Posted on 14. Oct, 2010 in Victoria

The Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the Premier of Victoria John Brumby today announced IBM will establish a world-first global research and development laboratory at the University of Melbourne.

The new centre, which will be created with the support of the Gillard and Brumby Labor Governments, will be the first IBM global research and development laboratory anywhere in the world.

The Prime Minister said the new IBM centre will employ 150 highly-skilled staff and PhD students to help solve some of the biggest challenges facing the globe.

The national innovation centre will also seek to solve problems of the future that haven’t even affected us yet.

The IBM laboratory will be located at the University of Melbourne where researchers can work side-by-side to help tackle international issues such as managing natural disasters, using our natural resources efficiently, fighting diseases, boosting agricultural yields and harnessing the power of biotechnology.

Premier John Brumby said the project further cements Victoria’s reputation as the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) capital of Australia following the National Broadband Network’s decision to build their hub in Melbourne, and the release of the government’s $110 million ICT strategy yesterday.

“Victoria is the perfect place to base this globally important ICT research and development lab and create 150 new jobs,” Mr Brumby said.

“We are home to the hub of the NBN, have the best ICT workforce in the country, a strong base of ICT research institutions and companies, a growing economy and a very supportive government.

“We have actively sought out new technology to help deliver another era of economic prosperity for Victoria.

“Just like our agricultural, mining, manufacturing and services phases, Victoria’s ICT phase will transform our economy and create thousands of new jobs for Victorian families.

Glen Boreham, Managing Director for IBM Australia and New Zealand said IBM was working with the Australian and Victorian Governments to expand its R&D capability in Australia.

“Aligned with its drive to build a Smarter Planet, IBM has been drawn to Australia by the availability of world-class talent, the innovation environment, continent-scale opportunities and Australia’s robust economy,” Mr Boreham said.

The Federal Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Kim Carr, said the expansion of IBM’s facilities in Australia was an example of a good partnership.

“Co-investment with companies such as IBM helps provide a model of cooperation between universities and private industry, and will build high-skill, high-wage jobs for Australians in technologically cutting-edge industries,” Senator Carr said.

“It will also provide real world experience for our researchers and PhD students in a world-class facility.”

University of Melbourne’s Deputy Vice Chancellor of research Professor Peter Rathjen said that the facility will bring together leading research and development initiatives with world-class ICT infrastructure.

“The establishment of the global R&D lab will bring together some of the best minds in the country and arguably the world,” Professor Rathjen said.

The new IBM facility is expected to start operating in the first quarter of 2011 and grow to about 150 researchers within the next five years.

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