Massive funding boost for technology driven services

$310 million boost to research sector

Innovative research into Internet technology received a significant boost today with the announcement that close to $100 million in funding will be made available to the Smart Services Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) which will be fully operational by July 1, 2007.

After 12 months of highly competitive bidding, a two-stage application process and negotiations with senior representatives from an impressive list of investors, the Smart Services CRC has been awarded a $30.8 million grant from the Department of Education, Science and Training.

The grant comes under the Australian Government's CRC Programme and is part of a total $310 million boost to the sector. Only fourteen CRCs were awarded grants nationally.

The $30.8 milion grant is in addition to a further $68.5 million co-investment to be provided by Smart Services' industry partners.

Smart Services CRC is the evolution of the former Smart Internet Technology CRC (Smart Internet).

The funding boost will allow Smart Services to return at least $250 million to the Australian economy by 2016 through the commercialisation of high value mobile and online services across key media, finance and government sectors.

The Smart Services agenda will continue to provide the same world-class social and technology research as Smart Internet, tailoring innovation to suit user needs. It will also aim to ensure Australia remains competitive in the provision of technology-driven services globally.

Smart Internet chair, Neville Roach, said services represents 82.5 percent of GDP in Australia.

Roach said this equates to $685 billion in 2004/2005, yet the sector is currently seriously under serviced by innovation.

"As the opportunities for domestic and export markets increase, Smart Services CRC, with its excellent calibre of partners, is perfectly positioned to help Australia seize the moment," he said.

Westpac CIO, Simon McNamara, said the financial organization is a partner of the Smart Internet Technology CRC.

"The evolution to Smart Services aligns well with our business objectives and our focus on innovation," McNamara said.

Other private sector participants include Intel Australia, RACQ, Telstra Business and SAP.

The CRC has six strategic research programs covering: 'Global Service Futures', 'User Focussed Services', 'Aggregated Services', 'Multi-channel Content Delivery', 'Trust and Privacy' and 'Immersive Collaborative Service Interfaces', will support industry developments in media, finance and government.

Other Smart Services participants include the Swinburne University of Technology, University of New South Wales, University of Sydney, University of Wollongong, Queensland University of Technology, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

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