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New engineering research centre opens

15-02-2010
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RMIT has launched a new automation software engineering research centre in Melbourne, connecting the University with industry partner ABB, a leader in power and automation technologies.

RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Margaret Gardner hosted the launch of the Australia-India Research Centre for Automation Software Engineering (AICAUSE) in Melbourne earlier this month.

Professor Gardner said the centre exemplified RMIT's global engagement strategy.

"As a university of technology and design, RMIT is not only focused in its education and research, but also committed to a philosophy of education and research founded in action and experience," she said.

"This requires training and education and as well as research and development that engages with partners such as ABB Australia and their global networks – working with others to achieve our goals."

The launch demonstrated the implementation of the centre's deployment of its core capability of cloud support, robotic testing and visualisation control, with the facility at the City campus connecting with sites at ABB Australia and India.

Simon de Bell, ABB Australia Business Development Manager and AICAUSE Advisory Board member, highlighted the critical role of innovation in securing the future of energy supply in Australia.

"Practical, results-oriented research alliances with universities such as RMIT are a fundamental element for ABB to deliver power and productivity in an energy-intensive world," he said.

The centre – and in particular its eResearch component, the Virtual Interoperation Testing Laboratory (VITElab) – is funded by the portfolio of Victorian Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips under the Digital Futures Fund, part of the state's Technology Plan for the Futures (Biotech and ICT).

This government strategy includes the "eResearch Agenda" supporting skills development, data management and collaboration technology.

Professor Heinz Schmidt, Director eResearch and AICAUSE, said ABB Australia had provided a site in the AICAUSE Virtual Laboratory in Notting Hill, in the south-east of Melbourne, with connectivity being provided to equipment deployed at RMIT's City campus.

"Through the VITElab, ABB is also providing access to its testing facility in Bangalore - the largest such facility in the world," he said.

"By virtue of the ABB Bangalore Corporate Research Centre, RMIT is linked into the global research network of ABB headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.

"This network includes seven ABB corporate research centres and partner universities worldwide."

Professor Schmidt said the centre aimed to engage with other industries outside ABB and attract grants beyond the current funding commitments, which finish in 2016.

The centre is also moving to establish an ICT focused PhD program with institutes in Bangalore, India, leveraging the ABB partnership in Bangalore.

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