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New steel manufacturing hub to galvanise innovation in sector

27 December, 2013

Forecasts of the Australian steel manufacturing's future are being met head-on with a new research hub that aims to inject innovation into the sector.

The Australian Research Council recently announced funding of $5 million to establish the Australian Steel Manufacturing Hub, based at the University of Wollongong (UOW).

The hub will forge a greater relationship between UOW and BlueScope Steel Ltd (Bluescope) who have contributed over $5 million more to the $12 million program.

Associate Professor Brian Monaghan from UOW's Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences will be leading the hub as its Director until Bluescope's Oscar Gregory takes over the reins in 2014. He says the facility will attract industry investment, with significant flow-on effects too for the local region.

"Quoting from the ABS, this is a key industry for Australia, employing around 90,000 people and adding more than $8.7 billion value to the economy," Professor Monaghan said.

"The Hub will address economic and environmental challenges in iron and steelmaking, positively impact on downstream partners and end users, securing the industry for future generations.

"Attracting significant industry investment of over $5 million, this collaboration with universities will help secure the long-term competitiveness of Australian steel manufacturing.

"It will revitalise the steel industry both locally in the Illawarra and the nation as a whole."

According to Professor Monaghan, the projects will lift Australia's global competitiveness by drawing together the capacities of universities and steel industry partners.

The hub will adopt an integrated, value chain-wide approach to the steel sector, with projects already mapped out for innovation strategy and management, customer-focused product development, innovation in coating and surface engineering technology, and economic and environmental sustainability of iron and steelmaking.

Other collaborating groups in the steel hub project include Arrium, Bisalloy, Cox Architects, Australian Steel Institute, Australian Steel Institute and the University of Queensland, University of NSW, University of Newcastle, Swinburne University of Technology and RMIT.

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