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IT research group NICTA is merging with the CSIRO’s Digital Productivity flagship to create a new entity, Data61.

The decision by the federal government to end NICTA’s role as a stand-alone research facility follows its previously announced plans to cut funding to the organisation by mid next year.

In a joint statement today, the Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane and Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull said the merger of NICTA and the CSIRO would create a digital research powerhouse and one of the largest digital innovation teams in the world.

The new organisation is to be led by Australian technology entrepreneur Adrian Turner who said today he was joining CSIRO at an exciting time, and his vision for Data61 is to “harness the start-up culture of NICTA and multidisciplinary strength of CSIRO to deliver maximum benefit to Australia.”

Turner, the former managing director and co-founder of the Borondi Group, has been based in Silicon Valley for the past 18 years where he first worked for Phillips then built his own companies from the ground-up.

He also co-founded smartphone and Internet of Things security company Mocana Corporation and authored the book ‘BlueSky Mining – Building Australia’s Next Billion Dollar Industries’ and was Chair of the Board of Directors for Advance, Australia’s expatriate network.

Announcing the merger today, Minister Macfarlane said the CSIRO and NICTA are two world-class research organisations with some of the world’s leading scientists.

“Both have an impressive track record in digital innovation and have demonstrated their ability to take home-grown technologies to market.

“Together they will be a force to be reckoned with, creating an internationally-recognised digital research powerhouse that will benefit Australian industry as it reaches into new global markets and seizes new opportunities for jobs and growth.

"I'd like to thank the NICTA members and the Board for embracing this opportunity to supercharge Australia's digital research."

Minister Turnbull said that having a single national organisation will enable Data61 to produce “focussed research that will deliver strong economic returns and ensure that Australia remains at the forefront of digital innovation.”

“The new combined entity will continue to train Australia’s future digital technology leaders through the enhanced PhD program, with more than 300 technology PhDs enrolled at partner universities.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).


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