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Australia to build $100m fibre research centre at Deakin University

A new $100 million Australian fibres research centre currently under construction at Deakin University is set to transform Australia's manufacturing and fibre related industries and the economy of the Geelong region.

The Australian Future Fibres Research and Innovation Centre (AFFRIC) is a collaboration between CSIRO, Deakin University and the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing and will position the region as an international hub for research in advanced fibrous materials.

The centre will see CSIRO and Deakin University researchers working together on a series of projects aimed at increasing the research capacity of both organisations to service the textile and fibre industry.

Research and development partnerships already underway include Quiksilver for material for action sportswear, the Australian Defence Force to develop smart fibres for use in uniform fabrics and the Cotton R&D Corporation to develop low twist, fine count yarns and fabrics from cotton.

The new centre will have a world-first, pilot scale research plant able to produce commercial quantities of carbon fibre which is at the core of a number of advanced materials used in aeronautical and other engineering applications. Its strength and light weight means carbon fibre will transform manufacturing.

The region is set to benefit from the project. Geelong is considered a centre of manufacturing – having CSIRO, Deakin University and local manufacturers working together.

The local Geelong economy is expected to benefit – the AFFRIC is expected to generate almost 500 indirect jobs in the region during the construction phase.

The AFFRIC is a collaboration between the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia's national science agency, Deakin University, and the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing.The AFFRIC will bring together expertise from around Australia in an international-standard hub and will allow Australian researchers to establish collaborations with researchers across the world.

Already 14 researchers ranging from PhD students through to professor level have been recruited and, when completed, the centre will support another 300 students and staff.

The Federal Government has invested $37 million from the Education Investment Fund in the centre which is being created by refurbishing Deakin University's Centre for Material Fibre and Innovation and building two new facilities-a Carbon Fibre Research Building and a Fibre Processing Building.

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