University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has signed a global research partnership with Alcatel in a bid to increase local R&D and commercialisation activity, according to the director of the Institute for Information & Communication Technologies Professor John Hughes.
Leveraging a relationship that began in the 1970s, Professor Hughes said the international research agreement will focus on network management.
"We will be working on network management and negotiation theory which involves artificial intelligence," Hughes said.
"A lot of focus will be at the user’s end with usability and security. When users pick up a phone they are not interested in infrastructure," he said.
Hughes said the Alcatel relationship provides the institute with interesting problems.
"We’ve got some people with serious expertise that it can ‘rent’ from us," he said. “This is not a ‘grant and go away’ arrangement as UTS researchers will be working closely with Alcatel."
While it is not a primary driver for the partnership, Hughes said UTS is positioned to benefit from any commercialisation of developed technologies.
"Commercialisation has always been difficult for government-funded research institutions and the UTS has had modest success with three spin-off companies created in technology areas," he said. "As a research institution, the greatest benefit will be the flow of ideas."
According to Hughes commercialisation can be an enormous distraction to universities and the secret is to find the right industrial partners.
"Universities should be generous and the returns will come through donations and people," he said.
Alcatel Australia’s chief technology officer Vince Pizzica shared this sentiment about commercialising research.
"Universities are good at producing people who are the most important part," Pizzica said. "We will share the benefits of commercialisation with the UTS and part of the relationship is a cash injection."
Pizzica said communications research and development is increasingly moving away from components to applications and their use on networks.
"This is now more than 30 per cent of our R&D spend," he said. "How to make applications independent of network infrastructure is a key part of the UTS project."
In an example of how this partnership removes international research boundaries, Pizzica said some of Alcatel’s IPv6 enablement work, which is lead out of Shanghai, is expected to come to the UTS.