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CRC Bids

WaterRA has a proud history of supporting the research goals of our members through targeted participation in Commonwealth-funded research initiatives, such as Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs), that offer significant leveraging of your investment. CRC bids provide a unique opportunity to link industry with research to drive knowledge growth and accelerate innovation in the sector.


WaterRA offers various levels of service to our members for the different CRC bids, depending on the funding that can be achieved. This means that our members can participate in several CRCs through WaterRA, hence having more influence on the programs and benefit from interim outcomes more readily.

Types of CRC Opportunities and WaterRA's role:

Primary opportunity   WaterRA will act as the water industry consortium lead for a specific CRC. This is contingent on WaterRA receiving enough collective funding from our members, which will be used to elevate WaterRA to a Tier 1 or 2 participant and hence represent our members at that status. While different CRCs expect different annual contributions for those tiers, a Tier 1 or 2 status generally requires an annual contribution ranging from $100,000 to $250,000. As a Tier 1 or 2 participant, we will be influential at the program design and execution stages, representing the water industry’s research needs by ‘sitting at the table’ throughout the entirety of the CRC. All primary opportunity CRC consortia moving to Stage 2 (to be announced in early December) can contribute to ‘path to impact’ statements; WaterRA will work on these and share with and vet through our interested industry members.
Secondary opportunity   If a CRC receives only some interest from our industry members and the collective funding does not reach the Tier 1 or 2 level, WaterRA can work with the interested members to decide what type of participation is desired. Our secondary offers can range from an engagement and knowledge sharing role in a CRC or student programs to a focused role on one particular research area or program which is of interest to those members.

CRC bid Round 23 - successful bids progressing to Stage 2

CRC bids that will progress to Stage 2 were announced on 7th December, 2021. You can click here to view the successful bids.

WaterRA is now consolidating member interest for the three remaining CRCs which we have offered to support. View the opportunities below.

  Stage 2 closed 3 February 2022
  • Interviews March 2022
  • Outcomes announcement May 2022
  • Funding second half of 2022

Round 23 Bid Opportunities





SAAFE (Solving Antimicrobial Resistance in Agribusiness, Food, and Environments) will address the long term challenge of antimicrobial resistance for Australia’s agribusiness and food industries while aligning with Australia’s national One Health AMR strategy.

Lead researchers  

University of South Australia, Dr Erica Donner.

Industry relevance  

By addressing factors that can reduce disease burden (such as water quality and waste management), developing alternative interventions, and ensuring appropriate and efficacious treatment, the CRC will deliver both immediate and medium term benefits to industry, through outcomes such as improved treatment options, and water recycling benefits to the agribusiness community. Additionally, through better pathogen and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) management practices, the CRC aims to protect Australia’s reputation and status as a provider of high quality water and agricultural products internationally, long term reliability of water reuse and reducing the risk of AMR-related agricultural trade barriers.

Current WaterRA proposal  

Primary Opportunity: Tier 1 member

Industry funding pool aim  

$250,000 (current shortfall of around $70,000)

Associated documents   CRC SAAFE websiteBrochure |  One Water-One Health factsheet  


Express your interest in CRC SAAFE



The aim of ONE BASIN CRC is to connect communities, industry and researchers to manage climate and water risks in the Murray-Darling Basin. The CRC bid team has now being asked to further refine its bid for Round 23. This CRC is exploring how water security risks can be addressed in the Murray Darling Basin, one of the key productive watersheds riddled by complex water management challenges. This CRC bid is now preparingto resubmit its proposal for Round 23 and is seeking to engage the water industry more holistically.

Leaders researchers  

University of Melbourne, Professor Michael Stewardson.

Current WaterRA commitment   

Secondary Opportunity: WaterRA has signed up to provide outreach and knowledge transfer for the benefit of its members, primarily through the Australian Water School platform (in-kind only). Benefits for our members will flow through this avenue. With reconciliation action plans of our water utilities now progressing very actively to include traditional owners in their business, WaterRA is ready to offer to our industry members to investigate additional opportunities to increase the research opportunities for and with traditional owners in the Murray Darling Basin. 


Express your interest in One Basin CRC



The Plastic Waste CRC will rethink the way we design, use, and reuse plastics to create a viable and valuable circular economy for plastic, and a cleaner, safer environment. 

Lead researchers  

Griffith University, Professor Chengrong Chen.

