National ICT Australia scores more funding

Research group National ICT Australia (NICTA) has received anadditional A$250 million (CDN$210.8 million) in funding from theDepartment of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts(DCITA) and the Department of Education, Science and Training(DEST).

The new, five-year agreement was announced by DCITA MinisterSenator Helen Coonan, and DEST Minister Julie Bishop MP.

Senator Coonan said the “substantial and continued” funding forNICTA demonstrates the government’s long-term commitment toenhancing Australia’s information and communications technologyinnovation system and recognition of ICT’s contribution to broadereconomic growth.

“I expect to see NICTA increasingly interacting with industryand applying its research to benefit all Australians,” Coonansaid.

In the 10-year period to June 30, 2011, the federal governmentwill provide A$380 million to NICTA as part of its A$8.3 billioncommitment to innovation, dubbed “Backing Australia’s Ability”.

NICTA’s research areas include the Smart Transport and Roads(STaR) project to develop new technologies for streamlining trafficflow, the Water Information Network (WIN) project to develop an ICTinfrastructure of networked sensors and actuators that communicateover a wireless network to manage irrigation, and developing an ITmethodology for discerning medically useful knowledge frommicro-array profiles of tissue, with a focus on cancer diagnosisand treatment. This is being conducted in collaboration with thePeter MacCallum Cancer Center.

Minister Bishop said since it was established in 2002, NICTA hasbecome a magnet for world-class researchers, including many ofAustralia’s best researchers working overseas, and has enhancedAustralia’s research training capacity through a competitive PhDprogram.

“NICTA’s research program has practical applications in a broadrange of industries, wealth creation and benefits for allAustralians,” Bishop said.

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