Australian government introduces new largest digital innovation powerhouse

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CSIRO expert
Mark Green from Tasmania's Taroona marine research centre closely observes Australia's first officially declared endangered sea fish, the spotted hand fish in Hobart, January 21. The CSIRO (commonwealth scientific & industrial research organization) marine research department have for the first time bred 32 juveniles in an important pilot program to aid the recovery of other failing species. Reuters/Stringer

The Australian government has announced one of the largest digital innovation teams in the world will work together to form a new research entity called Data61 through  collaboration with the digital productivity arm of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, or CSIRO, and the National ICT Australia, or NICTA. The government believes that the merge will "supercharge" Australia's technological advancements and economy through focused researches and innovations.

Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane and Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull said in an announcement on Aug. 28 that the collaboration will create an internationally recognised digital research powerhouse that will benefit the Australian industry. The powerhouse aims to reach into new global markets and seize new opportunities for jobs and growth in the country.

“CSIRO and NICTA are two world-class research organisations with some of the world’s leading scientists,” Macfarlane said. “Both have an impressive track record in digital innovation and have demonstrated their ability to take home-grown technologies to market.”

As a single national organisation, the research entity Data61 will produce focused research to deliver strong economic returns and ensure that Australia remains at the forefront of digital innovation, Turnbull said. With more than 300 technology PhDs enrolled at partner universities of the two collaborating organisations, Turnbull said, the Data61 will train “Australia’s future digital technology leaders” under the enhanced PhD programme.

The team will be led by the Australian technology entrepreneur Adrian Turner, who has been based in Silicon Valley and has worked at different technology-developing companies such as Phillips and the Borondi Group. Data61 will be “well-positioned to play a leading role in defining the new economic structures and opportunities that are emerging globally,” Turner said.

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