A research commercialisation specialist with more than 20 years of global experience has been appointed Executive Director of the Australian Trailblazer for Recycling and Clean Energy. This $280 million initiative, a partnership between UNSW Sydney and the University of Newcastle, will accelerate Australia’s transition to net zero and contribute up to $15 billion to our economy over 20 years.
Professor Emmanuel Mastio is an inventor, engineer, and research and development leader with proven experience guiding large teams to realise practical innovations. He is considered one of the top 300 IP strategists in the world by Intellectual Asset Management magazine and has over 50 patents to his name.
Prof. Mastio believes the Australian Trailblazer for Recycling and Clean Energy provides an important change platform for addressing the world’s most pressing environmental issues. “Collaboration between universities and SME partners is vital to bridge the translation gap, or ‘missing middle’, and turn research into commercially viable end solutions. We need to develop new practices that make our universities more porous and grow the diffusion capacity of the recycling and clean energy sector.”
During his career, Prof. Mastio has held senior research translation positions in both industry and university settings. At Zodiac Pool Systems, he progressed from roles in France and Australia to become the Chairman of Global Innovation, responsible for product development across categories worldwide. As Professor of Innovation and Leadership at the University of Technology Sydney, Prof. Mastio specialised in knowledge and technology transfer between academia, industry, and government. Most recently, he was research commercialisation consultant and IP advisor to the Future Fuels Cooperative Research Centre, articulating translation strategies to enable the decarbonisation of Australia’s energy networks.
The imperative to decarbonise is at the heart of the Australian Trailblazer for Recycling and Clean Energy. Spanning the entire innovation lifecycle and in collaboration with its 27 industry partners, the program aims to propel disruptive technologies out of the lab and into local manufacturing and global deployment. Structured around the priority areas of solar and PV systems, electrification, energy and storage systems, sustainable fuels and chemicals, and recycling and MICROfactories™, these technologies will support an estimated 5,200 jobs in related industries and contribute to the long-term reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
“We are delighted that Professor Emmanuel Mastio has been appointed Executive Director of the Australian Trailblazer for Recycling and Clean Energy,” said UNSW’s Professor Nicholas Fisk, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Enterprise.
“With hands-on experience translating research into outcomes, in both industry and university contexts, Prof. Mastio is a natural fit for the initiative. He is right up on the opportunities and challenges that exist in recycling and clean energy innovation, and will help drive a step change in university-industry collaboration and commercialisation.”
The Australian Trailblazer for Recycling and Clean Energy will not only focus on technology innovation, but also deliver critical skills to build Australia’s manufacturing workforce and reimagine the way industry-led research is prioritised and rewarded in universities.
"Prof. Mastio's ability to harness multidisciplinary talent and drive organisational change will be of great benefit to the initiative. The Australian Trailblazer for Recycling and Clean Energy seeks to transform university workplace culture by providing new incentives, recognition, promotional pathways, and career trajectories for staff engaged in research commercialisation. In the future, we expect to see more people move seamlessly between roles in industry and academia, just as Prof. Mastio has done," said Professor Zee Upton, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation, at the University of Newcastle.
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Meg McDonald, Member of the NSW Net Zero Emissions and Clean Economy Board, is Chair of the Trailblazer Governance Board.
“The Australian Recycling and Clean Energy Trailblazer will create a step change in environmental sustainability transition. As Executive Director, Prof. Mastio will lead a program to seed long-term potential and deliver technologies, workforce capability and university reform that extends beyond the initial four-year window.”