Gillard made the announcement at 10:30am this morning at the University of Melbourne, introduced by the University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis. She was accompanied by Victorian Premier John Brumby and IBM Australia Chief Technology Officer Glenn Wightwick, as well as a media entourage.
The lab will be the first IBM lab combining both research and development in a single operation, with the aim of accelerating progress towards a smarter planet.
Specifically, the lab will focus on areas critical to Australian like water management, transport in urban centres, natural disaster management, smart electrical grids and more.
While the lab is expected to bring many benefits to the state of Victoria - including 150 new researcher positions over five years, 38 of which will be PhD students - the lab will have far-reaching benefits to Australia nationally as well as demonstrating to the world the contribution Australia can make in science and technology.
Gillard stated the Federal Government has committed $22m in funding over five years, with the Victorian government also making a contribution.
Both Victorian Premier John Brumby and IBM Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Glen Boreham similarly emphasised this point. Brumby referred to Victoria's hosting of the NBN hub, while Boreham repeated Gillard's claim that a ubiquituous high speed broadband network would make their projects possible.
Gillard drew on IBM's rich history of research and development, citing big blue's background in programming languages, relational database systems and super conductivity.
The IBM lab is touted as a big win for Melbourne, a big win for Australia and a big win for industry. Boreham stated that this was the most significant day and announcement in IBM's entire 78 year history in Australia.