SmartCrete CRC to boost industry via academic research partnerships

SOURCE: William West/AFP
Concrete is the second-most used resource besides water.

By U2B Staff 

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Western Sydney University, Macquarie University along with nine other universities and 20 government and industry partners have formed the SmartCrete Cooperative Research Centre (SmartCrete CRC) to advance research in Australia’s growing concrete industry. 

The research centre is worth AU$90 million and research activities will span across the next seven years to enhance the nation’s knowledge and commercialisation of concrete. 

“The CRC partnership is a highly-multidisciplinary collaboration that will create major benefits throughout the concrete value chain,” said Western Sydney University Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President Professor Deborah Sweeney.  

“From engineering of concrete with superior features, such as advanced cladding and reduced noise pavements, through to more appropriate disposal technologies, including concrete that absorbs carbon dioxide instead of releasing it, the CRC will lead Australia’s advances in this essential material.”


Australia’s booming concrete industry

The concrete industry in Australia is rapidly growing and is part of the heavy construction materials industry. Each Australian today requires about 8 tonnes of heavy construction materials a year to serve their infrastructure needs.

In fact, concrete is the second-most consumed substance in the world after water. The national demand for cement and concrete is directly linked to how the economy reacts. 

The ever-increasing population in Australia also results in the proportionate increase in demand for more infrastructure which includes development in commercial, residential, transport and utilities. 

On a global scale, the international market demands sector competitiveness in technology, manufacturing, efficiency and social outcomes to remain relevant. 

Thus, it all comes down to the heavy construction materials industry to ensure Australia remains a leading force in both the local and international market to further advance infrastructure and more. 

It is crucial that the industry secures a reliable and cost-effective supply within the concrete market to ensure sustainable growth for the nation. 

Western Sydney University
The research centre will ensure Australia’s concrete industry remains robust and sustainable. Source: William West/AFP.

SmartCrete CRC’s industrial goals

SmartCrete CRC will rally together the latest research capabilities and industry expertise of the partner institutions to propose new technologies for the engineered design and advanced manufacturing of concrete products. 

The research centre will also draw upon world-class expertise to support companies to develop and commercialise their products within Australia.

Together, the centre will allow both large and SME participation to contribute to the research and development of industry-led productivity improvements in the concrete industry. 

Research and engagement efforts by the Western Sydney University will be led by Chief Investigator Professor Bijan Samali from the Centre for Infrastructure Engineering. Professor Bijan will advance research initiatives across the life cycle of the SmartCrete CRC. 

Among the key research aims that will drive SmartCrete CRS to secure and transform the concrete industry are; to reduce the cost of concrete construction, to improve Australia’s concrete asset management, to increase structure lifetime and durability, to improve raw material utilisation, and to reduce the cost of end-of-life disposal. 


The research centre also aims to reduce the overall carbon footprint of cement and concrete production and usage across various industries. 

“Through our involvement with the SmartCrete CRC, Western Sydney University will develop new technologies and capabilities for the engineered design and advanced manufacturing of concrete products,” said Professor Samali in a media release. 

“Through tailored expertise, we will support companies to make their products more efficient, from development through to commercial production within Australia and internationally.” 

SmartCrete CRC has recently been awarded funds amounting to US$21 million upon its launch.