8.2 SKILLS

8.2 SKILLS

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SKILLS
BCIA 2013 R&D Funding Round and PhD Scholarships

BCIA recently held a forum at CSIRO in Clayton to update and inform stakeholders and proponents about what is required for the 2013 R&D Funding Round and PhD Scholarships. Information on both of these BCIA funding initiatives is provided below.

2013 R&D Funding Round



BCIA’s mission is to invest proactively in the development of technologies and people to support a sustainable future for brown coal in Australia.

The funds invested by BCIA are intended to build skills and capacity in brown coal-related technologies, to accelerate the implementation of innovative technologies, and to build a knowledge base to support the growth of new industries in Australia.

Cost-competitive emissions reductions, together with efficiency improvements, are essential if brown coal is to continue to play a significant long-term role in the Australian energy sector. This presents a significant challenge for brown coal power generators.

At the same time, there is also a need to develop local expertise in brown coal technologies to maintain the skills base needed to attract and implement new, low emissions technologies for deployment in Australia.

BCIA is actively engaged in creating the environment to support a viable future for brown coal-related industries in Australia. BCIA’s current research investment portfolio encompasses 22 research projects, ten of which are now complete, with a total leveraged value of more than $31 million.

To date, our research investments have enabled 31 Australian research students to gain valuable experience working on brown coal related applications, and 12 are now employed by industry.

BCIA has recently announced two funding initiatives to stimulate further innovation in the Australian brown coal industry. Support for collaborative research projects will be provided through the
2013 R&D Funding Round and skills development will be supported through the 2013 PhD Scholarship Program.

The
2013 R&D Funding Round, BCIA’s third competitive funding round, will provide more than $3.5 million for research and development to improve the efficiency of low-emissions brown coal power generation. The key priority areas for the 2013 R&D Funding Round are:
  • improving power generation efficiency (eg. heat recovery, advanced control & instrumentation)
  • reducing the cost of CO2 capture
  • improving coal quality for combustion (eg. silica removal and dewatering)
  • reducing the costs of coal preparation (eg. mill optimisation and maintenance)

BCIA is now calling for Full Proposals for R&D projects to start early in 2014. The duration of the projects may range from as little as six months, up to a maximum of three years. To be eligible, project participants must be able to at least match the level of funding provided by BCIA and, preferably, demonstrate a high level of industry involvement.

Application guidelines and downloads can be found in the ‘Research’ section of the BCIA website (
www.bcinnovation.com.au/2013RDFundingRound).

Applications for the 2013 R&D Funding Round
close 15 November 2013.



2013 PhD Scholarships

The 2013 PhD Scholarship Program will provide funding support for up to ten postgraduate research projects, focused on innovation in the development of brown coal low-emissions technologies.

BCIA PhD Scholarship support is open to Australian PhD candidates who receive an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA), or similar full PhD scholarship, commencing in 2014.

BCIA’s PhD Scholarships are valued at
$10,000 per annum (for a maximum of three years), of which $7,000 per annum will be paid as a stipend to the PhD student and $3,000 per annum will be allocated to support travel and other research costs.

The process for awarding BCIA PhD Scholarships will involve initial selection and refining of research topics from potential supervisors, followed (later in the year) by applications from PhD candidates who have been awarded an APA or equivalent.

The deadline for submission of proposed research topics is now closed however late submissions may be accepted, at the discretion of BCIA, provided that full PhD scholarship applications are not jeopardised as a result.

To apply, potential supervisors or industrial participants must provide a brief synopsis of the proposed research topic. Further information, guidelines and application templates can be found in the ‘Skills’ section of the BCIA website (
www.bcinnovation.com.au/2013ResearchScholarships).

Feedback on the proposed topics will be provided by BCIA’s Research Advisory Committee. Supervisors will then be able to advise potential candidates of the availability of BCIA PhD Scholarships for accepted topics. Please refer to the BCIA PhD Scholarship Guidelines for further details.

The 2013 PhD Scholarship Program is worth $300,000 and takes BCIA’s total investment in research skills development and leadership to more than $5.5 million.

Together, the 2013 R&D Funding Round and the 2013 PhD Scholarship Program represent a substantial expansion of BCIA’s innovation investment in a sustainable future for the Australian brown coal industry.

Enquires about either of these initiatives should be directed to Dr David McManus, BCIA Research Investment Manager,
david.mcmanus@bcinnovation.com.au.






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