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A five-year $25 million strategic research program between CSIRO and Boeing will see new innovation in space sciences, advanced materials, energy and direct manufacturing, which will drive improvements and productivity in the Australian economy.

It is a further extension of a 23-year partnership, during which CSIRO and Boeing have jointly invested about $110 million across a wide range of projects, including world-leading technology innovations in sustainable aviation fuels, aircraft assembly processes, fire retardants and aircraft maintenance management software.

One such example is the development of a simple and effective ‘spray on and leave on’ paint technology for aircraft that has replaced a time-consuming and laborious aircraft repainting process.

The CSIRO-Boeing technology involves applying a metal alkoxide-based surface treatment that modifies and activates an ‘aged’ paint surface, forming a strong chemical bond with the fresh paint layer.

“Since June 2008, this technology has been applied to over 800 commercial aircraft including recent deliveries to both Qantas and Virgin Australia, resulting in multi-million dollar cost savings.

“This new $25 million agreement represents the next stage in what has been an extremely successful relationship between CSIRO and Boeing that has delivered real technological breakthroughs for the industry,” Ian Thomas, president of Boeing Australia & South Pacific said.

“In CSIRO we see one of our most enduring and fulfilling technology partnerships. With this agreement we have the opportunity to direct the best resources and brightest talent in both organisations toward more complex challenges that will benefit the Australian aerospace industry,” Mr Thomas said.

“This is just one example of how our Australian research can play a part on the world stage and help industry drive innovation,” innovation minister Senator Chris Evans said.

“Direct manufacturing, for example, offers dramatic savings in labour, time, materials, energy and other costs. It has the potential to deliver a ‘quantum leap’ in the manufacturing process and enable manufacturers in developed countries like Australia to compete with countries where labour costs are low.

“If we are going to prosper in the global economy we must be smarter and more innovative than our competitors. Being at the forefront of scientific discovery is fundamental in achieving this goal.”

The strong relationship with Boeing has also played a key role in the development of Boeing’s operations in Australia – most notably the decision to establish research and development laboratories in Brisbane and Melbourne.

There are now 37 scientists employed within these facilities, many of whom collaborate with CSIRO on joint projects.

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