About Us

Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Trailblazer

Building new research capabilities and driving commercialisation in priority areas across the Australian resources sector.

Our Trailblazer is transforming the way industry, universities and researchers work together, enabling the optimisation of resource operations by developing exciting new technologies, and equipping our innovators with the skills and knowledge to transform the sector.

Under the Trailblazer Universities Program, six universities were selected to solve problems facing critical areas within Australia.

Identified in the Modern Manufacturing Strategy, these areas were deemed of national significance to Australia’s future security and economic growth.

Curtin University has partnered with The University of Queensland and James Cook University to encourage the translation and commercialisation of university research, strengthening capability and driving real-world impact within the resources technology and critical minerals sector.  This initiative is supported by the Australian Government Department of Education.

Our Purpose and Strategies

With a specific focus on Australian organisations in the resources technology and critical minerals sector, the purpose of our Trailblazer is to:

  • Effectively commercialise university innovations and build lasting research and industry capability

  • Accelerate innovation and industry technology readiness to build new pathways and groundbreaking ways of working
  • Build sustainable university transformation to change the way industry-led research is embedded, facilitated, taught and rewarded

We’re delivering on our purpose through three key objective areas:

University Transformation
Technology Readiness

Our Team

Meet our Trailblazers
We’re a team of experienced industry professionals, academics and researchers committed to transforming the Australian resources sector and creating lasting change.
Trailblazer Board
Dr Vanessa Guthrie AO
Professor Harlene Hayne CNZM
Institutional Lead
Professor Linda Kristjanson AO
University Transformation
Ms Denise Goldsworthy AO
Technology Readiness
Mr Larry Lopez
Trailblazer Team – Curtin University
Mr Rohan McDougall
Mr Andrew Bell
Deputy Director
Hayley Browne
Operations Manager
Prof. Linley Lord
Program Lead: University Transformation
Prof. Jacques Eksteen
Program Lead: Technology Readiness
Dr Tom Hammond
Program Lead: Commercialisation
Prof. Rob Solomon
Program Lead: Digital Stack
Mr Andy Hart
Business Development Manager
Ms Ash Roberts
Business Development Manager
Mr Adil Khokhar
Project Coordinator (Internships)
Maya Kavanagh
Marketing and Communications Consultant
Trailblazer Team – The University of Queensland
Prof. Rick Valenta
Trailblazer Lead
Dr Andrew Miller
Commercialisation and Business Development Manager
Leigh Staines
Industry Professor, Commercialisation
Trailblazer Team – James Cook University
Dr Ioan Sanislav
Trailblazer Lead
Dr Mohammadali Farjoo
Commercialisation Manager

Meet our

Partner Universities

The University of Queensland (UQ) is one of Australia’s leading teaching and research universities. A global top 50 university, UQ has more than 2,500 academics and researchers and about 3,800 active research projects, working on the world’s biggest challenges and opportunities.

UQ’s Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) is a world-leading multidisciplinary research institute committed to developing the people, technologies and approaches needed to address global sustainability challenges through the responsible supply of minerals.

SMI researchers integrate expertise in geoscience, mining, mineral processing, workplace health, safety and risk, environmental management, social responsibility, and organisational improvement to create unique capabilities and collaborations.

The Institute works with a wide range of stakeholders including industry, governments and civil society organisations, and translates research into impact through commercialisation, contract research and consulting.

SMI is committed to training the next generation of industry and community leaders through higher degrees by research and public and bespoke professional development.

James Cook University (JCU), situated in North Queensland, is a leading research institution with a focus on delivering world-class research and education that genuinely impacts the regional and local communities of northern Queensland. The university’s strategic location, in close proximity to a diverse range of natural resources such as critical minerals, tropical rainforests, and the Great Barrier Reef, provides its researchers with a unique opportunity to study, work, and engage with key stakeholders both locally and internationally. 

The Economic Geology Research Centre (EGRU), located within Geoscience at JCU, is the leader of the JCU hub of the Trailblazer program.  EGRU has earned its reputation as a valued service and information centre for the resources industry over four decades, and is dedicated to building connections between academia, industry and government.  Its partnerships with industry and government focus on advancing the understanding of mineral resources.   Its commitment to cooperation and knowledge-sharing leads to collaborative research projects, relevant and timely professional development training, and an expanding library of invaluable information resources.  

The Trailblazer program is providing valuable opportunities for JCU researchers to further develop productive collaborative relationships with Trailblazer industry and university partners. 

A collaborative partnership between

Curtin University

The Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Trailblazer is supported by the Australian Government Department of Education through the Trailblazer Universities Program.

The Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Trailblazer acknowledges all First Nations people of the ancestral lands on which we operate. We pay our respects to all First Nations people, and to Elders past, present and emerging. We recognise their deep knowledge and their cultural, spiritual and educational practices, and aspire to learn and teach in partnership with them. We are committed to working in partnership with all Custodians and Owners to strengthen and embed First Nations’ voices and perspectives in our decision-making, now and into the future.

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