Construction begins on new medical discovery centre in Victoria

Image credit: Mary-Anne Thomas MP

Construction on Australia’s first hospital-based biomedical engineering research centre, the Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery, has begun in Victoria, which will house specialist 3D printing and clinical simulation laboratories.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Medical Research Mary-Anne Thomas today visited the site of the new $206 million centre at St Vincent’s Hospital to mark the beginning of construction, according to a media release.

In addition to simulation labs, the new building will have insulated rooms for the development of delicate hearing and vision technologies, engineering workshops for the creation of robotics and medical device prototypes, and an education centre for future healthcare professionals.

The centre, backed by a $60 million Andrews Labor Government investment, will also focus on chronic diseases including cancer, osteoarthritis, and epilepsy while also investigating cutting-edge technology and therapies like artificial intelligence, implanted digital devices, regenerative medicine, and 3D-printed gadgets.

“Melbourne is the medical research capital of Australia – this new centre will cement our place as a world leader in medical discoveries and scientific breakthroughs,” said Premier Daniel Andrews.

Andrews added the new facility is an illustration of how the state is supporting medical research by generating employment and bringing about innovation that will save and change lives.

Commenting on the construction of the centre, Minister for Medical Research Mary-Anne Thomas said, “We’re supporting our medical researchers with the best facilities and latest technology so they can make the discoveries that will help Victorians live longer and healthier lives.”

A total of $1.3 billion has been committed to medical research by the Labor Government since 2014, with up to $400 million going to the Australian Institute for Infectious Disease, the biggest centre for infectious illness in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Labor Government said its 10-year strategy includes investments in new centres like Aikenhead to ensure Victoria has the people, institutions, and scientific advancements needed to position the industry to be the finest in the world.

Hundreds of local employment will be created during the construction of the centre, which is scheduled for completion in 2024. 

Once finished, the new Aikenhead Centre will support more than 300 positions in the medical research industry.