A message from Jens Goennemann

Happy New (Financial) Year

Any new year, whether it starts in January or July, is what we make it. I’m convinced that although there are bits of sobering news around, we can and will make 2021/2 outstanding.

I would like to share some of what makes me optimistic.

AMGC recently got $3.7 million of grants out the door, supporting collaborative projects led by six outstanding manufacturers[1]. These are matched by $4.7 million of industry funding, and cover world-leading, high-value products and services in everything from ore detection to feminine hygiene to plastic recycling.

In consultation with CSIRO and our fellow Growth Centres and working closely with the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, we approved the first tranche of funding to the first six projects under the Commercialisation Fund. Only three months after the program was announced.

Being an industry-led organisation, we can put this forward as a shining example of what happens when industry and government work in cooperation toward a worthwhile goal with industry doing what industry does best, and public service doing what public service does best. Then things work, and sometimes very fast.

Let us quickly consider two of the projects we are backing.

Alcolizer is already internationally successful, plus the country’s biggest supplier of drug and alcohol tests to law enforcement.

It is building on the success of its breath tests and leveraging existing technology from these handheld devices. It is combining these with outstanding nanophotonics work out of University of Technology Sydney, led by Professor Dayong Jin, a long-time collaborator.

At the end of the project, the Alcolizer team will have commercialised a device, called Virulizer, able to detect Sars-Cov-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, in saliva samples. Virulizer does this in under ten minutes, for both symptomatic and asymptomatic carriers.

Another project answers a very different market need and unlocks the power of industry/research collaboration working with a strong entrepreneurial focus.

You will have seen the growth in plant-based meats during supermarket trips in recent years.

The category is worth $70 million worth of manufacturing activity in Australia alone, and growing incredibly fast[2]. Despite some local successes, all the textured protein, which makes up about three-tenths of a finished product, is imported.

To date, nobody has coordinated the considerable capital and the food technology expertise required to make soy, pea or any other kind of plant-derived protein right here – until now.

Startup Harvest B is combining with a talented team including researchers from University of NSW and Charles Sturt University, and industry partners including Coco & Lucas, to seize the opportunity. Even better still, Harvest B will be adding 24 times the value to Australian wheat and capitalising on our stellar clean and green reputation as it looks to export markets.

We start this year full of optimism. When it comes to manufacturing, we know what works.

[1] https://www.amgc.org.au/news/amgc-gets-3-7-million-out-the-door-to-australian-manufacturers/

[2] https://www.foodanddrinkbusiness.com.au/news/industry-report-plant-based-meat-market-in-australia