IBM goes Down Under for global R&D lab

IT giant IBM has struck a deal with the Australian government and the state of Victoria to open a global research lab at the University of Melbourne.

It said in a statement that the lab will “accelerate progress towards a smarter planet”, whatever that means. Victoria, says Big Blue, is the technology hub of the Asia Pacific region – also a questionable statement.

The lab will hire 150 people who will concentrate on natural disaster management, water efficiency, disease prevention, energy efficiency, biotech and improving farm yields.

Julia Gillard, the prime minister of Australia, hailed IBM’s move as underlining the importance of IT to the country. The project is backed by Invest Victoria, but none of the parties involved gave details of the financial arrangements that will kick in.

Nor did IBM reveal when the lab will open.