NICTA secures funding boost to employ former LSI-Agere researchers

An additional $4.8 million made available to extend work on silicon chip design

The federal government has made available an additional $4.8 million over two years for Australia's ICT research centre of excellence, NICTA.

Announcing the extra funding today, ICT Minister Helen Coonan said it will allow NICTA to retain its team of world class researchers in Australia.

Coonan said it will also enable the organisation to hire researchers with world-class skills in silicon chip design.

Specifically, it will allow NICTA to provide new employment to 16 researchers recently made redundant from LSI Australia (formerly Agere Systems) following the closure of its North Ryde research facility.

NICTA acting CEO, Aruna Seneviratne, said through this team Australia has developed a core competency in silicon chip design which is leading edge and contributed to Australia's ICT capability.

"The extra funding from the Australian Government means NICTA will be able to offer new employment to these researchers," Seneviratne said.

"They will be working on wireless-related research within NICTA's Embedded Systems research theme. This research is developing next generation wireless networks."

NICTA CTO of Embedded Systems, Dr Chris Nicol, said the organisation identified an opportunity to merge the LSI Australia-Agere team with an existing research effort to create state-of-the-art personal broadband wireless chips which will enable people to transfer large multi-media files, such as entire movies, a thousand times faster than currently possible.

Nicol said the addition of the researchers to the Millimetre Wave Gigabit Wireless Project team will allow NICTA to fast-track research on the technology.

He said the increased effort afforded by the LSI team could mean that research from the project would be ready for commercialisation in two years.

The researchers will be based at NICTA's NSW facilities and will be an important part of NICTA's efforts in Embedded Systems.

NICTA's Gigabit Wireless research Project is collaborating with IBM T.J. Watson, Princeton University, and Georgia Institute of Technology. The project has also received significant industry support including from Cadence, Synopsys, Agilent, Anritsu and Suss Micro Systems.

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