Australian carbonfibre manufacturer Quickstep will set up a dedicated automotive division in Geelong after being awarded a $1.76 million grant from the Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund (GRIIF) that is partially funded by Ford Australia.

Quickstep’s automotive division will be based at a new facility located at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus in Geelong. The facility will design and develop automotive manufacturing cells and enable the production of customer prototypes and initial production quantities.

The project is expected to cost $5.6m in total between now and June 2017, and will create 30 new jobs in Geelong.

The GRIIF is a $24.5m program jointly funded by the Federal and Victorian governments and Ford Australia designed to encourage new investment to create new or additional business capacity that results in sustainable jobs to assist those affected by the car maker’s decision to cease vehicle local production in October 2016.

Quickstep’s primary business model for the automotive sector is to produce manufacturing cells and licence its ‘Quickstep process’, which uses liquids to cure components, and resin spray transfer technology to manufacturers around the world.

The project complements the creation of a carbonfibre composite cluster with Carbon Nexus and Deakin University, which has a significant involvement in composite research. The cluster will be on of only two independent carbonfibre research centres in the world.

Quickstep executive chairman Tony Quick said the grant would make an important contribution to enabling his company to “build a strong automotive culture and propel Quickstep further into the global automotive market”.

“We are grateful to the Australian and Victorian governments and Ford Australia for this funding and for the opportunity it creates to join an innovative cluster of carbonfibre companies and become part of a global centre of excellence in carbonfibre production,” Quick said.

“Carbon Nexus provides access to industry and a team of researchers who have helped to develop new carbonfibres, reduce production costs and speed up manufacturing processes, and we will benefit from their expertise as we improve our volume production capacity.”