La Trobe Uni forms Microsoft partnership to source next gen IT staff

Campus-based centre to be launched

La Trobe University and Microsoft will today launch Australia's first campus-based Microsoft Centre.

The centre is one of three to be established by both organizations under a special partnership that is supported by the Victorian government.

Victorian ICT Minister, Tim Holding, will officially open the centre at 4pm today.

The new centre will provide cutting edge hardware and software and will lower infrastructure barriers to ensure students, academics and small to medium companies have access to start-up facilities for research and product development.

La Trobe University's vice-chancellor, Professor Paul Johnson, said the university was extremely pleased that its expertise and reputation for software research, development and information technology had attracted such important infrastructure to Victoria.

"The facilities and activities in the centre will focus on strategic projects, closely aligned to the Microsoft platform, encouraging the innovative abilities of our students and furthering their entrepreneurial skills and career prospects," he said.

"This, in turn, will contribute to economic growth through development and transfer of technology, new products and world-class skill acquisition."

Director of Microsoft's developer and platform group, Norbert Haehnel, said the partnership is a great mechanism for driving student to business linkages.

"Microsoft will provide support ranging from mentoring and access to the latest software and IT tools to explore emerging technologies," Haehnel said.

"We will be promoting the centre's facilities to Microsoft partners, industry clusters and other stakeholders, opening up opportunities for students and helping local business source the next generation of IT professional."

Professor Jugdutt (Jack) Singh, director of the university's centre for technology infusion and professor of microtechnology/nanoelectronics, will manage the new La Trobe University Microsoft Centre.

"The centre will provide easy access to cutting edge technology to facilitate skill transfer and innovation between industry and academia in a stimulating environment," Singh said.

"Smaller companies will have access to mentoring by larger companies such as Microsoft, Intel, WACOM, and i-mate, which will give students and researchers exposure to industry in a supportive environment to help develop products for eventual commercialisation."

La Trobe's centre for technology infusion is a university-based research and product realisation facility.

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