It might lack the prestige of a new wing or collection of scholarships, but a $1 million software grant has been described as "one of the most exciting, innovative, and useful gifts" ever given to an Australian university.
Canberra-based digitisation software company Intelledox on Tuesday announced the donation of its flagship software, Infiniti, to the Australian National University. The company was founded by ANU alumni Michelle Melbourne and Phillip Williamson.
The university said that the software would help transform its administrative practices through digitisation and streamlining of existing processes.
The first application of the software will be to improve travel bookings for staff and students, an administrative process currently estimated to cost $2 million a year.
A trial of the software allowed the ANU to update its travel processes by replacing as many as 10 paper forms with an integrated online travel application system, saving the university up to $500,000 a year.
ANU executive director Chris Grange said when used in wider applications, the donation "could well be worth more than $10 million to the university".
The donation will also encourage ANU staff and students to develop new uses for the software.
The university said students would own the intellectual property rights over their work, potentially leading to a new generation of entrepreneurs and business start-ups.
ANU chancellor Gareth Evans described the software donation as "one of the most exciting, innovative, and useful gifts" ever given to an Australian university and predicted it would be an incubator for entrepreneurial projects at the ANU.
The donation includes university-wide perpetual licences to use Intelledox software.
Formed more than 20 years ago, Intelledox has offices in Canada, New York, Britain and Singapore, but is run from its headquarters in Fyshwick.
"The ANU absolutely opened our minds to the opportunities of thinking globally and taking the global perspective to everything we do," Ms Melbourne said.
"We could run this business from any city in the world, but we choose to do it in Canberra. This is a great chance for us to give back to the Canberra community, and the ANU."
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said the gift was significant as a "marriage" between the city's university sector and tech community.