The Center for Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing in Brisbane is the first independent manufacturing innovation hub in Australia to be granted Chartered Research Institute status, two years after its establishment.
The new status of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) hub has been approved by CSIRO and allows the design-focused robotics, AI and manufacturing center to undertake its own internal research projects. This will run alongside existing business services, including project management, engagement and learning services.
Before becoming an approved research institute, the cluster had to conduct research projects via its university partners.
Currently, the cluster is working with around fifty researchers project by project. Intellectual property generated through a partnership with the ARM hub is generally retained by the partner to facilitate commercialization, unless otherwise specified in a research program.
The hubs’ goal is to reduce the risks associated with the adoption, development and commercialization of technology through its network of experts, academic partners and CSIRO partners.
Working with a large number of Australian technology companies, the ARM Hub is also a member of the World Economic Forum and has a global technology partnership with Microsoft. It also undertakes research programs with overseas-based research institutions and universities.
The ARM Hub has raised over $40 million in project funding for industry through research grants, industry grants, and private investments since its inception in 2020. ARM Hub’s CEO, Dr. Cori Stewart, predicts the fundraising rate will increase to $30 million a year now. that it is an accredited research institute.
Dr Stewart said that while there is a history of medical institutes becoming Accredited Research Institutes (ARIs), to his knowledge, the ARM Hub is the first independent, not-for-profit ARI in scientific and technical fields. wider.
Dr Stewart attributes this to a lack of investment in Australian manufacturing.
“Australia has had very little investment and hasn’t had long strategic oversight of what manufacturing really needs to do its industrial transformation,” Dr Stewart said.
She added that the ARM Hub is based on the practices of Catapult Innovation Centers in the UK and Manufacturing Institutes in the US. Independent entities with big budgets in Sweden, Israel, Singapore and Canada are also helping to engage “research capabilities in a commercial setting with industry and smart technology companies to accelerate and scale up manufacturing.”
“Australia has never had this infrastructure. He never had this vision of continuous investment and the scale of investment that these examples have had and which over time have shown lasting success in building a manufacturing industry,” said said Dr. Stewart.
“[We need to] look at these successful models and think carefully about how we can change the systems because I would say the system is down in Australia right now.
In particular, she said manufacturing investments under the previous federal government were “a bit disjointed.” Dr Stewart has high hopes for the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund promised by the Albanian government and the “possibility that he has a longer-term view of what is possible for this country in terms of outcomes workmanship and durability.
As R&D investment in Australia continues to fall across the private, public and academic sectors, Dr Stewart said innovation hubs such as the ARM Center can provide some relief. However, she stressed that as “industry looks to invest, others will follow.”
“What the ARM hub does is that the results and the systems around it are tailored to get the results that industry needs. You can’t kind of institute it from a university or a government level, it has to be industry driven, so we need structures like the ARM hub and hopefully there will be others that put the needs of industry first.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, more than 99% of Australian businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Dr Stewart says they are unlikely to have access to the typical research infrastructure and grants that universities like to invest in. She said that universities prefer investments over several years, which “is simply not the reality of an SME”.
“So many things can happen to SMEs and small businesses. They can actually pivot or make some really big changes to what their company does and how they do business. They can’t commit to always being on the path to developing and commercializing the technology over, say, three to five years,” Dr Stewart said.
In the short term, the hub will continue its defense and medical programs. It will also seek to help companies achieve their net zero ambitions.
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