Melbourne is home to some of Australia's best and most innovative research facilities. These include the Synchrotron, at which researchers produce light sources a million times brighter than the sun, and CSIRO, Australia's multi-disciplinary science organisation focusing on Australians’ quality of life as well as economic and social well being.
The Australian Synchrotron
The Australian Synchrotron is a world class national research facility that uses accelerator technology to produce a powerful source of light – xrays and infrared radiation – a million times brighter than the sun.
Leading researchers partner with the Australian Synchrotron to explore the impacts of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere; fine-tune forensic investigations and archaeological digs; and understand the interplay of drugs and cells in the body to find new treatments for diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis.
A landmark infrastructure in the region, the Australian Synchrotron facilitates complex industry experiments, helping commercial partners interrupt, boost and manipulate basic processes to overcome technical roadblocks and drive product innovation.
The carbon fibre revolution
In 2014, Carbon Nexus, the A$34 million, open-access carbon fibre/composite research facility opened at Deakin University in Geelong, Victoria.
Carbon Nexus contains state-of-the-art research and analysis labs, unique pilot-scale and research-scale carbonisation lines, and a multidisciplinary team that researches the manufacture and use of carbon fibre.
Carbon fibre composites – materials where the carbon fibre is embedded in a polymer matrix – are increasingly used across a range of industries. In Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, carbon fibre composites are helping improve fuel economy by 20 per cent and reduce CO2 emissions, also by 20 per cent.
A thriving innovation hub has emerged around the carbon nexus facility at the Geelong technology precinct. Businesses forming this hub include:
- Quickstep which has developed innovative composite manufacturing processes and is setting up a new automotive business unit in Geelong.
- Carbon Revolution which produces the CR9 aftermarket range of wheels for performance cars such as Audi, BMW, McLaren and Porsche.
Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) framework rates the quality of research in Australian universities. Universities submit their research projects for evaluation and a team of over 150 evaluation committee members and 1300 peer reviewers assess the projects against indicators like citation profiles and peer reviews.
Melbourne Biomedical Precinct
The Melbourne Biomedical Precinct is Australia’s, and one of the world’s, leading biomedical precincts. It delivers outstanding patient care, cutting edge research and discoveries, training to some of the country’s brightest minds, as well as economic value to Victoria.
The Melbourne Biomedical Precinct is made up of over 40 hospitals, medical research institutes, biotechnology organsiations and universities largely collocated to the north of Melbourne’s CBD in the area extending from East Melbourne, Parkville, Carlton and North Melbourne to Royal Park in the north.
The reach of the Precinct goes beyond its geographical boundaries with collaborations with other universities, hospitals and research organisations throughout Victoria, Australia and the world.
In particular the Precinct works with other clusters around Monash, Deakin, LaTrobe and Swinburne universities and the Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct in Victoria.
The Precinct employs tens of thousands of people including 10,000 researchers and about 7,000 biomedical, health and medical students located in the Precinct.
It consistently attracts around 23% of NHMRC funding annually, more than any other state in Australia, and has a publication citation rate twice the international average.
Melbourne Bioinformatics is an agency that supports researchers who are recognising life science is fast becoming a data science. They assist with research design and grant applications, provide access to high end computing, engage in deep research collaborations, and develop and deliver both online and hands-on bioinformatics training.
The CSIRO is an independent Australian federal government agency responsible for scientific research has established a number of quality research facilities in Melbourne and across Victoria. CSIRO’s aim is to improve the economic and social performance of industry for the benefit of the community.
For example, in 2015 Anatomics, an Australian-owned medical device company, collaborated with Lab 22, CSIRO’s metal additive manufacturing (3D printing) facility, to manufacture a 3D-printed titanium sternum and rib implant for a patient in Spain suffering from cancer in the chest.
The Institute for Frontier Materials
The Institute for Frontier Materials Deakin (IFM) undertakes nanotechnology research focused on developing novel nanomaterials and using nanotechnology to solve some of today's biggest challenges.