QUT to Lead New National Research Centre for Interaction Design

December 2003

For immediate release

Australian innovation has been given a major boost with the creation of a new national research centre for interaction design, to be based at QUT.

The Federal Government has committed $12.4million over seven years to the new Cooperative Research Centre for Interaction Design while QUT and industry partners will invest a further $7.4million to develop creative technologies for improving access to the digital world.

QUT Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Coaldrake said the Government's support for the new research centre demonstrated growing confidence in QUT and its partners to lead commercially sound research.

"The new CRC for Interaction Design will position Australia as a global leader in creative industries content creation," Professor Coaldrake said.

Interim CEO of the Research Centre for Interaction Design, QUT's Professor Jeff Jones, said the goal of the new centre was to develop creative industries such as game development, digital art, film, television, multimedia, performing and visual arts and design sectors.

"This centre will be a catalyst for growing the creative industries nationally. It takes account of local talent in the industry and in universities and puts a really strong face to global communities and markets.

"Brand new technology often fails because it is seen as an inferior version of something we already have - this new centre aims to develop creative ideas into innovative and commercially successful products," Professor Jones said.

The centre, to be based at QUT's new Creative Industries precinct at the Kelvin Grove Urban Village, brings together four Australian universities: QUT, the University of Queensland, RMIT and Griffith University and internationally, the University of Canterbury.

Connections are also being made with industry and universities in North America and Europe.The centre has major industry backing and core commercial partners are SGI, Auran Technologies, Cloud 9 Screen Entertainment Group and Unisys Corporation.

The interim chairman of the CRC for Interaction Design is Melbourne-based Dr Terry Cutler. "We have innovative structures for participation of small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), really solid international linkages and an incredibly strong team," Dr Cutler said. Professor Jones said there had been a huge response to the new research centre. "Since we submitted the research funding proposal in May more and more people are trying to jump on the caravan ' they're queuing up to join our uprising," Professor Jones said.

SGI CEO Bob Bishop said: "This is a first, a real breakthrough for Australia. It is exactly what Australia needs to take its creative talent to the wealth-making markets in the north.

"Many new products are already under development - for example, the CRC for Interaction Design and partner CyberDreaming Pty Ltd have undertaken an Indigenous digital project which will see the digitisation of the Carnarvon Gorge, an area with significant aboriginal sites 800 kilometres west of Brisbane.

"The aim is to recreate traditional Indigenous culture using a virtual environment, and providing a multi-user online experience that includes music, language, stories and animation," Professor Jones said.

For more information:
Jason Pickersgill, ACID. T: 07 3337 7929 or 0432 163 886. E: jason@acid.net.au

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