A trio of projects at Monash University will be supported by the Victorian government under its Higher Education State Investment Fund to build a Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC), a cancer therapy hub and a digital smart manufacturing space for start-ups.
The MMIC will produce Australia’s first mRNA vaccine for clinical trials. The Centre has already played a vital role in developing tools to combat COVID-19, including a therapy inhaled through the nose.
“This is a huge scientific development putting Monash and local Victorian experts at the forefront of the global fight against COVID-19 – and we’re so proud to be supporting this ground-breaking research,” Victorian minister for Higher Education Gayle Tierney said.
The new facilities will include more office space and laboratories to strengthen collaboration between scientists and medicine manufacturers.
“We’re serious about developing our mRNA manufacturing capacity and doing it quickly, because it will save lives,” minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford said.
“This support for an Australian-first clinical trial is another major step in a really important journey.”
Meanwhile, the $4.63 million oNKo-innate hub will drive innovation in the development of cancer therapies, and the creation and commercialisation of treatments.
The funding will also support the $3.21 million UP-LINK University Partner Collaboration Space, which will be a home for start-ups to digitally streamline smart manufacturing. It is the first component of the larger Monash Smart Manufacturing Hub project that will help drive increased research commercialisation and entrepreneurship.
“Monash University is pleased to receive funding through the VHESIF to drive commercial and entrepreneurial activity across the Monash Technology Precinct,” Monash University vice-chancellor Margaret Gardner said.
Overall, the project will create opportunities for about 1,000 students and more than 350 direct jobs in research positions and secondary jobs, as well as 100 jobs in construction. Construction is due to be completed next year.
The government contributed $16.1 million to the project in a joint effort by Monash University and its partners, and was one of many pitches from universities to the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund. The fund was developed in response to the significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the sector.
The unprecedented $350 million Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund is supporting universities with capital works, research infrastructure projects and applied research focused on boosting Victoria’s productivity and economy as the state recovers from the pandemic.