Microsoft and the University of Sydney agree to collaborate on AI capability

A new agreement between the University of Sydney and Microsoft Australia and New Zealand will build on Australia’s AI capabilities and help the University harness the power of AI for good.

Under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two organisations, they will each increase their understanding of the other’s AI capabilities, using this information as the basis for ongoing collaboration.

"The University has been recognised as an early leader in rapidly addressing the critical need to engage with AI across all’areas of the institution, enabling our staff and students to begin mastering the technology, from both an opportunity and risk perspective," said Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Mark Scott.

"This includes supporting Australia to be a leader in ethical AI teaching and learning, as well as research and applications in a fast-moving, international context. Our relationship with Microsoft perfectly places us to build on that strong foundation, looking at AI in relation to our research, education and operations." 

"We’re excited to collaborate with the University of Sydney to explore how AI can turn great ideas into reality for Australia’s benefit, enabling the University’s vision for empowering its people with AI," said Steven Worrall, Managing Director of Microsoft Australia and New Zealand.

"The sharing of knowledge and AI expertise between our two organisations will benefit students, educators and staff, and add to the technology as it evolves. The relationship is guided by our mutual values of integrity and excellence - these are crucial to innovating responsibly as we work together to build the nation’s future."

Our relationship with Microsoft perfectly places us to build on that strong foundation, looking at AI in relation to our research, education and operations.

The MOU comprises:
  •  Improving teaching and learning opportunities - This could include leveraging technologies such as generative AI to help staff create teaching materials and develop content for short courses and programs to address specific skills shortages in Australia. It will also offer students opportunities to engage with Microsoft through PhD projects, scholarships and internships.  
  • Advancing new knowledge and supporting research and technology solutions - This involves using AI technologies to support and accelerate research across disciplines; co-develop research papers and reports to address challenges presented by AI and its application; jointly incubate programs for AI-focused start-ups; and organise events that foster networks and knowledge among researchers, students and industry.
  • Exploring ways to leverage AI to improve operational efficiencies at the University including-technologies that will enhance staff and student services, such as information and issues resolution services. 

Microsoft and the University have an excellent track record in translating technology for the benefit of all. With support from an from Microsoft, Dr Omid Kavehei in the Faculty of Engineering is developing a tool to help people living with epilepsy predict a seizure before the onset of symptoms. Over the past seven years, the University’s quantum computing partnership with Microsoft has allowed researchers to rapidly accelerate technologies that will, in time, help turn the potential of quantum science into practical applications.

The University currently has researchers and projects focusing on AI across areas such as computer science, bioengineering, business, education, government, medicine, maths, media, design, law, philosophy, and communication.

"Our ten-year strategy aspires to ensure that the work of the University is more compelling and more important to society than at any other time in our history. In doing this we want to partner to increase our contribution, and our work with Microsoft is an excellent example of how we are making this a reality," said Kirsten Andrews, Vice-President (External Engagement).

"These relationships with industry, community and government keep us relevant, engaged and accountable. This includes partnering with the BHP Foundation on youth mental health; Adobe on closing the digital skills gap; and industry, government and NGOs on producing actionable insights for organisations to build gender equality."

The strategic partnership will place the University of Sydney in a leading position internationally to advance nanomedicine, gene therapies and the early detection, treatment and prevention of disease.

The University of Sydney today released an ambitious 10-year strategy, with immediate commitments to more than double scholarship support for under-represented domestic students and invest nearly half a billion dollars in a world-leading biomedical precinct.

The University of Sydney’s Faculty of Engineering has been awarded an AI for Accessibility grant from Microsoft to support its efforts developing solutions that improve the independence for people living with epilepsy.