John Butler, State Government of Victoria Commissioner to the Middle East and North Africa
John Butler, State Government of Victoria Commissioner to the Middle East and North Africa, has welcomed the announcement that IBM will be opening its first ever Research and Development (R&D) Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia.
The investment by IBM is over A$100 million and follows the announcement of a new tax scheme earlier this year that benefits R&D firms carrying out R&D activities through a permanent establishment in Victoria.
Mr. Butler said the IBM partnership was a great win for Melbourne and companies from across the Middle East now have extra incentive to invest in Melbourne, which is predicted to become one of the world’s most attractive locations for R&D.
“This is a significant announcement for Melbourne and Victoria and shows how big global brands such as IBM are choosing the city as their home for R&D. Melbourne is now one of the world’s most attractive tax environments for R&D and we are looking forward to identifying and working with companies from the Middle East who might be interested in setting up there.”
IBM’s new facility will combine research and development in a single organisation and will focus on accelerating progress towards a smarter planet.
The new laboratory will apply advanced computing to work towards better management of natural resources, diseases, and agricultural yields. Employing some 150 people within five years, IBM has already commenced assembling a world-class team of research scientists of local and international research talent. A number of research projects are underway with key partners, including the University of Melbourne.
Melbourne was chosen as the location for this innovative facility because of its access to world-class research institutions, strong pipeline of talented and motivated professionals and a stable and transparent regulatory environment. These factors make Melbourne one of the leading R&D environments in the world, a status that was strengthened recently by the introduction of the Australian R&D Tax Incentive which provides for up to a 45% tax credit for eligible spending.
A major reason IBM was attracted to Australia is the rollout of the world-class National Broadband Network, which will enable high-speed transfer of data and underpin the delivery of research solutions.
Dr. John E. Kelly III, IBM Senior Vice President and Director of IBM Research, said: “The lab will work with Australia’s top scientists and engineers from academia, government and industry to extend IBM’s global R&D footprint and increase its impact on our clients and make the world work better. We look forward to working with the Australian technical and scientific community on some of the most pressing problems and greatest opportunities of our time.”
The Research and Development – Australia Laborabory will focus on three key areas including: Smarter Natural Resource Management: the focus will be to innovate in a number of key areas related to resource discovery, production, supply chain and operations using the most advanced techniques in monitoring, analytics and automation. These techniques will be applied to resources such as oil and gas, minerals, water and food. These resources will be considered in various contexts including sourcing, management and use, and particularly their role in liveable cities;
Smarter Natural Disaster Management: the focus will be to work on a number of projects that expand and integrate current expertise in areas such as real-time event (stream) processing, weather modelling, traffic management and mobility analytics to assist in the planning and management of evacuation, communication and emergency response; and
Smarter Healthcare and Life Sciences: the focus will be on the translation of life sciences research into clinical applications. Work has been underway since February 2010 through the IBM Research Collaboratory in Life Sciences - Melbourne in a number of areas including neuroscience, protein science and structural biology.
Victoria is the centre of the Australian ICT industry, with more than 8,400 technology companies generating A$27 billion in revenue, and accounting for 28% of national ICT revenue and employment. This investment is the latest in a series of ICT investments into the state, including: IBM’s Asia-Pacific Software Solutions centre, Ericsson’s R&D Centre, Computershare’s global headquarters, R&D and Operations Centre; Fujitsu software development operations; NEC’s global R&D Centre, and Tata’s Software Support Centre.