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13 December 2013
Deakin University has appointed former Federal Minister the Honourable Simon Crean to Chair an Advisory Board overseeing a new carbon fibre research facility at its Geelong campus and broader industry development.
Deakin Vice-Chancellor Jane den Hollander said Mr Crean would bring extensive experience and expertise to the role, particularly around industry engagement, skills and regional development.
“Simon Crean has a long and distinguished record of driving partnerships, policies and opportunities across regional Australia,” Professor den Hollander said.
“Mr Crean served in the Australian Parliament for 23 years and held a wide range of portfolios including science and technology, primary industries, employment and training, education, regional development, the arts and local government.
“He oversaw policies to establish Cooperative Research Centres to build university-industry collaborations, restructure the wool industry and establish drought relief systems.
“In education, Mr Crean expanded the Australian Education International offices in Asia and established Cooperative Multimedia Centres to bring together educational, cultural and commercial communities. In recent years, he has emphasised the importance of increasing educational and training opportunities in the regions.”
Professor den Hollander said Mr Crean’s experience linking education and industry positioned him strongly to lead an Advisory Board that will oversee the growth of the Carbon Nexus facility.
“Carbon Nexus demonstrates Deakin’s strong commitment to our region, building the research and industry partnerships to create the jobs of the future – in Geelong and across the country,” she said. “I look forward to working with Mr Crean and the Advisory Board as those partnerships develop.”
In welcoming the appointment, Professor den Hollander also announced Deakin University’s Council had resolved to award Mr Crean an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.
“Mr Crean’s long-standing contribution across regional development, education, governance and policy, together with the arts and social inclusion, aligns with our commitment to widening access to university study,” she said.
“Deakin University is pleased to recognise this contribution, particularly as we strive to make a difference to the communities we serve.”
Mr Crean said he was greatly honoured to be working in partnership with Deakin University: “I firmly believe that embedding localism will enable universities to provide education and research that connects with the skills and needs of the community.”
“Regional universities play a vital role in the economic, cultural and social development of their communities. Deakin is an important driver of growth and innovation across Geelong and the broader region. The University has a strong history of providing accessible, quality education and I look forward to helping it play an even greater role in responding to the challenges we face as a nation.”
Carbon Nexus – Background
Deakin University’s $34 million Carbon Nexus research facility is part of the $103 million Australian Future Fibres Research and Innovation Centre (AFFRIC) at its Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus.
Carbon Nexus was developed by Deakin University and VCAMM with support provided by the State Government’s Victorian Science Agenda Investment Fund and the Federal Government’s Education and Investment Fund (EIF) along with significant investment by Deakin.
The international carbon fibre industry has been in existence for quite some time, however the material is still costly to produce and this restricts mainstream applications and usage.
Carbon Nexus is home to researchers, laboratories and a pilot scale carbon fibre line capable of producing up to 50 tonnes of aerospace grade carbon fibre each year as well as a smaller single-tow research line.
Earlier this month, both the 20-tonne pilot scale line and the single-tow research line produced their first carbon fibre from precursor provided by an industry partner.
Full commissioning of the carbon fibre lines has just been completed, with the first research projects with industry on the lines commencing immediately in 2014.
Members of the Carbon Nexus Advisory Board will be announced at a later date. Once established, the Board’s key functions will include:
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