29 February 2012

RMIT, India unite for automation research

Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu has announced a new Australia-India Research Centre for Automation Software Engineering (AICAUSE) at RMIT University.

Delegation at the announcement of new research centre

Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu and Vice-Chancellor and President of RMIT University, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, and other members of the Victorian delegation meet officials at the ABB Corporate Research Centre in Bangalore. Photo: Victorian Government.

Mr Baillieu said the centre would put Victoria at the forefront of global software engineering for advanced automation technologies.

RMIT will collaborate with ABB Australia, ABB Corporate Research Centre (CRC) and Global Industries and Services in India to develop AICAUSE at the University, as well as a corporate research footprint at ABB's facility in Notting Hill, Melbourne.

Research laboratories at RMIT City campus, ABB Notting Hill and ABB Bangalore, India, will be linked to form a virtual R&D laboratory supporting joint industry research collaboration - enabling the rotation of PhD students and researchers between industry and academia.

The ABB Group of companies operates in 100 countries and employs 130,000 people.

Speaking at ABB CRC in Bangalore Mr Baillieu said Melbourne would be ABB Australia's new centre of excellence for automation and robotics.

"ABB Australia expects to generate 300 new highly-skilled jobs in Victoria over the next four years," he said.

"AICAUSE is a Victorian and Indian bilateral research centre for real-world applications in the field of global software engineering for automation and heavy engineering.

"The establishment of AICAUSE will provide significant strategic benefits to RMIT University."

The centre will support ABB Australia and other businesses in industry sectors including advanced manufacturing, energy generation and distribution, utilities, building automation and mining and natural resources.

When fully operational, the centre will develop engineering solutions by combining software engineering expertise with other multi-disciplinary research strengths at RMIT.

Initially facilitating collaborative research between Victoria and India on virtual software systems used to test equipment remotely, AICAUSE will also develop new pathways for students.

RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, said the new centre would strengthen RMIT's existing research ties with India.

"AICAUSE will engage with Victoria's leading ICT R&D research centres including the Advanced Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre, the National ICT Australia Victorian Research Laboratory and the Victorian eResearch Strategic Initiative," she said.

RMIT's eResearch Director and Professor of Software Engineering, Dr Heinz Schmidt said the focus of the collaboration was on mining, manufacturing and renewable power generation.

"We're working on innovations in remote testing, deployment and monitoring of assets in mining, and turnkey solar generation projects," he said.

ABB India CEO, Bazmi Husain, said the alliance would be able to draw on the expertise of a company that invests more than $US1 billion a year in R&D globally - much of it directed at ABB's seven corporate research centres.

ABB Australia CEO, Axel Kuhr, said a big focus for ABB in Australia was on technologies that improved energy efficiency and addressed climate change.

"Australia will be the regional project execution centre in Asia for solar power projects, and Victoria will become the centre of expertise for intelligent building systems based on KNX technologies, the worldwide standard for home and building control," he said.

The announcement came as part of a trade mission to India of more than 200 Victorian companies led by Mr Baillieu and received significant media coverage in Australia including Channel 9 TV News in Victoria and the Deccan Herald in India.

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