National Energy Resources Australia (NERA) has announced the opening of a $15 million fund, looking to invest in collaborative projects to help Australia’s energy resources sector become a “more innovative and globally competitive” industry sector.
A not-for-profit company, NERA was established last year to roll out and deliver the activities of the Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Growth Centre, its scope in the oil and gas, coal and uranium industries.
The Project Fund will give applicants up to $3 million in matched funding to address one or more of the nine ‘knowledge priorities’ NERA identified in its 10 year Sector Competitiveness Plan.
Under the umbrella of capability and leadership are the priorities of work skills for the future, enabling effective collaboration, understanding Australia’s resource base, and social licence to operate; coming under the banner of business and operating models, technology and services are the priorities of unlocking future resources, new markets, new technologies, new business models, commercialisation of R&D, and efficient operations and maintenance; and regulatory framework optimisation.
Miranda Taylor, CEO of NERA, said the fund will assist the organisation to assist industry in its bid to transform and embrace innovation.
“Our role at NERA is to assist the energy resources sector transform into a leading global competitor. The only way we can do that is to transform our thinking and processes and become better equipped to deliver innovative solutions for the energy resources sector,” she said.
“The NERA Project Fund is ready and waiting to enhance the sector’s productivity, competitiveness, and sustainability.”
Since its launch the organisation has launched initial projects in areas including tropical cyclone analysis, scoping improved integrated remote operations centre models for the coal industry; and mapping energy resources skills development capacity and capability on a national basis.
It has also looked at regulatory reform around the uptake of best practice international standards for the oil and gas industry, and to develop technical guidance for cleaning up hydrocarbon contaminated sites.
It has also developed programs aimed at engaging small to medium enterprises in its work.
While no longer enjoying a boom, the Australian resources sector remains a dominant player – its gross value add in 2015/16 came to $42.2 billion, with the sector employing almost 90,000 people – and a number of startup programs are looking to push its future growth.
Unearthed, a Perth-founded initiative focused on the resources space, recently announced its latest accelerator cohort, the program run with support from the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland program.
First launched as a hackathon, Unearthed events now run around the world in cities including Toronto and Santiago.
Image: Miranda Taylor.