How the Cisco - La Trobe partnership is powering the digital future for industry and students

Partnership at a glance

  • La Trobe and Cisco, a world-leader in IT and cybersecurity, have cemented their long-term strategic partnership to focus on the digital future, with benefits for the university and the wider world.
  • Together they are accelerating La Trobe’s digital transformation strategy, including a comprehensive upgrade of the university’s digital capacity.
  • The partnership is exploring what the post-pandemic future looks like, for the workplace more broadly and the campus itself, and coming up with tech solutions.
  • The Cisco – La Trobe Centre for AI and Internet of Things (IoT) and a Cisco-supported dedicated research chair are creating a research environment that will drive innovation and benefit students, academics and industry.
  • The partnership is creating Innovation Central Melbourne, within La Trobe’s Digital Innovation Hub, as an industry “front door” for the university, combining its research capacity with access to Cisco’s innovation and technology to create digital solutions and application across industry.
  • A key focus of the strategic partnership is jobs, inspiring the La Trobe-prepared workforce of the future with a range of exciting real-world projects, research opportunities and access to Cisco’s own education resources.

Case Study

From imagining the post-pandemic workplace to designing hi-tech healthcare tools, and from transforming digital infrastructure to boosting student job opportunities: the La Trobe – Cisco connection runs deep through both organisations.

Long-term strategic partners, the university and the world-leading IT and cybersecurity specialist have found the collaborative sweet spot as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic lessens in Australia. Together, they have many irons in the fire starting with a sweeping technology upgrade to accelerate La Trobe’s digital transformation. With the university’s IT team, Cisco is building a next-gen network to boost cybersecurity and online learning, as well as helping La Trobe realise its net-zero emissions goal by 2029.

And while this digital transformation is central to the partnership, Cisco’s National Industry Innovation Network Program Manager, James Stewart, says there is much more to its collaboration with La Trobe. “The creation of the Cisco – La Trobe Centre for AI and IoT led by a highly decorated and well-respected research chair, all feeding into the operations of Innovation Central Melbourne, is an important story in this partnership,” Stewart says.

Professor Wei Xiang, appointed to the chair in 2020, brings his expertise to a broad range of digital problem-solving and commercialisation possibilities. For example, he’s working with Cisco engineers to better manage campus spaces and applying his engineering speciality to help achieve La Trobe’s net-zero emissions target by 2029.

Professor Xiang is also involved in projects born of another pillar of the partnership: Innovation Central Melbourne, within La Trobe’s Digital Innovation Hub, which Stewart describes as an industry “front door” for the university, focused on innovations in sustainability, supply chain and health.

It’s a way we can bring industry partners into the university to connect with students and researchers to address pressing problems and spin up proof-of-concept solutions

James Stewart
National Industry Innovation Network Program Manager,

“The idea is to help industry on its digital journey through analysing, optimising, digitising and automating their systems,” Stewart explains. “And, it offers students employment opportunities in their chosen field.”

As a global technology leader, Cisco is committed to building the workforce of the future, and its insight is informing La Trobe’s curriculum to create job-ready graduates. The Cisco Networking Academy certificate courses on cybersecurity and the IoT are embedded in the La Trobe curriculum courses so that students can receive an additional industry-specific qualification.

“I think that engaging with Cisco allows La Trobe to attract other industry partners and broaden the ecosystem,” says Stewart. “And we benefit from students learning about innovation and our technology, experiencing the best of Cisco through working with us. We're helping train the workforce of the future with exposure to Cisco’s latest technology and creating job-ready skills and experience, it's a win-win.”