While we have the choice in the research sector to work independently, now more than ever, it’s in Australia’s best interest to share the scarce resources that we have and collaborate, writes Deputy Director for CSIRO Mineral Resources, Dr Steve Harvey.

Article from resourceful: Issue 10

RESEARCH PERSPECTIVE

Dr Steve Harvey leaning against a terraced plant

Dr Steve Harvey, Deputy Director of CSIRO Mineral Resources

Greater collaboration is key to building both the capability and capacity that the Australian research community needs to tackle industry's biggest research and development (R&D) challenges. No single research institution has the available resources or the financial capacity to maintain the breadth or depth of capability required.

One of the key priorities in CSIRO’s Strategy 2020 is to create a collaboration hub. This is focusing our efforts on working closely with our research, industry and government partners to enhance Australia’s innovation performance.

We've committed to deepening our partner relationships with universities and other research organisations in the Australian innovation system to access a broader pool of external capability and to increasing its contribution to building a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and innovation capable workforce for the nation.

What differentiates CSIRO in Australia's innovation ecosystem, is our ability to assemble multidisciplinary teams to tackle the big applied R&D challenges.

However, we rarely have all of the capabilities required, which is why collaboration with other research providers is so important. 

Of course, we have a long history of collaboration on minerals R&D. Over a 20-year period, CSIRO has played a leading role in no fewer than seven Cooperative Research Centres in areas as diverse as geodynamics, geophysics, regolith and computational geoscience, mining technologies, and hydrometallurgy. Through these collaborative ventures, we have been able to deliver profound impact to the global minerals industry.

That's why, when CSIRO decided to re-establish a significant market presence in hard rock mining to complement its world-class exploration, ore sorting and processing capabilities, an obvious approach was to partner with Australia's pre-eminent mining R&D entity –CRCMining.

The partnership between CSIRO and CRCMining has created the world’s largest mining research venture, Mining3.

Not only does Mining3 bring together each organisation's world-class capabilities in hard rock mining, it connects CSIRO's new digital innovation arm, Data61. This strengthens our ability to advance developments in sensor technologies and automation to shape mining for the future.

Mining3 will have the scale and breadth of capability to tackle challenges beyond the reach of any one institution. The benefit for the mining industry is that we can provide a much better offering.

We could have sought to build this capability at CSIRO on our own, but we chose not to, because we believe collaboration through Mining3 is the best way to deliver results that benefit the industry and community as a whole.

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