A new research training centre based in Victoria will develop artificial intelligence (AI) applications for medical technologies and train an expert workforce that will drive Australian innovation.

The Federal Government is providing $4.1 million to support the University of Melbourne led training centre that will advance ‘next generation’ data-driven and machine learning-based medical technologies.

Liberal Senator for Victoria Jane Hume today launched the Australian Research Council (ARC) Training Centre in Cognitive Computing for Medical Technologies at The University of Melbourne.

Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the new centre would provide a world-class research and training environment.

“Students and researchers will lead the medical technology industry into a new era of data-driven personalised medical devices and applications,” Mr Tehan said.

“This could mean helping predict epilepsy seizures to restoring mobility to amputees and people with paralysis.”

Senator Hume said the centre would work hand in hand to give our medical technology industry the edge and drive global competitive advantage.

“The high calibre of researchers and industry experts collaborating in this training centre will be great mentors, training up the next generation of early career research talent for an industry-ready workforce,” Senator Hume said.

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell said the new centre would play a key role in advancing AI medical technologies to benefit patients and society.

“Research is the engine of discovery, and the new Centre will play a key role in advancing artificial intelligence medical technologies to benefit patients and society. By collaborating with industry and government, our technical experts will form a significant research effort to advance AI outcomes in the interests of the wider healthcare sector,” Professor Maskell said.

Leading the new Training Centre as Director, is Professor Timothy Baldwin.

"Artificial Intelligence is a burgeoning area with huge potential for positive impact to the Australian economy and healthcare outcomes, and we are delighted to progress this new Training Centre.

"The Centre will be a training ground for a new breed of commercially-savvy AI researchers with deep expertise in medical technologies, to drive future innovation in data-driven medicine in Australia," Professor Baldwin said

IBM Research Australia, Lab Director, Professor Iven Mareels, said talent development and cultivating the right future skills was paramount to driving Australia's Innovation agenda. It would also help to build a pipeline for potential new hires for IBM Research.

“This is precisely what this Centre is all about - building and shaping future talent which will have the skills to develop and apply cognitive computing technologies to support Australia’s digital transformation in health. The development of the next generation of scientists is incredibly important. IBM wants to be part of creating that future."

The ARC Training Centre in Cognitive Computing for Medical Technologies will be led by The University of Melbourne, in partnership with IBM Research-Australia, with the involvement of: Western Sydney University, RMIT University, and the University of South Australia; and with participating organisations Medtronic Australasia Pty Ltd, CSIRO, St Vincent’s Health, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Melbourne Academic Centre for Health, and Cogstate Ltd.