The federal government has committed $8.9 million to a new innovation centre at the James Cook University campus in Townsville.

The Tropical Knowledge and Innovation Centre is being built by Anittel and will be the largest facility of its kind in northern Queensland.

It will include a data centre and business incubation and collaboration centre. Eventually it will form part of the university's $1 billion Discovery Rise redevelopment and also part of Anittel's private carrier network and hosted infrastructure system.

James Cook University's Discovery Rise redevelopment was launched in 2008 to help develop an academic, residential and commercial community beside the university's Townsville campus.

"Our Tropical Enterprise include science and research and knowhow on how to do business and operate industries in the tropics -- mining, agriculture, marine and coastal management, fisheries management, ecotourism, aquaculture, beef, housing and building design," Sandra Harding, James Cook University's vice-chancellor, said in a statement.