NICTA scores $250m more funding

Research group National ICT Australia (NICTA) has received an additional $249.5 million in funding from the Department 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 Minister Senator Helen Coonan, and DEST Minister Julie Bishop MP.

Senator Coonan said the "substantial and continued" funding for NICTA demonstrates the government's long-term commitment to enhancing Australia's information and communications technology innovation system and recognition of ICT's contribution to broader economic growth.

"I expect to see NICTA increasingly interacting with industry and applying its research to benefit all Australians," Coonan said.

In the 10-year period to June 30, 2011, the federal government will provide $380 million to NICTA as part of its $8.3 billion commitment 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 traffic flow, the Water Information Network (WIN) project to develop an ICT infrastructure of networked sensors and actuators that communicate over a wireless network to manage irrigation, and developing an IT methodology for discerning medically useful knowledge from micro-array profiles of tissue, with a focus on cancer diagnosis and treatment. This is being conducted in collaboration with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Minister Bishop said since it was established in 2002, NICTA has become a magnet for world-class researchers, including many of Australia's best researchers working overseas, and has enhanced Australia's research training capacity through a competitive PhD program.

"NICTA's research program has practical applications in a broad range of industries, wealth creation and benefits for all Australians," Bishop said.

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