ICT thinktank set for September

A number of ICT organisations have organised the first ICT Outlook Forum to discuss the challenges and opportunities for ICT research in response to the ICT Framework for the Future initiative announced last year.

Aiming to move Australia "up a notch or two in terms of its contributions to global ICT innovation", according to CSIRO chief executive Dr Geoff Garrett, the forum will bring together international and Australian business and research leaders to Sydney in September.

"Now is the time to establish the priorities that will allow us to do that, so we can deliver real benefits both to Australian ICT businesses and to businesses that depend on ICT in, for example, biotechnology, finance, health and security," Dr Garrett said.

Dr Mel Slater, CEO of National ICT Australia Ltd, established as part of the commonwealth's Backing Australia's Ability program, said the forum is "the first step in a new era of cooperation between business and ICT research organisations".

He said National ICT Australia is "the new ICT centre of excellence".

The forum will also consider the role of ICT in the national research priorities within the context of the ICT Framework for the Future, which the Prime Minister John Howard announced at the World Congress on Information Technology in February 2002. At that time he called for a boost to the ICT research sector and greater cooperation and collaboration from its main players.

Organisers of the forum include National ICT Australia, CSIRO, the Defence, Science & Technology Organisation (DSTO) and the Council of ICT Cooperative Research Centres.

Neil Bryans, director of DSTO's information sciences laboratory, said Defence is a heavy user of, and researcher in, ICT.

"Success in future war-fighting will be dependent on the application of ICT to provide a highly networked force with the ability to share information at all levels within a highly secure cyber environment. This approach is termed Network- Centric Warfare (NCW) and is the subject of significant research activity within DSTO," Bryans said.

Issues to be raised on the first day of the forum include emerging business opportunities (such as services) and consequences for ICT R&D, and the challenges of delivering ICT innovation into other application domains - business, biotechnology, health, marketing, security.

The second day of the forum will focus on global technological trends and local challenges affecting two of the national research priority areas, health and safeguarding Australia.

The ICT Outlook Forum 2003 will be held on the September 3 and 4, 2003 in Sydney.

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