CSIRO ups ICT research investment

The CSIRO announced today that it will increase its investment in ICT research and development.

ICT and mathematical sciences will have their budgets increased by around $7.8 million, and up to 30 scientists and engineers will be recruited. The CSIRO ICT Centre's budget will increase by more than 14 percent to $48 million over the next two years, which includes a substantial increase in its involvement in National Research Flagships (from $5.3 million to $12.7 million) to address national research issues.

CSIRO deputy chief executive, Ron Sandland, said that the increased resources will strengthen the organization's capabilities in several research areas. "We will develop technologies for the monitoring and management of water resources through a large scale sensor network - the Water Resources Observation Network (WRON) - which, by 2010, will enable better management of water through more accurate monitoring of water resources across Australia," Sandland said. "We will be reaching for the sky by building a new radio astronomy facility in WA which will improve survey speed by a factor of 30. With other infrastructure this will increase Australia's chances of being identified in 2006 as the best site for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA)." ICT Centre director, Dr Alex Zelinsky, said that this increased investment will allow the centre to consolidate and expand its world-competitive research activities in areas like ICT for mining automation, enterprise information tools, e-research, and e-health.

Establishing a "substantial new activity" in ICT for "safeguarding Australia" is also on the drawing board.

"The ICT Centre will continue to focus on research that delivers viable commercial results for industry and society through forming partnerships across CSIRO, Australia and the world," Zelinsky said. "Last year we created a new company, Epitactix, and this year we have already created a spin-off to commercialize our Panoptic search technology."

The ICT Centre is also planning to expand into Tasmania, where it will partner with Tasmanian industries to create a new centre funded by the CSIRO and the federal government's Intelligent Island Program.

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