Telstra to give Australian R&D a boost

Telco launches External Research and Development Program

Telstra has launched a research and development program — and is calling for applications.

The External Research and Development Program aims to strengthen the company’s link with researchers and developers across Australia, according to Telstra Chief Technology Officer, Dr Hugh Bradlow.

“We are inviting all groups involved in research and development — whether research institutions, universities, start-ups, established companies or equipment vendors — to let us know about their projects,” he said. “As the largest Australian telco we can support these project by offering access to internal experts, facilitated meetings with suppliers and other types of in-kind support.”

Telstra will consider ideas or programs that will potentially provide a benefit or new service to industry or Australian end-users and be relevant to its business. This can include environmentally-focused projects through to tech projects such as cloud computing, smart infrastructure or urban development.

Selection for the program will be in two parts: interested parties must submit a précis of their project via Telstra’s Web site by September 16, 2009. The site also includes application terms and conditions. A shortlist of projects will be selected and the principals of these projects will be invited to present at the Telstra External R&D day in November to a panel of senior Telstra executives.

The level of funding is unclear at this stage as the projects chosen will dictate the kind of support and financial arrangements, a spokesperson for Telstra said. The program will also extend to in-kind support, such as access to Telstra’s experts or key vendor partners.

Although Telstra will receive a copy of the ideas for assessment, the intellectual property stays with the researchers.

“If they’re chosen for the program, then we’ll come to another arrangement,” the spokesperson said.

Researchers must demonstrate the innovation and value of their idea or proposition.

“We look forward to exploring with the research and development community how technology will be shaped in the future,” Bradlow said.

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