Deakin Secures $50M in Trailblazer Funding to Drive Green Manufacturing Revolution


Deakin’s Recycling and Renewable Energy Commercialization (REACH) Center is the latest Trailblazer University to be announced as part of a prestigious national program to address Australia’s national manufacturing priorities. Budgeted government funding will be matched with support from industry and academic partners for a total value of $380 million.

Through REACH, Deakin will work with governments, industry and education partners to establish a multi-billion dollar bioeconomy in Victoria focused on clean energy, recycling and greener supply chains.

The initiative will drive innovation and job creation in Geelong, West Victoria and beyond. The research-industry partnership is expected to generate more than $1.4 billion in revenue and 2,500 jobs over the next decade.

Alfred Deakin, Professor Julie Owens, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, said Deakin was delighted to be named the final successful candidate in the Trailblazer Universities program.

“The financial support from REACH will keep Deakin and Victoria at the forefront of the global green manufacturing revolution, and we acknowledge the generous support from our project partners and the Federal Government,” said Professor Owens.

“Recycling and renewable energy are key to reducing landfills, reliance on fossil fuels and the devastating costs of global warming. Materials and energy are essential to manufacturing. As global markets shift from a debit economy to a circular economy, the demand for greener and more resilient supply chains will continue to grow.

Professor Owens said REACH would capitalize on Deakin’s strengths in battery technology, carbon fibre, recycling and hydrogen, and those of Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, as well as industry, academic and TAFE, accelerating ideas into smart and sustainable manufacturing solutions.

“REACH will help build Australia’s sovereign capacity in key manufacturing priorities, driving the country’s largest recycling and clean energy advanced manufacturing ecosystem. By strengthening onshore research, development and production opportunities, we can ensure that our manufacturers are more globally competitive.

“REACH will help create a model for rapid and successful translation of research into commercialization, increasing Australia’s competitiveness on a wider range of technological advances. »

Professor Iain Martin, Deakin’s vice-chancellor, said Trailblazer’s successful bid was an important recognition of the university as a national leader in research commercialization and collaboration.

“Deakin has a strong intellectual property (IP) pipeline and an enviable track record of successfully engaging industry to create positive impact,” said Professor Martin.

“This funding will allow Deakin to work with progressive and innovation-driven industry partners, leveraging huge market opportunities for recycling and clean energy technologies to deliver carbon-neutral solutions. As a result, REACH will drive a revolution in sustainable manufacturing, pushing the boundaries of technological innovation and delivering solutions for a cleaner, greener future.

Deakin Research Innovations executive director Ross Mahon said forward estimates calculated REACH industry partners would generate $1.4 billion in revenue within 10 years.

“Through the REACH program, we will create more than 2,500 jobs within 10 years and provide a solid technological platform for new investments during this period, which will lead to up to 7,000 jobs,” said Mr. Mahon.

“Collaboration with universities and TAFE institutes will create a workforce ready and skilled in emerging technologies, and a high number of graduates will feed the companies associated with REACH.

“Over 40% of the companies involved are small and medium sized companies which will do 80% of the work in the Australian region. Deakin’s proven production and pilot facilities will provide a springboard for next-level commercialization both locally and overseas, resulting in continued economic and employment benefits.

The first research-industry partnership projects supported by REACH include:

  • establish an Australian supply chain for the manufacture of advanced technology batteries with greater energy density and shorter charging times;
  • strengthen local capacities for the storage and use of hydrogen on a broad technological basis; and
  • converting organic and inorganic waste into higher value products, including a major soft plastic recycling project in a closed-loop system.

REACH will engage researchers from Federation University, RMIT University, Swinburne University of Technology and the University of Southern Queensland, alongside CSIRO, Gordon Institute of TAFE, Bendigo Kangan Institute, South West TAFE, Holmesglen Institute of TAFE, Wodonga TAFE and Swinburne TAFE.

Industry partners include Li-S Energy, Scale Facilitation™, BNNT Technology Limited, Calix Limited, Oztron Energy, Sydney Seaplanes, Gen 2 Carbon, HB11 Energy, Carbon Revolution, Clean Energy Resources Australia, White Graphene, Quickstep, Viva Energy Australia, JET Technology Corporation, HeiQ, Pro-Pac Packaging, Opal Australian Paper, Active Research, Sustainable Energy Equities Holdings Limited, Cyto-Matrix and Xefco.

REACH leverages Deakin’s end-to-end renewable energy and recycling manufacturing capabilities and its thriving “future economy” commercialization ecosystem at its Waurn Ponds, Warrnambool and Burwood campuses, including :

  • ManuFutures – Australia’s leading advanced manufacturing incubator/accelerator
  • Institute for Frontier Materials – a leading materials science research institute
  • Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation Institute – leader in research and development in the fields of robotics, haptics and human-machine interfaces
  • Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute – leaders in industry-driven transformational AI
  • BatTRI-Hub – world-class battery technology research and translation center, including commercialization of energy storage
  • Renewable Energy Microgrid – a 7.25 megawatt solar power system and associated research center
  • Hycel – one of Australia’s premier facilities for testing, manufacturing, optimizing and training new hydrogen technologies
  • Carbon Nexus – carbon fiber and composites research center
  • Circular Economy Initiative – focused on energy materials, carbon fiber and composites, organics and others
  • AquaFI Hub – state-of-the-art aquaculture research and innovation center
  • Faculty of Science, Engineering and the Built Environment – ​​research expertise in renewable energy, recycling and manufacturing

If you are interested in partnering or collaborating with REACH, visit


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