within CMFI.
Deakin and CSIRO already undertake research projects in nanofibres, functional fibrous materials and green natural fibres. AFFRIC represents a natural expansion, providing the additional impetus, and capacity, to expand the research groups in each area through increased accommodation and co-location. CSIRO personnel will add capabilities to these groups, while further recruitment, underpinned by external grant and contract funding, will build capacity. Growth in fibre research will also contribute to cross-disciplinary research collaboration with researchers in the School of Engineering as well as in Deakin's recently established Strategic Research Centres, particularly in the:
The project is a collaboration between three partner organisations that will be co-located in the Geelong Technology Precinct at Deakin's Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus.
The researchers from Deakin's Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) bring an array of international collaborations with leading fibre centres, including Advanced Fibre Science CoE (Shinshu University, Japan); College of Textiles, North Carolina State University (North Carolina USA); University of Dayton in surface coating (Ohio USA); Tufts University in silk biomaterials Institute of Textile & Clothing (Medford, Massachusetts USA); Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hong Kong China).
Two new initiatives for Deakin include CATAS International Research Centre for Advanced Agricultural Materials to explore natural fibre functionalisation with the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural and the Science and Sino-Australia Initiative for Automotive Materials and Technologies with Herfei University, China to develop 'green' Carbon Fibre-based auto materials.
VCAMM is a technology management company formed by and representing a consortium of Victoria's leading research and development organisations consisting of the CSIRO, Deakin University, La Trobe University, Monash University and Swinburne University of Technology. Since the formation of VCAMM in 2002, these organisations have collaborated together in research programs in the materials and manufacturing areas. The Members have developed an operational structure where resources are shared and optimised, and where dynamic, reconfigurable and cross institutional research projects are routinely developed as opportunities arise.
Over the past 7 years VCAMM has developed an international network within the Automotive and Aerospace Industries that includes GM, Ford, Toyota, Boeing, Airbus, Spirit Aerosystems and Eurocopter. Additionally, over the past three years relationships have been developed with international Carbon Fibre manufacturers such as Hexcel, Toray, SGL, Cytek, Zoltek and AKSA. VCAMM has demonstrated ability to secure industry projects and to manage projects to completion on time and on budget. VCAMM has over $20M in industry projects under management at any one time and has been responsible for the commercialisation of IP into 5 successful spin-off companies worth over $35M. The application of their expertise to this project will help ensure its success.
VCAMM has a proven record of bringing value through the entrepreneurial matching of business needs and the capability of a network of R&&D providers, together with opportunities at a global level. VCAMM has successfully led large-scale collaborative projects including the formation of the AutoCRC and AMCRC and has delivered technology-based outcomes to Victorian businesses through projects with companies such as MicroHeat, HARD Technologies, Cytomatrix, and many other SMEs.
Although VCAMM employees do not actively participate in research, their level of engagement in the ACFRF will raise VCAMM's involvement in research management to a new level that maximises its availability for research. VCAMM will also be engaged in identifying industry research opportunities and matching partner expertise.
Co-locating CSIRO's textile and fibre capabilities at Deakin's Geelong Technology Precinct at Waurn Ponds will increase the research capacity of both organisations to service the textile and fibre industry and will provide access to industrial and pilot-scale facilities to translate research into end-user applications. Researchers have already begun to collaborate on a series of projects and CSIRO and Deakin have co-funded six PhD studentships within AFFRIC.
CSIRO staff based at AFFRIC have world leading capability in the production and manipulation of fibres on the nano-scale for new high performance fabrics, sensors and instruments. CSIRO aims to attract the best experienced and early career scientists from around the world and has set up a number of programs to support this aim. CSIRO has an established collaboration of shared supervision of PhD students with ITRI's Centre for Material and Fibre Innovation and it is a signatory to the VCAMM membership agreement (2002) along with Deakin and other members. To learn more about CMSE, our capabilities, our research and our people visit CMSE
Deakin also collaborates with other parts of CSIRO including the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong.