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ICT giants all under the one roof at Canterbury University

Reprinted from University of Canterbury's "Chronicle" - 30/06/06

Leading international and New Zealand information and communications technology companies IBM, Hewlett Packard (HP), Jade Software Corporation and Tait Electronics are to be key partners in a new multi-million dollar research centre at the University of Canterbury.

The New Zealand ICT Innovation Institute, which will also be known as UCi3, will be New Zealand's premier centre of excellence in collaborative ICT research. It will be the home of multi-disciplinary ICT-based research partnerships between University researchers and the ICT sector.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Sharp says the Institute will allow the kind of collaboration between researchers and industry never seen before in New Zealand.

"I am very excited by the opportunities the New Zealand ICT Innovation Institute will provide for our post-grad researchers and the ICT sector which needs something like this if it is to realise its full potential.

"In just six months we have managed to get the likes of IBM, HP, Tait and Jade all under the one roof which is impressive whichever way you look at it, be it the short time span or the calibre of these industry partners."

The University was given six months to secure matching support for a Government commitment of $9.7 million to the Institute.

The government funds have been allocated from its Partnerships for Excellence Scheme which makes contributions to projects which foster relationships between tertiary institutions, business and industry.

The scheme requires matching funding to be secured from other sources before any of its funding becomes available.

The New Zealand ICT Innovation Institute will be housed in a purpose-built facility, construction of which will begin later this year.

Already, the University has taken delivery of an IBM high performance computer, which will be the most powerful research computer in New Zealand.

IBM New Zealand's managing director, Katrina Troughton, says as well as supplying the high performance computer, IBM will be sending a number of its international experts in advanced computing and associated research on visits to the Institute.

"This is a start of what we hope will be a long and productive relationship between IBM and the University. The skills students will learn and the existence of such a world-class facility is set to be a real asset to the continued development of New Zealand's innovation economy.

"IBM believes in the power of innovation to assist in the transformation of New Zealand society and its economy. We're excited to be supporting this initiative with Canterbury University as a driver of innovation."

HP's multi-year commitment to the New Zealand ICT Innovation Institute includes a grant for University staff to undertake research into teaching technology. HP will also provide technology, services and opportunities for students to be involved in its business over the next five years.

HP Managing Director Keith Watson says he is delighted to be collaborating with the University, a long-time HP customer, and other industry leaders.

"All the partners in this project share a passion for technology and its potential to transform the way we live and work. I'm personally very excited about this opportunity do something very positive for the industry in New Zealand.

"While HP has committed to provide equipment and services, the real focus of our involvement is directly fostering New Zealand talent through scholarships, internships and other work opportunities here and overseas. This people-focussed involvement is very appropriate for HP - we are a global company that started out as just two Stanford graduates and a garage."

Canterbury University believes it is the natural location for the New Zealand ICT Innovation Institute because of the region's strong involvement in the ICT sector.

"That's why we are delighted to have two of Canterbury and New Zealand's pioneering ICT companies with us - Tait Electronics and Jade Software Corporation," says Professor Sharp.

Tait's Managing Director, Michael Chick, is looking forward to his company's sponsorship of the Wireless Research Centre within the Institute. Michael Chick sees it as natural extension of the existing strong relationship with the University.

"Tait Electronics' growth has come about due to our long-term commitment to R&D and academic collaboration, so it's very much a virtuous circle for our company and for New Zealand.

"The Wireless Research Centre will help attract the cream of the engineering crop which is great for the University and great for Tait."

Jade Software Corporation's Managing Director, Dr Rod Carr, says he welcomes UC's initiative in developing the New Zealand ICT Innovation Institute.

"Accelerating the growth in the breadth and depth of capability to create good businesses out of great ideas is dear to the heart of Jade Software Corporation.

"We are proud to play our part as the first founding private sector supporter of the Institute and look forward to a long and mutually beneficial association."

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