The University of Melbourne has welcomed the new IBM Research and Development - Australia, which will help the community better prepare for and better cope with major natural disasters and lead to a more sustainable future.


The lab is IBM’s first continuous exploration, whole-of-University relationship and will see IBM researchers from labs around the world exploring research opportunities with University of Melbourne researchers from across all schools and faculties.


University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis said the centre would bring together leading minds globally, combining our technologies in the interests of a safer and more sustainable world."

“In recent years we have experienced a range of natural disasters, throughout the world, from floods and bushfires in our own backyard, to cyclones, tsunamis, severe storms, typhoons, earthquakes and landslides,” he said.


“These events can cause immense hardship for individuals and communities and can result in significant loss of life.”


“No single organization can tackle the impact these disasters have on the world. Instead we need to combine our technologies, our resources and capabilities and bring together leading minds from around the world to research solutions that reduce the risk and impact of these devastating events.


“Universities, industry, government and research institutes need to work together to find solutions to these complex global challenges.


The lab will engage with researchers from leading institutions including the University, CSIRO, National ICT Australia (NICTA) and Australian business. It will further strengthen the partnership forged between the University of Melbourne and IBM in 2007.


It is the first IBM laboratory to bring together research and development in a single organization focused on nurturing a smarter planet and will focus on three key areas:

  • Innovation in areas related to resource discovery, production, supply chain and operations using advanced techniques in monitoring, analytics and automation of resources including oil, gas, minerals, water and food.
  • Expand and integrate expertise in the management of natural disasters including real time event processing, weather modeling, traffic management and mobility in event of evacuation and communication and emergency responses.
  • Extending the work begun in the IBM Collaboratory to translate life sciences research into clinical applications.


IBM Senior Vice-President and Director of IBM Research, Dr John E. Kelly III, said research and development played a vital role in IBM’s strategy for growth.


"R&D plays a vital role in IBM’s strategy for growth," he said. “The lab will work with Australia’s top scientists and engineers from academia, government and industry to extend IBM’s global R&D footprint and increase its impact on our clients and make the world work better.  We look forward to working with the Australian technical and scientific community on some of the most pressing problems and greatest opportunities of our time.”


The opening of the IBM research laboratory coincides with the development of the National Disaster Management Research Initiative at the University of Melbourne, which will bring together researchers from across the university, and beyond, with expertise in disaster management.