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Friday, 06 November 2020 16:51

Optus, University of South Australia collaborate on cyber security, data science initiative

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Optus and the University of South Australia (UniSA) have announced a new strategic alliance designed to deliver research outcomes aimed at driving technology innovations and educating Australia’s next generation of cyber security and data science specialists.

Optus says the joint venture will establish an Optus and UniSA led Cyber Security Research and Collaboration Hub in the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre (A3C) in Adelaide's innovation precinct, Lot Fourteen - bringing together industry, customers, partners, academics and students under one roof to solve some of the most complex cyber issues and pave the way for new products and services.

Students will have opportunities for real world engagement with industry and business while they are studying in a hub, that will see academics, students and technical and business experts working side by side.

Already partners in Lot Fourteen’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Living Lab project, launched in 2019, the Optus and UniSA alliance will further support the Lab’s “leadership” in data analytics and machine learning.

As part of the joint venture, Optus and UniSA will appoint a joint Chair of Cyber Security and Data Science to provide leadership, foster excellence in teaching and high-impact research across the University and at Lot Fourteen.

The Optus and UniSA alliance will deliver multi-disciplinary education courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students, along with the creation of a joint research and innovation fund to develop and attract innovation to South Australia.

Optus Business Vice President Product Innovation, Deon Liebenberg says Optus’ co-investment is a response to the “increasingly critical role” data science and cyber security plays in the world, and the need to bring academia and industry from all sectors under one roof to solve complex digital issues collectively.

“We want to apply advances in these fields to make a real difference in people's lives and this joint venture will unlock opportunities and solutions that don't even exist yet,” Liebenberg says.

“Our exciting collaboration will create opportunities to conduct cross-cutting research and a platform for exchange between UniSA, subject experts from Optus, and Optus’ enterprise and government clients and partners. This will ultimately help us assist our customers tap into emerging markets and opportunities across a range of industries and operate more efficiently.”

The Optus and UniSA agreement allows for the annual funding of an Optus scholarship program to support student and PhD enrolment in cyber security and data science related fields of study - and will also leverage the global industry knowledge and local experts from Trustwave, the cybersecurity arm of Optus.

University of South Australia Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation, Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington says the joint Chair will help to spearhead both research and education in the increasingly sophisticated and crucial fields of cyber security and data science.

“This expertise folds perfectly into the capacities being developed in South Australia in defence and security, space and space technologies and in satellite systems.

“As South Australia grows its base in these industries, there will be increasing demand for the right research expertise and the right graduates to take up significant positions in both research and practice in cybersecurity and aligned positions in data science.

“The Optus-UniSA strategic alliance is an important investment in that future and creating that talent pipeline.”

South Australian Premier, Steven Marshall says the joint venture will further enhance SA’s capacity in cyber innovation.

“The design of this joint venture and its location at Lot Fourteen and in the A3C will more closely align education, research and innovation and help to support existing and emerging businesses.

“Cyber security and data science are critical for business, for government and industry and having a relationship that will support growth right here in South Australia will be vital in creating jobs and investment post the pandemic.”

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