Science and Technology

New scope for more iMOVE projects

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At iMOVE, our main focus, is to form and manage research projects, particularly in circumstances that require co-participation of multiple stakeholders.

In this space last month I wrote about collaboration, because we see collaboration as playing a central role in coordinating the efforts of the many people involved in the development and improvement of the nation’s transport systems.

However, projects and collaborations are not amorphous blobs, nor are they ticks in a bureaucratic box. To be effective they require structure and leadership. Here, I want to acknowledge the leadership shown by our 44 partners when they stepped up at the beginning of the CRC and committed to make investments of their time, effort and resources into improving transport and mobility across the country.

Since then they have reinforced that leadership by taking action, starting initiatives, and getting projects to happen.

Project formation and selection

However, iMOVE participants are not the only people with initiative and leadership! iMOVE wants to embrace and engage with all those leaders in the transport and mobility space who were not able to join the CRC at its start. The purpose of iMOVE is to help Australia embrace emerging technologies that will improve the movement of people and goods, and so, in addition to supporting the initiatives of our 44 participants. We are keen to support further action in this area even if the initiative comes from outside the CRC.

Generally, we think the more projects Australia undertakes in this rapidly evolving area, the faster we will learn and adapt, and the greater will be the benefits to the community and the economy.

Consequently, we now offer our services to project initiators ‘everywhere’ (in the transport and mobility ecosystem) to help them find the right partners, and to form and deliver collaborative transport projects in Australia. Whilst this casts a wide net, our activities remain focussed on our three core research areas – intelligent transport systems and infrastructure, end-to-end freight solutions, and enhanced personal mobility.

We also have needs from time to time to source specialist skills. It may happen that a project requires a particular input or expertise to ensure that its efforts meet best practice and its outputs are internationally competitive. In these situations, if we cannot find these capabilities within the iMOVE participant set, we look for companies or organisations who could contribute their expertise (on reasonable terms!) and bring them into the multiparty project agreement. A recent example is our MaaS trial in Sydney project, led by IAG, with research from a team at the University of Sydney, along with input and participation from the specialist MaaS software firm, SkedGo.

Funding?

‘What about funding?’, I hear you ask. The great thing about collaboration is the leverage that every party achieves from the co-participation of all the other parties in the project. Here, at iMOVE we try to amplify that benefit by encouraging a ‘pay to play’ philosophy in which all parties to a collaboration make a contribution to project resources. Although parties contribute different amounts, the end result is that everyone gets a benefit from the participation of the others.

iMOVE acknowledges the support it receives from the federal government CRC program. Although part of the motivation of the Commonwealth in its provision of CRC funding is to encourage industry to undertake bolder (more risky) developments than they might otherwise do, we recognise that it also provides an additional source of financial leverage to projects.

However, we must also be mindful of the obligations placed on us by the Commonwealth. They are unequivocal in their requirement that the CRC funding be used only for the CRC activities. In effect that means iMOVE’s Commonwealth (CRC) funding is largely tied to co-funding of initiatives led by our initial participants. To get a slice of this action, new parties would need to collaborate with those initial participants.

I am also keen to find additional sources of leverage funding to support these additional projects, but buckets of uncommitted funding are quite hard to find!

Everything we do at iMOVE is driven by the desire to improve the movement of people and goods in Australia. Within the CRC, we’re getting a lot done. With more projects and more partners, we can deliver even faster progress.

Have an idea? Get in touch.

We’re open to discussing collaboration and partnerships with anyone looking to conduct collaborative research and development in Australia in any of our three core research areas.

If you have an idea, get in touch; we may be able to help.

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