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The power of a good idea

Transformational ideas are the realm of universities. The drive to conceive of concepts that change paradigms is what inspires researchers to reach into the unknown and untested.

Harnessing the power of an idea can take many forms. It can be as simple as timing, as deliberate as need or as fanciful as what if. It can also be about being prepared to go against the norm and think outside established boundaries.

Without jumping too far head, this university has begun developing a potentially gamechanging idea into a real world application. It is a project called SenseT and barely eight or nine months ago, it was but a concept shared between researchers at the University of Melbourne and this university. Already, it is on its way to capturing the imagination of not only Australian researchers, but also those from international organisations such as IBM and Microsoft.

The Federal Government has announced a $3.6 million investment in SenseT, and there have been strong partnerships forged by UTAS with CSIRO, IBM, Aurora, National ICT Australia Ltd, UniMelb and the State Government amongst others, to develop the project.

SenseT will exploit the capabilities of the National Broadband Network by gathering historical, spatial and real-time data from a statewide sensor network and making it available through the web to the community. Where this journey takes us is yet to be revealed, but the possibilities are boundless – and exciting.

Research along with the teaching of students is what attracts funding from the Federal Government, which in turn encourages funding from industry and other sources. This year our researchers have submitted a deliberately and targeted increased number of applications for all major grant round applications, including for the Australian Research Council Discovery grants, the ARC’s Discovery Early Career Research Award round and the National Health and Medical Research Council project grants round.

Universities make and take embryonic ideas and its researchers articulate the arguments to progress an idea until it is compelling and can attract resources. UTAS needs its researchers to be linked with national and international colleagues to ensure their research engages with significant global challenges and that it is unencumbered by self-limiting boundaries.

For this university, our research strives to speak of our ability to create new knowledge and apply it in ways not thought of before. This in turn will allow us to contribute to our community in ways which empower – whether for economic development or to adapt to the future.

While predicting the future is impossible, the excitement of exploring a good idea makes it worthwhile.

Published on: 19 Apr 2012 9:58am