Industry relevance  

This CRC will have a very clear focus on developing various novel, practical and economically viable technologies to utilise waste water, sewage sludge etc. to explore the production of affordable bioplastics. It will also explore the effective removal of microplastic contaminants to enhance the commercialisation of biosolids. Of specific interest may be:

a) Novel biotechnology to convert biosolids to biodegradable bioplastic: Biotechnology can be developed using some specific, salt-tolerant bacterial strains (e.g. Zobellella denitrificans) to produce polyhydroxybutyrate under stressful environment (nutrient unbalance) that is an emerging class of bioplastics.

b) Advanced decontamination (e.g. PFAS, PFOS, microplastic) biotechnology: A suite of advanced technologies will be developed to engineer multiple-functional biopolymers produced from locally available, low cost organic wastes to adsorb and destroy PFAS and PFOS, and novel plastic-degrading enzymes and microorganisms from extremophile microbiomes will be explored and developed to remove microplastics in biosolids to convert biosolids into the high value fertiliser products.

c) Circular design and material selection for wastewater sample bottle to be re-used.

d) Advanced technologies for renewable energy generation and energy conversion.

Current WaterRA proposal

Industry funding pool aim


Primary Opportunity

$100,000 contribution (current shortfall of around $50,000)

Associated documents   Brochure  |  Investment Proposal


Express your interest in Plastic Waste CRC

CRCs and other collaborative vehicles currently supported by WaterRA





This project is up and running. As the CRC CARE was winding down in June 2021, a new CRC CARE initiative has been launched by the University of Newcastle, retaining the original name “CRC CARE”. The "CRC CARE" water industry consortium is being led and coordinated by WaterRA. Our consortium will tap into our collaborative power to bring together the water industry and (health and environmental) regulators, supported by excellence in research. Our current consortia members are South East Water, Water Corporation, Melbourne Water, Seqwater and IWN, with plenty of room to join now. 

This new CRC CARE aims to target the most pressing, critical and unmet needs in the field of contamination and remediation. The previous work of the CRC has already resulted in cost savings for industry and government and has contributed to a cleaner, safer environment for people and communities. The effort now is to maintain the momentum and in the technology and knowledge space and implement these more in Australia.

WaterRA’s  water industry consortium has the opportunity to develop a water industry-focused program and sub projects under this new initiative. Once the annual funding goal has been reached (between $100,000 and $200,000), participating water industry members will be able to co-design the program with the goal to gain the most value of these projects for their own industries. There are good levering opportunities with other industries who have similar research challenges in the water and wastewater space (eg, defence, mining). The water industry program is currently devised and will initially have a three-year term to more specifically develop projects. The first project theme has been developed around PFAS (incl. precursors) fate, transport and remediation (from source to end use). 

Lead researchers  

University of Newcastle, Professor Ravi Naidu

Current WaterRA commitment  

Work has recently commenced and there is still scope for increased participation by our industry members. If you are interested in becoming an industry member of the new water industry consortium under this CRC Care click on the link below.

Industry funding   Current funding level: ~$360,000 for 3 years. There is an opportunity to join this water industry consortium to further research chemicals of emerging concern and hone in on the current focus of PFAS, precursors etc. from source to end use. 


Express your interest in joining the existing water industry consortium in CRC CARE



NESP 2 - The Sustainable Communities and Waste Hub (SCWH) - is a seven-year, multi-disciplinary and multi-institution initiative delivering innovative sustainability technologies, knowledge products and services for urban and regional communities and the waste management sector. It has received Commonwealth Funding of $17 million over seven years. The Hub is committed to deliver:

  • Targeted information and management tools to reduce the impact of plastic and other material on the environment,
  • Applied scenario-modelling to support sustainable people-environment interactions in communities including urban heat island impacts and liveability analysis,
  • Effective and efficient management options for hazardous waste, substances and pollutants throughout their lifecycle to minimise environmental and human-health impacts, and
  • Research that supports maintained and improved air quality.

The hub will also drive coordinated research across all four new hubs under NESP’s ‘waste impact management’ cross-cutting mission. This research will support policy development, program management and regulatory processes in both marine and terrestrial environments.

The Hub leaders are charged in providing program level planning, but are currently waiting for Commonwealth approval to move forward. Workshops are currently being held in all states to consolidate knowledge needs.   

Lead researchers  

University of NSW: Professor Veena Sahahwalla, CSIRO, Swinburne University, Monash Univ., Curtin Univ. University of Tasmania. 

Current WaterRA commitment  

Opportunistic as projects arise. WaterRA has expressed its commitment to participate in the NESP 2 Hub as a water industry consortium lead to identify research gaps that the HUB could address. We are awaiting the next steps in the process to more clearly articulate our contribution. As no agreements have been signed yet, there is ample opportunity to influence the program so it is addressing water industry needs.

Industry funding pool aim (upper limit)  

On a project-by-project basis once NESP2 calls for project ideas (up to $350,000 over 7 years).


Express your interest in NESP 2