CANBERRA, AAP – Australia has launched a new artificial intelligence unit to help businesses unlock the potential of AI.

The National Artificial Intelligence Centre has been established within CSIRO’s data and digital specialist arm Data61, Minister for Science and Technology Melissa Price announced on Tuesday.

Bringing disruption and innovation, AI technologies are forecast to contribute more than $20 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

Australian Stela Solar, former global director of AI solutions at Microsoft, is returning from the United States to lead the new centre.

“Stela has the vision and industry knowledge to work with CSIRO to continue bridging the gap between industry and our world-leading AI specialists,” CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall said.

The minister said the new centre would position Australia as global leader in AI technology, harnessing talent and resources to drive early adoption of AI across the economy.

“The National Artificial Intelligence Centre will also help address barriers that small and medium enterprises face in developing AI and other emerging technologies by connecting business with the talent, knowledge and tools to succeed,” she said.

The centre is part of the federal government’s AI Action Plan for a national centre and four AI and Digital Capability Centres across Australia.

CSIRO will kick off National AI Centre events in early 2022.

Under the action plan and the broader digital economy strategy, the CSIRO is also rolling out $47.3 million in scholarship programs for AI and emerging technologies to attract and retain more than 460 specialists.