June 28, 2011  Print

Hundreds of medical researchers will soon be brought together in one world-class facility in western Sydney, thanks to a $30 million grant today from the NSW Government.

The Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research, Jillian Skinner, announced the funding to go toward the construction of stage one of a new headquarters for the Westmead Millennium Institute for Medical Research, before turning the first sod on the site.

“I am very pleased to be able to provide $30 million to assist with the first stage of this project, because it will bring together Westmead Millennium Institute staff currently scattered across six sites in the grounds of Westmead Hospital," Mrs Skinner said.

"Once all staff are housed under the same roof, this facility will become an ideas factory, allowing some of our brightest minds to work collaboratively, and across multiple disciplines.

"Mrs Skinner said medical research was one of her greatest passions because lives were saved, and improved, every day by work quietly carried out in laboratories across the country.

"At this centre alone, researchers are discovering genes which underlie a person’s susceptibility to melanoma, multiple-sclerosis and blindness in the elderly. From those discoveries will come muchneeded treatments for patients in need,” she said.

“Last month, the NSW Government delivered on its promise to open this state’s first Office of Medical Research because we are serious about supporting medical research - and today's grant to the Westmead Millennium Institute confirms our commitment,” Mrs Skinner said.

The director of the Institute, Professor Tony Cunningham, welcomed the funding, confirming that a new, bigger building was overdue.

“We’ve quadrupled in size over the past 10 years to become one of Australia’s six largest institutes.

“About two thirds of our 450 staff now cannot fit into the Institute and are working in dated or substandard labs. This new building is about putting a lot of very bright, skilled and creative people together in modern labs so they can bounce their ideas and knowledge off each other in their own research areas and across others – and that’s what creates the big breakthroughs.”

The new building will house highly advanced research equipment used by the Westmead Research Hub, and will be a resource for all teaching hospitals in western Sydney.