Call to defend Australia

Carnegie Mellon is currently engaged in negotiations with the Australian federal government to establish research facilities geared toward the development of defense-related software engineering, according to an April 16 article in The Australian, an Australian national newspaper.

Southern Australia, according to the press release, has ambitions to become a “defence and education hub,” and offered to fund 20 percent of the cost of establishing the facilities. The Australian federal government would fund the remaining 80 percent.

The proposed partnership would principally involve Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute (SEI), a federally funded research and development center which has worked with the U.S. government to implement and develop software innovations in defense, industry, and computer security.

Though the SEI is engaged in discussions about potentially opening a branch in Australia, plans are still in their infancy, said Kelly Ann Kimberland, public relations manager for the

A branch in Australia would enable the SEI to better serve the Australian market while fostering collaboration with Australian software engineers, allowing the SEI to focused on software-related technical and managerial issues America and Australia share, Kimberland said.

Carnegie Mellon was a strong candidate for this project due to its “long-standing relationship [with the] Australian government, industry, and academia in regards to software engineering and related disciplines,” Kimberland said.

Carnegie Mellon’s other links to Australia include a branch of the Heinz School and the Entertainment Technology Center in Adelaide, South Australia. As South Australia has the highest concentration of the country’s defense industry of any state in Australia, many Heinz students seek experience in this and other government and industry sectors. Carnegie Mellon was the first foreign university to establish a campus in Australia, and was given significant funds by the Australian federal government to do so, according to The Australian.

The financial support that Carnegie Mellon has received from the Australian federal government has angered local Australian universities and other local organizations, who feel that they are more deserving of federal funding since they are Australian institutions.