Melbourne Connect a feature of new Telstra partnership

Melbourne Connect
A view of Melbourne Connect, to be open in early 2021.

The University and Telstra will help develop and diversify Australia’s pipeline of technology talent through a $5.14 million partnership.

A new Telstra Creator Space at Melbourne Connect, the University of Melbourne’s purpose-built innovation precinct currently under construction, will give students, start-ups and industry access to a world-leading fabrication and prototyping laboratory. It will also help foster collaboration through workshops, industry-based projects and events.

Telstra will also offer 10 Technology and Innovation Scholarships to University of Melbourne students that aim to increase the number of women and Indigenous Australians, particularly those from rural and remote communities, studying STEM.

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said the partnership was designed to help current and future students develop the skills, experience and adaptability needed to succeed as Australia’s digital economy accelerates.

“Developing a highly skilled and diverse technology workforce is critical to the success of Telstra and the nation. Through our partnership with the University of Melbourne we will grow Australia’s tech talent pipeline,” Mr Penn said.

“The Telstra Creator Space and the Technology and Innovation Scholarship program will ensure more University of Melbourne graduates have the skills and practical experience they need.”

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor, Professor Duncan Maskell said Telstra’s investment will help the university realise the potential of Melbourne Connect, a precinct that will bring industry leaders, leading researchers and students closer together to collaborate on technology and innovation.

“Melbourne Connect is a new and exciting way of working for the University of Melbourne. We look forward to enhanced opportunities for collaboration between students, academics and industry leaders including our newest partner, Telstra,” Professor Maskell said.

“The Telstra Creator Space inside Melbourne Connect will provide access to world-class equipment for students and our industry partners to turn their innovations into reality.”

The partnership will foster the two organisations’ shared ambition around technology innovation. This will include planned research collaborations between Telstra and the University of Melbourne over the next five years, leveraging the University’s engineering expertise to further extend Telstra’s network leadership and pave the way for growth opportunities.

Melbourne Connect is the University of Melbourne’s new innovation precinct and will co-locate high-calibre researchers, industry, government and higher-degree STEM students.

The precinct, which is being delivered in partnership with a consortium led by Lendlease, will include Science Gallery Melbourne, student accommodation, co-working and commercial office space, retail, public spaces, childcare and the Telstra Creator Space. It is located on the former Royal Women’s Hospital site that was acquired from the Victorian State Government by the University of Melbourne.

Melbourne Connect is expected to reach practical completion in late 2020 and be open to students in 2021.

One of Telstra’s most significant innovation and technology education partnerships to date, the partnership with University of Melbourne builds on the commitment to partner with five leading universities to jointly develop the skills and capabilities require for the future of work in Australia.