Swinburne University of Technology has unveiled a new innovation centre in partnership with Amazon Web Services aimed at incubating solutions to critical real-world challenges.
The Data for Social Good Cloud Innovation Centre (CIC) will be used by the university's researchers and students to develop products and services around health, social innovation and smart cities.
It is the first in a series of global CIC’s powered by AWS to be established in the Southern Hemisphere, and joins similar hubs at the Californian Polytechnic University and Arizona State University.
The centre will based within the university’s Hawthorn campus innovation precinct, which was established last year to bring students and academics together with business to stimulate innovation research.
Swinburne’s deputy vice-chancellor of research and development Aleksandar Subic said the centre was “by design focused on creating impact” and would develop “research and development projects with a clear innovation outcome”.
To do this it will leverage the expertise of the university’s Data Science Research Institute, Health Innovation Research Institute and Social Innovation Research Institute, which are already working to develop data-driven solutions.
“All of these opportunities for innovation will be data-driven, that require intelligence and insights from huge datasets across different boundaries and different areas for us to find meaningful, innovative solutions,” he said.
However it will also be co-located with the university’s data experience start-up to ensure the work is “not just about research”.
“[The centre is] not just about education and training. It also extends into innovation, into start-up development, into commercialisation ... to close the perfect circle,” he said.
Swinburne also plans to use the centre to tool up between 30 to 40 students each year through a series of student challenge projects.
Between the two streams the university expects to create up to ten startups through the centre each year.
AWS’s APAC regional health for education, research and not-for-profit Vicent Quah said the partnership would provide Swinburne with access to a range of AWS cloud services and training, the cost of which would be offset using promotional credits.
He said this would give students the ability to learn cloud technology from AWS, all the way from the four services of compute, storage and databases to even advance services of AI, machine learning, analytics and other new technologies”.
“What we want to do is prepare students for the future and help them acquire skills that will set them up for success to address challenge in the years to come,” Quah said.