Obtaining government support for a hydrogen roadmap | Australian Hydrogen Research Conference 2023

Fast facts

Event: Australian Hydrogen Research Conference 2023 (AHRC 2023)

Dates: 8-10 February 2023

Location: Australian National University, Canberra

Background:

The Australian Hydrogen Research Conference 2023 (AHRC 2023) was established to bring together Australian hydrogen researchers at a critical time in the race to decarbonise Australia’s energy industry. Organisers wished to hold this conference in order to set a path for hydrogen research in Australia and secure the support of government.

Challenges:

To advise government, organisers wished to create a single document to hand over to parliament on behalf of Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley. Detailed research, opinions and information from Conference attendees had to be gathered to put forward recommendations that represented a wide cross-section of the industry. Being an inaugural event building customer loyalty and membership was an additional challenge.

Solution:

To collate information for the Key Research Questions document, the Conference program was designed to encourage feedback from attendees. A series of research topics and questions were established and delegates encouraged to share their thoughts via the event app and live polling technology. Former Australian Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel (pictured) was brought on as keynote speaker to raise profile and subsequent interest of AHRC 23.

To build brand loyalty for the planned 2024 Conference, a surprise bonus of free annual membership to the Australian Hydrogen Research Network (the host body) was announced during the gala dinner. This was made possible as a result of strong event sponsorship results.

Outcomes:

The key document, Australia’s Critical Hydrogen Research Questions, was compiled and submitted to Parliament, containing five recommendations. Huge government action followed in the proceeding weeks and months, including a $2 billion investment as part of a ‘Hydrogen Headstart’ program, announced as part of the 2023-2024 budget. This program has been labelled as “the first decisive action in the sector in a decade” by hydrogen leaders.

quote

“Arinex played an integral role in helping us deliver this conference by offering excellent guidance and advice along the way.  In particular, we valued the regular secretarial support for progress meetings of the organising committee (OC), the help in reaching out to sponsors so that our target sponsorship level was surpassed, and their willingness to respond promptly to queries from the OC. By careful budget management – particularly in the run up to the AHRC 23 – we were able to achieve a significant surplus that will provide a legacy to help support future hydrogen research conferences, as well as the AHRN itself as it seeks to become an independent non-profit company.”

Dr Andrew Dicks & Prof. Ken Baldwin

AHRC 23 Co-Chairs