Manufacturing news briefs — stories you might have missed

Starpharma announces new CFO

Biopharmaceutical company Starpharma has appointed Justin Cahill as its CFO and company secretary, commencing in early April 2023. Cahill is currently CFO at Paradigm Biopharmaceuticals, and has previously held senior financial and leadership roles during nearly ten years at CSL where he held a number of senior financial and leadership roles, including five years as a divisional chief financial officer at CSL Plasma in the US. “Justin is an accomplished CFO and corporate leader with more than 15 years’ experience in finance leadership roles, with the majority being in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector,” said Starpharma CEO Dr Jackie Fairley in a statement.

Engage women in trades: Weld Australia

Weld Australia has called on the federal government to implement “a proactive, targeted approach that: engages and recruits women into the trades; implements innovative trade training programs designed specifically for women; and sets measurable gender diversity targets on government-funded projects” In a statement to mark International Women’s Day, the organisation’s CEO, Geoff Crittenden, said Australia was heading towards a shortfall of at least 70,000 welders by 2030. “Increasing diversity in the trades is one of the best ways to alleviate the looming skills shortage,” said Crittenden. “Every effort needs to be made to encourage women to become welders.”

Australia’s Economic Accelerator Bill passes parliament

This week legislation to establish Australia’s Economic Accelerator (AEA) program passed parliament. Under the program, which was announced by the former Coalition government, researchers at Australian universities will soon be able to apply for AEA grants to support exploring proof-of-concept or proof-of-scale partnerships with industry. The legislation establishes two grant programs: AEA Ignite and AEA Innovate. The Ignite program offers grant funding up to $500,000 for 12 months to support proof-of-concept projects, while Innovate offers funding up to $5 million to support proof-of-scale projects. Projects align with seven National Reconstruction Fund priority areas, unlike the previous government’s version, which had a different set of six National Manufacturing Priorities. The priority areas are renewables and low emissions technologies, medical science, transport, value-add in resources, value-add in agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors, defence capability, and enabling capabilities.

WA food companies take to the world stage at trade events

The Western Australian government has coordinated trade missions for the state’s food and beverage companies at two major food industry events. This week is FOODEX Japan 2023, with 22 food and beverage producers from WA attending. It follows the Dubai-based Gulfood, the world’s largest food and beverage sourcing event, which featured more than 5000 exhibitors from over 125 countries and 18 businesses at the WA government-organised stand. Several WA companies participated in a WA Government-led trade mission to Qatar after Gulfood, during which participants engaged in business-to-business meetings with Qatari food and beverage distributors, retailers and food service enterprises. “It is important that we continue to stake our claim in the global market through ongoing trade activities, including a strong presence at major food and beverage events such as FOODEX and Gulfood,” said agriculture minister Jackie Jarvis.

H2X Global selected for Amazon accelerator

Hydrogen power train manufacturer H2X Global has been selected as one of the 15 startups that will participate in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Clean Energy Accelerator 3.0, an accelerator designed to facilitate collaborations with mature startups developing breakthrough clean energy technologies. The programme is focused on fostering innovation and rapid growth of clean energy technology, which is needed to address the global climate crisis. General Manager of Energy and Utilities AWS Howard Gefen said: “The ground-breaking innovations, products and solutions displayed in the previous Clean Energy Accelerator programs have offered an inspiring glimpse into the energy systems of the future, and chart a path towards accelerating decarbonization at scale.” Primary focus areas of the AWS Clean Energy Accelerator 3.0 include: advanced materials; carbon capture, utility and storage; economic hydrogen generation, transport, and use; energy storage; grid modernization; energy security and reliance.

A.H. Beard announces partnership with Sleep Health Foundation

The 123-year-old Australian mattress manufacturer A.H. Beard made announced that it is partnering with the Sleep Health Foundation, via membership of its Business Council, “in a bid to improve the nation’s sleep.” The company said in a statement on Tuesday that the two organisations had a “shared commitment to increase awareness and education of the importance of sleep to overall health,” and would “work together on shared health initiatives that advance sleep health outcomes for all Australians.” Tony Pearson, CEO of A.H. Beard, said: “We spend over a third of our lives asleep, yet as a society we’re challenged with inadequate sleep, with approximately 7.4 million Australian adults not regularly getting the sleep they need,” adding, “It’s time sleep is recognised as a core pillar of health.”

Picture: credit Weld Australia

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