The University of Newcastle, Australia

Signalling progress for critical energy transformation

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Assistant Minister for Science, Karen Andrews today visited the University of Newcastle's internationally renowned Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER) facility to acknowledge a dual milestone – the official opening of a new research wing and launch of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Advanced Technologies for Australian Iron Ore.

The opening of the new building at NIER marks the culmination of five years of labour, $30 million Australian Government funding from the Education Investment Fund (EIF) and $2.2 million NSW Government support.

Director of NIER, Dr Alan Broadfoot said while the progress signaled an exciting new age of industrial innovation, it was also important to reflect on the Hunter's proud energy and resources history.

"The site of NIER at the Callaghan campus has a historical importance as the former BHP Billiton Newcastle Technology Centre – one of the first industrial research labs in Australia, delivering innovations and excellence in areas such as chemistry, metallurgy and the manufacture of steel."

The legacy of this research continues through NIER's latest research hub – the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Advanced Technologies for Australian Iron Ore, funded jointly by a $3.2 million grant from the ARC and a further $3 million in industry funds.

The Australia-first hub will be dedicated to future-proofing Australia's iron ore production and exports and will be driven by acclaimed NIER researchers including Laureate Professor Kevin Galvin, creator of the Reflux Classifier.

Dr Broadfoot said through the new hub and other research groups, NIER would continue to build strong partnerships with industry.

"The success of the NIER model is a result of industry and academia working collaboratively to accelerate innovation and develop key technologies to support the energy sector."

The NIER precinct will now house more than 350 staff working across a variety of fields in the energy and resources sector.

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