Microsoft has announced new partnerships with three of Australia's top research organisations as part of the company's Global Cloud Research Engagement Initiative launched earlier this year. Partnerships with National ICT Australia (NICTA), The Australian National University (ANU), and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) will enable scientific researchers across the continent access to advanced client plus cloud computing resources and technical support.

These grants will provide researchers in these organizations with three years of free access to the Windows Azure platform, as well as access to technical support and client tools from Microsoft. This will enable researchers to easily access the power of the cloud from their desktop to explore a range of topics including the analysis of online social networks, a cloud-based geophysical imaging platform, computational chemistry and other eScience applications.

This program will also help Australia's university research infrastructure better align with recommendations of Cloud computing: opportunities and challenges for Australia, a study by the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

Read the full press release to learn more about how each of these organizations will benefit from these grants.

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced similar partnerships with the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the U.S., the National Institute of Informatics (NII) in Japan and in Europe with the European Commission's VENUS-C project, INRIA in France and the University of Nottingham in the U.K.

These grants are related to Microsoft's efforts bring technical computing to the mainstream with Windows Azure.  To learn more about technical computing in the cloud, read this recent blog post by Bill Hilf, general manager, Technical Computing, Microsoft.