Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Victorian Premier John Brumby and IBM announced plans to build IBM's first global research and development laboratory at the University of Melbourne in the state of Victoria, Australia.
In a world first for IBM, the new global lab will combine research and development in a single organization focused on accelerating progress toward a smarter planet. With this announcement, IBM will expand its presence in Victoria, the technology hub of the Asia-Pacific region.
"IBM has been drawn to Australia by the availability of world-class talent, the innovation environment, continent-scale opportunities and Australia's robust economy," said Glen Boreham, managing director for IBM Australia and New Zealand.
With the support of the Victorian government, IBM and the University of Melbourne will combine resources to help create a national innovation center to solve the significant forward-looking problems in Australia and to share that knowledge and expertise with the world. The world-class facility will employ 150 highly-skilled researchers tasked with finding solutions to natural disaster management, water efficiency, natural resource management, disease prevention, energy efficiency, boosting agricultural yields and harnessing the power of biotechnology.
"We believe there is bright future for ICT in Australia," said Prime Minister Gillard. "A big part of that future is encouraging companies such as IBM to conduct research and development in Australia on the significant problems facing Australia and to share their knowledge and expertise."
As the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) capital of Australia, the state of Victoria is home to more than 8,400 ICT companies, including the Asia Pacific operations of industry giants such as Alcatel Lucent, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and Microsoft. Victoria is also home to the development efforts for the Australian National Broadband Network (NBN) and boasts significant access to quality R&D, a highly skilled workforce and the infrastructure to facilitate cutting-edge technology research via research centers such as the University of Melbourne, the Institute for a Broadband Enabled Society and the Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative, home to one of the world's largest life sciences supercomputers.
"Victoria is the perfect place to base globally important ICT research facility like this," said Premier Brumby. "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. IBM's new research center keeps Victoria at the forefront of high-end global ICT research and development."