An awesome turn-out for the ARC Research Hub for Future Fibres which was officially launched on Friday 25 August 2023. It was also a great opportunity to officially open Deakin University’s new Future Fibres Facility.
Well done to Joe, Matt and the team! Thanks to all our attendees, both internal and external to Deakin.
Professor Matthew Clarke, acting Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research at Deakin delivered an address about the importance of the Hub and the Facility to Australia. He shared an anecdote about his grandfather working on the line at a textile factory, and how he we were carrying the torch from previous generations.
Professor Christina Twomey, Chief Research Officer, represented the Australian Research Council (ARC) and delivered a timely reminder of the value created by scientific endeavour. Dr Jane Fitzpatrick highlighted the importance of sovereign capabilities and local manufacturing.
Hub Director, Professor Joe Razal delivered a stirring speech about the importance of our work which is copied in full below:
I’d like to first share a very brief story of our journey.
The ideation of our Hub proposal started with these two words:
The proposal ended up being 303 pages.
Every single second we put into the application was worth the effort. The process informed and reinforced our position, our leadership, our capabilities, and most importantly, it helped shape our vision.
If I were to select TWO ‘if onlys’ from our thought process:
The first one would be around research translation – “If only we could collaborate with the relevant partners to expedite the deployment of research ideas into the marketplace, faster than we have in the past.”
It is important to note that we have had the privilege of successfully completing an ARC Hub, and the key lesson we learned was that an ARC Hub serves as an ideal platform for research translation. By the way, we now refer to this research translation as our ‘Lab to Label’ initiative.
The second one is around talent – “If only we could retain our capabilities while also expanding into new frontiers.”
To jog your memory, we drafted this proposal during the heights of the COVID19 period when onshore manufacturing and sovereign capability highlighted the importance of ensuring the stability of the supply chain. Retaining and developing talent is a top priority.
Fast forward to today, and these aspirations have transformed into reality.
On behalf of the Hub family, I thank Deakin, the DVCR office, and the IFM, for fully supporting our vision and for providing us with the necessary ingredients for success.
I thank the ARC and the government for recognising the potential impact of our vision and ambitions.
I thank our partners for trusting that we will develop together a well-integrated collaboration platform – one that will enable us to co-develop technological innovations relevant to our collective mission towards sustainability.
I thank CSIRO for generously providing much of the equipment around us today, and I thank ANFF for recognising that this Future Fibres Facility is indeed a unique national capability that Australia cannot afford to lose.
Finally, to all the people – from our students to our leaders, our friends, and collaborators, from the past to the present – for every failed and successful idea and experiment that has enabled us to get to where we are today.
I am thrilled to be continuing this journey with all of you.