Expanding Australia’s contamination science effort

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Australia's leading contamination and remediation research organisation will be based at the University of Newcastle (UON) from March 2015, in a move that extends the latest clean-up science to a wider range of the nation's major industries.


The managing director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE), Professor Ravi Naidu, said the expansion of the CRC would position the Centre to tackle pollution problems from some of Australia's most important energy, manufacturing and processing industries, including those based in NSW.

CRC CARE was set up in 2005 as a research network covering the whole of Australia to tackle the critical areas of contamination assessment and remediation, with the goal of cutting Australia's pollutants and improving the health of its people, cities, food, soil, air and water.

The CRC's head office will move from the Mawson Lakes campus of the University of South Australia (UniSA) to UON to capture fresh opportunities in industrial clean-up through close collaboration with the flagship Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER), he said.

"The CRC will continue to operate in South Australia as before, carrying out research at purpose-built facilities at UniSA, which will also house our important work around national clean-up regulations", Prof Naidu said. "The CRC CARE Board strongly supports a vibrant Adelaide node, which we intend to grow over the next five years.

"As a CRC we operate as a virtual network of 28 different research, industry and government organisations, covering the whole of Australia and extending our research partnerships into places such as China, India, Bangladesh and South Korea.

"The decision by UON to join the CRC is most welcome, as the university is famous for its work in engineering, resources and energy – areas of research that are crucial to our mission.

UON joins Australia's finest collective team of contamination specialists, who are based across the country at UniSA, the University of Queensland, the University of Technology Sydney, Curtin University, Southern Cross University, CSIRO, RMIT University and the WA Chemistry Centre.

In the past 10 years, the CRC has made a major contribution to a cleaner Australia by developing leading-edge assessment and remediation methods and testing them in the field at sites owned by some of the nation's largest mining, energy and industrial firms.

"Australia has an estimated 160,000 potentially contaminated sites," said Prof Naidu. "Asia has three million and the world overall is estimated to have more than five million. These sites affect the lives and health of more than a hundred million people – including millions of children – every day.

"With our wide alliance of industry partners, government regulators and scientists, CRC CARE is determined that Australia will make a material difference to this problem, which is both national and global. The participation of UON will further strengthen our ability to do so."

"We are determined to create a cleaner, safer and healthier future for the world."

UON Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President - Global Engagement and Partnerships Professor Kevin Hall said the University of Newcastle is delighted to be joining CRC CARE.

"UON is proud to be the new base for the world-class research conducted by Professor Naidu and his team.

"The relocation of the CRC is great news for our region too as issues of balanced land use are particularly important to industry and communities across the Hunter. Professor Naidu's work will complement and enhance the industry engagement and impact of the research carried out NIER and particularly the International Research Centre for Balanced Land Use," said Professor Hall.

The International Centre for Balanced Land Use is a joint initiative between the NSW Trade and Investment's Department of Primary Industries and Division of Resources and Energy, and UON. Based at NIER, the Centre will provide independent research to develop a clear evidence-based framework to solve the complex challenges of balanced land use.

UniSA Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Innovation, Professor Tanya Monro said the CRC's move to NSW would give the research group new scope but still enable significant contributions from UniSA's highly capable environmental remediation experts.

"We wish the Centre's headquarters well in its relocation and we will be continuing to make a vibrant contribution to this industry sector through our industry partnerships and as part of the CRC's activities," Prof Monro said.

"UniSA is one of Australia's largest contributors to research with industry through the Cooperative Research Centre system and is now a partner in 11 CRCs nationally ranging from Big Data and Cell Therapy Manufacture to Low Carbon Living."

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