Australian Government has provided a $70 million grant to set up a new Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre to bring together national and international expertise in aquaculture, marine renewable energy and marine engineering as part of a collaborative effort between industry, researchers and the community.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said that the Blue Economy CRC, which will be headquartered at the University of Tasmania in Launceston, would develop innovative and sustainable offshore industries to increase Australian seafood and offshore renewable energy production.
“The Liberal National Government has undertaken to double the current value of our aquaculture industry to $2 billion a year by 2027 through the National Aquaculture Strategy.
“The activities and outcomes of the CRC will directly address a number of key priority areas identified in the strategy – our aim is to improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries.
“The CRC Program is a proven model of industry and research cooperation that produces impressive commercial results,” Karen Andrews said.
The Blue Economy CRC will focus on five key areas identified by industry: Offshore Engineering and Technology, Seafood and Marine Products, Offshore Renewable Energy Systems, the Environment and Ecosystems and Sustainable Offshore Developments.
It will provide for 50 Postdoctoral fellowships and 50 PhDs across the five research areas to train cross-discipline specialist scientist and engineers unique to the aquaculture, offshore renewable energy and engineering sectors.
Liberal Senator for Tasmania Richard Colbeck said: “As an island state with strong research capacity, we are globally competitive when it comes to marine-based industries and this new initiative supports jobs across Tasmania.
“The CRC will create 100 high-level research, science and engineering jobs in the state and is already set to attract an additional $258 million of investment in Tasmania’s economy from world-class companies and institutions.”
The CRC, which has national and international partners, has generated more than $258 million in cash and in-kind contributions from participants to add to the $70 million grant, which will be paid over 10 years.