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NICTA to receive an additional $42 million to support digital economy and start-ups

Thursday, 8 August 2013 | By Rose Powell

Australian information and communications technology research centre NICTA will receive $42 million of new funding from the federal government in 2015-16 to bolster the tech industry as the country’s economy transitions from the mining boom.


Andrew Stead, new ventures director at NICTA, told StartupSmart the funding would enable the centre to support Australia’s leading technology talent.


“NICTA is focused on research excellence and wealth creation for Australia. One of our wealth creation mechanisms is to spin out companies. We’ve launched 12 so far, so the longer NICTA is around the more potential we have to support start-ups,” he says.


NICTA funds over 580 researchers and staff, partners with 22 universities, and works with 260 PhD students involved in 30 projects.


“We’re a research organisation primarily focused on software, optimisation of machine learning and systems architecture, so on the equipment side there isn’t much cost. The cost is smart people, and they’re essential if we’re going to produce excellent outcomes,” Stead says.


The Minister Assisting for the Digital Economy, Senator Kate Lundy, says in a statement NICTA is a world-class resource and the new funding would enable that to continue.


“It connects research excellence to practical real life challenges faced by industry, government and society, driving efficiency and productivity growth,” she says.


“NICTA brings both scale and depth to Australia’s ICT research. Investing in skills, innovation, and research is essential for Australia to remain productive and competitive and to ensure economic growth into the future.”