The Victorian Government is continuing to push for the state to become a major exporter of ‘small technologies’, announcing the launch of a new $57 million research facility, the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication.
The facility, claimed by Victorian Premier, John Brumby, as the largest research facility of its kind in the southern hemisphere, will help facilitate collaboration on projects such as self cleaning paint and next generation batteries.
It will also give Victorian businesses and researchers access to technology and expertise needed to develop commercial nanotechnology products.
The Melbourne Small Technologies Cluster defines small technologies as convergent technologies underpinned by nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, microtechnology and advanced engineering technologies.
The Centre is being funded in part by a $15 million grant from the Victorian Government and a matching $15 million from the Commonwealth Government.
Funding is also being supplied by the CSIRO, Monash University, Deakin University, La Trobe University, Swinburne University of Technology, The University of Melbourne and RMIT University.
Citing Commonwealth Government figures, the Victorian Government said nanotechnology could be worth up to $50 billion to the Australian economy in new products and processes by 2015.
The launch of the centre is the latest in a stream of small technology initiatives this year, beginning with the April announcement that the Victorian Government would cough up $10.5 million to help fund the development of ‘small technologies’ in the state.
In March, the Victorian Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development (DIIRD) said it would launch a three-year Small Technologies Industry Uptake Program (STIUP) aimed at boosting Victorian business’ capacity to adopt and integrate small technologies.
The STIUP is aimed at encouraging businesses to explore the use of small technologies to solve problems, enhance existing products or increase their competitiveness and improve access by businesses to small technologies experts and facilities within publicly funded institutions and service providers.