The major telecommunications company has entered into a strategic alliance with the University of South Australia, in a bid to drive innovation in the cyber security and data science space.
Optus and the University of South Australia (UniSA) have partnered to establish a Cyber Security Research and Collaboration Hub in the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre (A3C), located in Adelaide's innovation precinct, Lot Fourteen.
The joint venture is designed to deliver research outcomes aimed at driving technology innovations and educating Australia’s next generation of cyber security and data science specialists.
The hub is expected to facilitate co-operation between industry, customers, partners, academics and students.
Students would be provided with opportunities for real-world engagement with industry and business while studying in the hub.
The agreement also involves the provision of an Optus scholarship program to support student and PhD enrolment in cyber security and data science related fields of study.
Optus Business vice president, product innovation, Deon Liebenberg added the co-investment was a response to the growing need for enhanced data science and cyber security capability.
“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 said.
“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.”
Optus and UniSA are expected to appoint a joint chair of cyber security and data science to head up the new Lot Fourteen facility.
University of South Australia deputy vice chancellor, research and innovation, Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington said the joint chair would help to spearhead both research and education in the 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,” she said.
“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 welcomed the new joint venture, which he said would provide broader support to the business community.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
This latest agreement builds on Optus and UniSA’s partnership in Lot Fourteen’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Living Lab project, launched in 2019.