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Under the updated India Economic Strategy (IES) released in 2022, CSIRO and India have made a commitment to draw on complementary capabilities and resource to solve shared global challenges.

By combining efforts and expertise, the partnerships aim to fast-track cutting edge research and technology to create impact for Australia and the world.

The partnerships are the:

  • India-Australia Rapid Innovation and Startup Expansion Accelerator
  • India-Australia Critical Minerals Research Partnership
  • India-Australia Green Steel Partnership

India-Australia Rapid Innovation and Startup Expansion Accelerator

The India-Australia Rapid Innovation and Startup Expansion (RISE) Accelerator is an exciting and unique bilateral program aimed at supporting Indian and Australian startups and SMEs on their commercialisation pathways to launch innovative technology solutions across borders.

A partnership between CSIRO and Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), and supported by the Australian and Indian Governments, the program enables Indian and Australian innovators and industry partners to tackle shared national and global challenges, with a focus on environment and climate technologies.

Over the course of the nine-month accelerator, participants receive a blend of in-person and virtual learning, and benefit from the expertise and support of subject matter experts and a dedicated 'Expert-in-Residence' for one-to-one guidance and mentoring. 

The partners are currently delivering Round 1 of the program, supporting an inaugural cohort of circular economy startups that have business models, technology, and/or resource ingenuity to support India’s and Australia’s transition to a circular economy.

India-Australia Critical Minerals Research Partnership

The India-Australia Critical Minerals Research Partnership (IACMRP) works with Indian and Australian researchers, industry and government to deliver a range of projects that aims to unlock commercial benefits of commencing, improving and integrating Indian and Australian critical minerals value chains.

Currently funded through to June 2026, projects within the partnership will contribute to:

  • Strengthening supply chains, add value to Australian exports and work with India to commercialise CSIRO-owned critical minerals technology.
  • Contribute to diversified, resilient, and responsible supply chains, creating new jobs and industries for both Australia and India.

Four projects have been funded by the IACMRP with activities that span the supply chain, namely:

  • Exploration — The “Targeting and Characterizing Critical Minerals in India” Project aims to expand knowledge and increase the chance of discovery and economic exploitation of critical mineral deposits in India to improve domestic supply and reduce import reliance. The further development of more robust systems, models and tools, through the incorporation of learnings from non-Australian deposits will in turn support expediated discovery in Australia.
  • Mineral Processing — The “Titanium-Vanadium Processing” Project will further develop CSIRO technology capable of unlocking titanium and vanadium deposits in India and Australia with the potential for multiple products and revenue streams.
  • Metallisation — The “Novel Processes for Rare Earth Metal and Alloy Production” Project is focussed on the development of beneficiation, separation and metallisation processes for rare earth metals, targeting key technology barriers to facilitate downstream processing capabilities for both nations.
  • Manufacturing — The “Sustainable Cathode Production” Project will develop capabilities and novel and sustainable production processes for existing and new Cathode Active Materials (CAM) and cathodes for lithium-ion and sodium-ion batteries. These will support the development of new processing and manufacturing jobs and industries for India and Australia.

India-Australia Green Steel Partnership

The India-Australia Green Steel Partnership (IAGSP) works with Indian and Australian researchers, industry and government to deliver a range of projects that aim to accelerate the decarbonisation of the iron-steel value chain in India and Australia.

The partnership focuses on the challenge of reducing emissions associated with hematite/goethite ores which are common to both countries and currently have no demonstrated pathway to net zero steelmaking. In the context of a 3-year program, the Partnership focusses mainly on reducing emissions from the dominant Blast Furnace iron-making route for these materials.

Currently funded through until June 2026, projects within the partnership aim to:

  • Reduce carbon emissions associated with the Blast Furnace and Coal DRI iron-making routes.
  • Challenge conventions associated with Net Zero-Steel-Making with Hematite/Goethite ores.

Five Projects have been funded to achieve these aims:

  • The “Fundamental Characterisation and Cold Upgrading of Low-Grade Iron Ores” Project intends to understand the mechanisms of deportment of key impurities like Phosphorous and Alumina in Indian and Australian iron ores. Such impurities significantly increase the carbon intensity of the iron and steelmaking processes. The goal is then to develop strategies for their removal early in the value-chain.
  • The “Assessment of Biomass Sources and Pathways for Low Emissions Iron and Steel” Project aims to displace fossil fuels with renewable biomass carbon and municipal waste sources in Blast Furnaces and Coal DRI processes. The goal is to do this through identification of biomass and waste feedstocks suitable for replacement of pulverised coal in Blast Furnace injection and production of syngas for DRI processes and modelling their effects on existing processes. 
  • The “Carbon Capture and Recycling for Steel Industry Decarbonisation” Project assesses two emerging carbon capture technologies demonstrated for coal combustion power generation and tailors their performance for the traditional integrated iron and steel works. Further, the project aims to develop a closed-carbon-loop (CCL) technology by converting the captured CO2 to CO and recycling it in a way that can be readily retrofitted to existing Blast Furnace systems without significant modifications. 
  • The “Utilisation of Goethitic Ores for DR Shaft Furnace Processes” Project challenges conventions related to the preparation of feed, green balling, pellet induration and shaft furnace operation to provide an alternative, and potentially Net Zero process route for hematite/goethite ores lump and fine ores. 
  • The “Hydrogen Plasma Smelting for Low Carbon Iron and Steel Making Processes” Project aims to lay the theoretical and experimental foundation for hydrogen plasma metallurgy, and to demonstrate its viability as a single stage reduction and melting process alternative to gas-based direct reduction for green steel production.

Both the partnerships have established their project portfolios, and the India-Australia Minerals Scholars Network has been identified as a specific initiative that sits within the Program to engage academia to support delivery as outlined below.

India-Australia Minerals Scholars Network

The Scholar Network is a co-funded initiative (until June 2026) that aims to strengthen Green Steel and Critical Minerals capacities and collaborations. It is supported by the IAGSP and the IACMRP, which foster research and strategic partnerships and networks in the green steel and critical minerals sectors, involving research, industry and government stakeholders.

Decarbonisation of iron and steelmaking processes and supporting the development of critical minerals industry are vital to both the Australian and Indian economies. The development of scientific talent in these areas is crucial for long-term social and economic prosperity.

Partnering with India on capability development via the scholar network initiative, is building a pipeline of talent to meet the growing global demand for steel and critical minerals.

The Scholars Network Intended Outcomes and Impact:

  • build capability, best practice exchange, and enduring relationships between a focused number of education and R&D institutions in both countries.
  • support PhD sponsorships in both India and Australia and student/researcher exchanges.
  • showcase projects via technical online events and symposiums. contributes towards both countries’ national priorities around supply chain security and decarbonising the economy.

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