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Canterbury's gets leading edge of ICT research

Canterbury gets an in-road to the leading edge of ICT research

A new partnership with Media Lab South Pacific will give the University of Canterbury a stronger presence at the forefront of new information and communication technologies.

Media Lab is a New Zealand-based incorporated society which works to consolidate robust working arrangements between researchers and industry to nurture innovation and excellence in the ICT sector.

The head of Canterbury University’s Computer Science and Software Engineering department, Associate Professor Tim Bell, is excited by the partnership.

“Media Lab matches research needs in industry with research capabilities in universities. Some of that is commercial development rather than just pure research. But some of it is supporting research and upskilling graduates coming through so their skills will match what’s needed in industry.”

The University had already been working with Media Lab before becoming one its research partners. Professor Bell says on past experience, future work will be varied.

“Some of it ranges from commercially-sensitive work that will probably just be paid for on a contract basis right through to more open-ended material where industry is pleased that it’s being explored by a group in New Zealand.

“A lot of the research is relevant to New Zealand. If a New Zealand telecommunications company is thinking of introducing some new technology, for example, then there are particular issues which come up within New Zealand with the kind of infrastructure we have.”

One of the major benefits Professor Bell sees of the Media Lab partnership is that it will allow Canterbury University researchers to concentrate on what they do best. “For us it means that we’ve got much easier access to research projects. Instead of academics having to spend a lot of time on the road looking for projects and developing those relationships, we can get on with what we’re good at, which is doing the research itself.”

Professor Bell says the research opportunities will not necessarily be limited to his department. “The arrangement, technically, is with the whole university so it could cover any discipline. But because it’s focused largely on telecommunications it’s primarily going to involve the Computer Science and Software Engineering department and the Electrical and Computer Engineering department.”

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