QUT and Cisco deepen ties with $3 million innovation partnership

Brandon How

Cisco and the Queensland University of Technology have announced a $3 million partnership to push development in the retail and logistics sectors through industry and university research collaboration.

Over three years $900,000 will be given to a newly created Chair in Trusted Retail and Logistics Innovation to develop a research program centred on retail, supply chain, consumer behaviour and engagement, data privacy and cyber security.

Cisco is funding a $3 million partnership with QUT. Photo EQRoy/Shutterstock

The remaining funds will help the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) establish a innovation hub on campus called Innovation Central Brisbane, which will be fully operational by July.

QUT vice-chancellor Professor Margaret Sheil said the partnership is a fruitful investment for the future of the Australian economy.

“Our ongoing learning from recent floods alone highlights the need for greater innovation and trust in the supply chain, as just one area of our retail and logistics focus,” Professor Sheil said.

“We are constantly adapting to challenges, and it has never been more important to foster strong industry partnerships to address these.

“These partnerships rely on mutual benefit. Industry, businesses and government gain access to the latest research and expertise, while universities ensure that we are addressing problems with potential to have real impact.”

The hub features a 100sqm open innovation space that can host up to 50 people at a time. Cisco engineers will also be available to work with researchers, industry, and students on their proof-of-concept projects undertaken at the hub, which are expected to target research in improving digital capability in Australia.

Firms can submit EOIs for research projects that are 3-6 months long to QUT’s Centre for Future Enterprise, while becoming a innovation hub anchor member would permit a 12 month stay and grants access to a dedicated account manager.

Research under the Chair in Trusted Retail and Logistics Innovation will build on the Trusted Retail Innovation White Paper, published by the QUT Centre for Future Enterprise last year in partnership with Cisco. The paper investigated how relevant trust is to consumer experiences.

Both the hub and the new chair will sit within the centre, itself funded through Cisco’s $61 million Country Digital Acceleration (CDA).

The university will also join the Cisco-led National Industry Innovation Network (NIIN), which brings industry and university collaborators together to address industry challenges and promote digital transformation research.

Cisco vice president of Australia and New Zealand Ben Dawson said the latest partnership with QUT was indicative of Cisco’s ongoing commitment to digital technology research in Australia.

“The partnership with Cisco and QUT will create opportunities to further advance the transformation of retail and logistics industries through utilising digital technologies, research expertise and an open innovation ecosystem,” Mr Dawson said.

“Cisco is actively leading industry and university collaborations by expanding our investment in the NIIN, focusing on accelerating the commercialisation of research. It will also advance Australia’s standing in developing ground-breaking research and innovation to solve significant industry challenges.

“The partnership will also provide opportunities for students to connect with industry experts and leading researchers to build, test proofs of concepts and rapid prototypes, developing their skills and experience to be job-ready.”

The NIIN was originally founded between Cisco, Optus, La Trobe University and Curtin University in 2020. However, it has since expanded to include Flinders University and the University of New South Wales.

Each member university also has a Cisco funded research chair and innovation hub. The other research chairs are the Curtin University chair in advanced networking, La Trobe University Chair in AI and internet of things, Flinders University Chair in Digital Health, and UNSW Chair in Digital Transport. The network is also partly funded by the CDA program.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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