Speech at launch University of Wollongong’s plans for Molecular Horizons: a Centre for Molecular and Life Sciences

Speech

[Inaudible]

And for all that you do for the University of Wollongong but for the promotion of Australia’s $19 billion dollar international education sector more generally. And I really do look forward absolutely to working with you, and particularly to working with you in the key market of India where you have been such a champion for all of our nation’s wonderful universities.

Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, to my ministerial colleagues, particularly champions of New South Wales in Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and Arthur Sinodinos, shadow and ministers, colleagues, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

It’s wonderful to be here celebrating this wonderful investment and step forward by the University of Wollongong. A university that, as the banner behind me says, stands for purpose; a university whose graduates lead the university with purpose, with a sense of commitment to contribute, to give back; to make a difference. And a university whose efforts in research, equally said to make a difference, to contribute, to give back to society.

These are the attributes that of course we celebrate in so many ways across our nation’s wonderful universities.

But today in particular we celebrate the fact that the University of Wollongong is doing so, consistent with the aspirations the Prime Minister said before, the Turnbull Government has for a nation that embraces innovation and science and uses that to chart our course and our direction so successfully into the future as a country.

I congratulate the university in taking what, we’ve heard today, is a significant investment of their own decision, of their own prioritisation, through a public-private partnership putting some $200 million dollars of funding into support the development of this new centre for molecular and life sciences, Molecular Horizons. A centre that we’ve heard with the Titan Krios microscope will allow them to see things that have never been seen before. To see things that can be seen in few locations around the world. To bring together an estimated 150 world leading researchers, not just researchers from within Australia or within New South Wales, but as we know, some of the best and brightest in the world. And to reach out in the spirit of collaboration that we seek to encourage all of our universities and research institutes to embrace, collaboration that will see the university working not just with people from the “Gong” or in the Illawarra region or in New South Wales or Australia, but with world leading institutions right around the globe.

We can have confidence that through this type of embrace, it will lead to the best possible outcomes for society and for the Australian economy. This is why our National Innovation and Science Agenda has sought to gear the various aspects of support we provide for universities and research institutions to encourage that spirit of collaboration; that our new research block grant funding arrangements, coupled with an extra $180 million dollars in funding are providing the incentives to collaborate and to commercialise; that our new Australian Research Council Linkage Grants will provide for year-round applications enabling research institutes to seize the moment and the opportunity, with partners, with industry, to get the best possible opportunities.

And it’s why we’re developing new measures for research impact and engagement to create the incentives, and then deliver the rewards, for universities that embrace opportunities just like this one.

These are exciting new facilities, that as the Prime Minister rightly acknowledged, are being built in exciting times of opportunity.  I am confident that we will see wonderful breakthroughs occurring from this facility as we have seen from so many others over the years from our research infrastructure. Dating as we heard back from Bob, to the Brand brothers and their life-changing, world-changing deliveries that of course are just part of a scientific story in Australia that has made such a vast difference to our nation and to the world.

Molecular Horizons will be life changing, it will be nation changing, it will be world changing, and it is for that that we should celebrate and thank the University of Wollongong for undertaking this investment, for backing the capacity of their scientists, their researchers, but of Australia’s place in the world to make a vast difference to our future.

Well done, congratulations, and I for one look forward to being there in 2019 for the launch opening of this new facility. 

Thank you very much.

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