The Baosteel-Australia Joint Research and Development Centre (BAJC) is based at the University of Queensland, but also involves the University of New South Wales, Monash University and the University of Wollongong.
Baosteel has invested almost $26 million in the centre since 2011.
UQ president and vice-chancellor Professor Peter Høj signed the renewal agreement with Baosteel Group Corporation president Derong Chen in Shanghai last week, which cements funding for the next five years.
Chen said the centre was “an important part of Baosteel’s technological innovation”, while Høj said the reinvestment by Baosteel showed that global business valued the benefits which flowed from working with Australian universities.
“It is a strong vote of confidence in Australian university R&D, reaffirming the quality of research available for genuine ground-breaking innovation in line with the National Innovation Statement for Australia,” he said.
“Crucially, the centre has given Australian researchers global industry experience, and in the next five years the focus on internships and international engagement will increase.”
BAJC - Baosteel’s first overseas R&D centre - has registered 10 patents and attracted $6.2 million in funding from Australian government research schemes. Universities’ in-kind contributions reached $21 million in the first five years.
BAJC director Professor Victor Rudolph said researchers had published more than 150 scientific papers in high-impact publications in the past five years.
“More than 100 Australian professors, researchers and PhD students have visited Baosteel in China for academic exchanges and in 2015, a group of 15 researchers, scientists and engineers from Baosteel visited the BAJC member universities,” he said.
The centre holds annual conferences, each attracting more than 80 research fellows and higher-degree students.
“Baosteel has been able to deploy a number of capacity-enhancing and value-adding technologies, as a result of the centre’s work,” Rudolph said.
These included improvements in steel production processes, and quality control and alloy design in low-cost and high property light metals.
The centre has developed new products, including magnesium, aluminium, and titanium alloys, and worked on advanced materials including high-performance lithium-sulfur battery cathodes, and graphene.
Rudolph said BAJC's research and development focused on metallurgic processes, metal manufacturing, light metals and energy materials.