India, Australia joint venture for contamination research

Wednesday, 31 October, 2007

Australia’s Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE) and the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IITK) have joined forces on research and training for contamination risk assessment and clean-up.

The agreement marks a further step by CRC CARE — a partnership of five Australian universities and more than 20 companies and government agencies — to develop links into Asia, where industrial development and contamination is outpacing the need to preserve a clean environment, said managing director Prof Ravi Naidu.

“This is both a scientific opportunity and a business opportunity for Australia and for India,” he said.

“We have particular skills in fields such as risk assessment and new remediation technologies. IIT Kanpur, which is ranked as one of India’s premier research institutes, is known worldwide for its technological and engineering expertise and has a number of technologies which we consider will enhance the assessment of contamination.”

He also said the India-Australia partnership will offer opportunities for Australian companies that specialise in clean-up technologies to take advantage of the rapidly growing Indian market.

“Companies which join our new Australian Remediation Industry Cluster (ARIC) will not only have early access to powerful new technologies, but also to overseas market intelligence arising out of alliances such as this one,” Naidu said.

“It's a case where scientific progress and commercial advantage go hand in hand.”

One of their first joint projects will be to develop a tool to monitor toxic contaminants spreading through groundwater — a common situation facing many industrialised cities worldwide.

A second research project will develop a wireless sensor network for detecting and monitoring pollution in either air or water.

The agreement also calls for exchange of staff and students from both organisations, as well as joint workshops to bring the best minds from both countries to bear on contamination problems of pressing urgency.

The agreement between CRC CARE and IITK is the fifth partnership which the CRC has entered into with overseas scientific institutions, according to CRC CARE general manager Maggie Dowling. Other agreements are with institutions in China, US, New Zealand and UK.

“Contamination is a global issue, facing all societies and most industries,” she said. “By teaming up with leading research players around the world we can be sure we not only deliver the best new technologies to Australian industry, but also make other countries aware of our expertise and leadership in the field.

“At the same time we will be building alliances that will help Australian companies to find fresh opportunities in the fastest growing economies in the world.”

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