Monash-led projects awarded $17 million in VHESIF funding

An upgrade to the cutting-edge nanofabrication technologies at the largest open-access clean room in the southern hemisphere and enhanced drug discovery capabilities are just two of the Monash University-led projects to receive funding from the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund (VHESIF), announced today.

Monash University has been awarded $17 million through the VHESIF towards four projects across its Victorian campus network.

The four projects being led by Monash are:

  • Capital upgrade of the Australian National Fabrication Facility’s Victorian node (ANFF-VIC);
  • Bioplatforms Australia (Victorian node) (BPA);
  • Centre for Drug Candidate Optimisation (CDCO); and
  • The Victorian Node of Microscopy Australia (MA).

The Bioplatforms Australia (Victoria node) facilities project is a collaboration with the University of Melbourne, and the ANFF-VIC upgrade is a joint venture project with seven Victorian universities and CSIRO.

Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AC said: “The investment towards these significant research capabilities and facilities will support an inclusive post-COVID-19 economy, generate new industry opportunities and jobs, and support the ongoing improvement of communities worldwide.

“The co-investment with other universities, particularly the University of Melbourne, demonstrates the significant benefits that occur from collaboration between tertiary institutions.

“We thank the Victorian Government for this substantial contribution as part of the VHESIF.”

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell said: “We are grateful for the support of the Victorian Government’s substantial contribution to enable knowledge sharing and collaboration across Victorian universities. These world-leading technologies will advance innovation and generate new knowledge in promising areas of discovery.”

The projects will complement other significant investments in the Monash Technology Precinct including the Victorian Heart Hospital, and strengthen connections with a range of higher education and industry partners.

The projects generate nine post-doctoral and professional positions, including 38 construction-related jobs. The investment will enable hundreds of researchers and students to fulfil their research projects through the new facilities and capabilities while also providing open access to Victorian industry to engage with the latest technologies.

This announcement follows the University’s funding allocations through the VHESIF for its Safe and Equal @ Work and Access to Justice programs, smart manufacturing, and research and development commercialisation, Victoria’s Health Innovation Centre and Net Zero Initiative.

The Supporting the Electrification of Victoria’s Future Fleet project was also recently awarded $5.2 million in funding as part of the VHESIF, of which Monash University is a joint collaborator.

For information on how the funding will support each project, see below.

Project

What the investment will support

ANFF-VIC

The project will facilitate major and urgent revisions to nanofabrication infrastructure and equipment within the ANFF-VIC node – a joint venture of seven Victorian universities and the CSIRO –  upgrading capacity and bringing capability in line with the state-of-the-art in order to meet the future needs of Victorian researchers and industry. The primary focus of the investment will be the collaborative Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication (MCN) with additional smaller investments at partner organisations around the node.

BPA

The Bioplatforms Australia (Victoria node) facilities, in partnership with the University of Melbourne, will develop a number of new leading edge capabilities that will be available to the Victorian research community. These include innovative advances in biomarker screening technologies, high-resolution tissue imaging, single-cell proteomics and antibody engineering.

CDCO

The initiative at the Centre for Drug Candidate Optimisation at Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences will implement state-of-the-art bioanalytical instrumentation to enhance drug discovery activities and support medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutical optimisation and metabolomics/proteomics.

These activities will enhance the Therapeutic Pipeline in Victoria and Australia and accelerate the progression of new drug candidates toward clinical development.

MA

The investment will extend the Victorian Microscopy Australia facilities, to revolutionise understanding of how antibodies and small drug molecules bind to their targets, visualise viruses and disease-causing bacteria in unprecedented detail, provide critical quality control data for the pharmaceutical industry and understand the structure of new materials for emerging industries.