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$50 million to develop new energy technology in the Hunter and Sydney

The federal government will invest $50 million to create a new business and research partnership with UNSW and the University of Newcastle (UON), creating 1,600 jobs over the next four years. 

UNSW and UON will work with 27 industry partners, including 23 small businesses, to develop world-leading technology in solar, hydrogen, storage and green metals, and rapidly deploy new technology solutions. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the UNSW-UON partnership is the third Trailblazer to receive funding through the Trailblazer program, which is designed to focus Australia’s considerable research power on Australia’s National Manufacturing Priorities. 

“Our economic plan is supercharging Australia’s research and development, creating more jobs and helping to build a strong economy and a stronger future,” Morrison said. 

“We are investing in new clean energy technology to turbo charge our significant investments in hydrogen to create jobs around Australia, particularly in the Hunter.” 

Acting minister for Education and Youth, Stuart Robert, said the UNSW-UON partnership and its industry collaborators have promised more than $220 million in co-investment, matching public funding by around four to one. 

“The co-investment of industry partners, and especially by the 23 partner small businesses, shows that Australian industry is hungry to collaborate with universities to unleash a new wave of technology and innovation,” Robert said. 

“This project will help harness the cutting-edge clean energy research being done in our top universities, including in hydrogen, solar, and green metals. This Trailblazer funding means more jobs right here in Australia, a stronger research and development sector and a stronger economy.” 

The Trailblazer has an ambitious set of clean energy technological advances, including: 

  • Meet the need for lightweight hydrogen storage that can deliver for transport and fuel replacement needs; 
  • Extend the success of Green Steel technology to other metals such as aluminium; 
  • Develop Australian-first zero emissions aviation in a form suitable for regional aircraft; 
  • Develop ultra-low-cost solar with cutting-edge engineering; and 
  • Build the first at-scale printed solar manufacturing plant, providing the step-change needed to vault the technology to full commercialisation. 

The UNSW-UON partnership is the third successful Trailblazer to be announced, with further announcements expected in coming weeks. 

The UNSW-UON partnership was selected as a Trailblazer from a two-stage competitive assessment process where universities were required to submit expressions and interest and then more detailed business cases. 

The federal government has invested $362 million in the Trailblazer Universities program with an initial $243 million announced in November last year and an additional $119 million through the regional accelerator announced in the Budget. This is part of the government’s $2.2 billion University Research Commercialisation Action Plan, which will focus the considerable research power of our universities on Australia’s National Manufacturing Priorities. 

Liberal candidate for Shortland, Nell McGill, said the announcement was yet another positive for the Hunter. 

“When it comes to investment in jobs and clean energy innovation, the Morrison government is heavily favouring the Hunter region by investing here,” McGill said. 

“That’s because we have the tech brilliance, both in our private sector and within the Newcastle University, that I believe, will see our region produce new and improved sources of clean energy, and other innovations. 

“This further support from the Morrison government for our wonderful region provides jobs for us, and for our future generations. It’s just more great news.” 

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