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New water research institute takes aim at innovation and collaboration

In an effort to accelerate innovation in food, water, energy and resources, the University of Newcastle has launched a new research cluster group to better collaborate with industry.

The Global Impact Cluster for Energy, Resources, Food and Water (GIC ERFW) aims to support focused industry engagement, transdisciplinary research collaboration and commercial output.

“The GIC ERFW will connect to the university’s Integrated Innovation Network, linking our students and researchers with a wide range of industry partners to accelerate front-line innovation,” said GIC ERFW Executive Director Professor Alan Broadfoot.

The GIC ERFW will also leverage existing research capabilities within the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources, Broadfoot said.

“We aim to grow a connective network to empower our researchers and students to work collaboratively to tackle global challenges and deliver technologies with impact,” he said.

The GIC ERFW advisory board is made up of a “mix of industry representatives who possess the expertise, leadership, skills and knowledge in relevant sectors”, the university said.

Members include Veolia Australia and NZ Executive General Manager for Growth Rod Naylor, Hunter Water Corporation Managing Director Jim Bentley, and CRC CARE Environmental Consultant and Board Director Rod Lukatelich.

The GIC ERFW is the first of four clusters expected to launch over the next two years.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Kevin Hall said the clusters would work across disciplines and national boundaries to drive innovation, business development, commercialisation and impact.

“GICs are enablers for industry collaboration and research translation at a broad level,” said Hall.

“The GICs will be adaptive and change to meet global and national trends, aligning with government and industry sector priorities. We hope they will help to shape the development of new models for collaboration and competition in multidisciplinary research and provide global leadership into the future.”