On July 13, 2022, the Hon Jason Clare MP and Australian Research Council (ARC) announced a grant of $3 million in research and development (R&D) funding to establish the ARC industrial Transformation Research Hub to Advance Timber for Australia's Future Built Environment (ARC Advance Timber Hub). The hub is based in the School of Civil Engineering, Centre for Future Timber Structures, at the University of Queensland (UQ).
The aim of the hub is to develop the resources, enablers, and drivers to advance timber, as a natural resource, to be the material of choice, leading towards a net zero future for Australia’s built environment. The bid has significant support from industry, with a further $12 million cash and in-kind contributions committed by 33 national and international participant organisations; delivering a comprehensive R&D program over 5 years, commencing in 2023.
The application was developed in Q2 & Q3, 2021, in response to detailed feedback from a broad range of industry sectors, combined with an assessment of national R&D needs, which were identified in a workshop held at UQ in April 2021. This new Industrial Transformation Research Hub, led by Professor Keith Crews and his team, builds on the success, and expands the scope, of the previous ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub to Transform Future Tall Timber Buildings (ARC Future Timber Hub), which concluded in December, 2021.
Research will be undertaken through 8 inter-related Research Nodes, focusing on 3 over-arching themes of: Innovative Solutions, Transformative Benefits and Planning Change. The new Hub aims to support the transformation of Australia’s timber and construction sectors by:
- stimulating growth in innovation,
- increasing the uptake of timber products used in buildings, and
- establishing a roadmap for change.
The expected outcomes will kickstart the change process, supported by growth in advanced manufacturing across the value chain. This should provide significant benefits in stimulating an opportunity for regional development and resource diversification whilst helping the sectors transition to a circular and net-zero economy.