Advanced Spinifex Biofuture Materials Centre

Working with remote Indigenous communities, the Advanced Spinifex Biofuture Materials Centre is researching native spinifex grass and how to use it in the translation and commercialisation of different products and technologies.

Indigenous Australians have used spinifex grass for thousands of years to build shelter and other items including medicines and in wound healing.

Thanks to a long-running partnership between The University of Queensland and Bulugudu Limited, the Advanced Spinifex Biofuture Materials Centre will develop spinifex-based technology that has the potential to create a new spinifex manufacturing industry that supports Indigenous jobs in harvesting, manufacturing and laboratory sciences in remote Australia.



Based on a collaboration between The University of Queensland and Bulugudu Limited that started in 2007, the Advanced Spinifex Biofuture Materials Centre is Australia’s first collaboration between a university and Indigenous Australian partner. Focused on building knowledge and creating educational and economic outcomes, the centre aims to use existing traditional Indigenous knowledge as a base to create significant jobs and educational opportunities for Indigenous people in supply, manufacturing, and research.

Spinifex is a plant that is endemic to Australia, this means that the industry and supply are unique to our nation and are unable to be replicated on a large scale around the world.


The theme of this research investigates spinifex-derived materials like fibres and resin for advanced industrial applications such as building materials, high-performance plastics, and carbon fibre.

Globally, the building sector alone contributes to around 38 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions due to energy-intensive production methods, depleting resources, and unsustainable practices.

Producing building materials that strike a balance between optimum performance and less material consumption could help to alleviate the environmental impact of the booming construction industry. Similarly, producing high-performance materials from sustainable resources could reduce the dependency on fossil resources.

The use of engineered micro/nanomaterials from spinifex as high-performance additives has been shown to provide controls on processability, improve performance and expand the application areas of materials.

Research focus areas

Research team


Prof Colin Saltmere

Mr Michael Lucas

Mr Patrick Murphy

Dr Maryam 

Stakeholders and partners

The Indjalandji-Dhidhanu people through Bulugudu Ltd is an important partner of the Spinifex project. Prior to this, Spinifex had partnered with DAC from 2007-2021, before DAC became known as Bulugudu Ltd.


Research contacts

Dr Jan Lauko

Dr Lorine Wilkinson

Bulugudu contact