Construction starts on new Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery

Construction has commenced on a new $206 million biomedical engineering research facility at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne.

The preliminary stage will involve piling works to allow the construction of the basement and foundations for the new building. The basement slab is scheduled to be poured in July.

Dr Erol Harvey, Minister Mary-Anne Thomas, Nicole Tweddle and Premier Dan Andrews at the site of the new ACMD facility. They are each holding a shovel with dirt. The background is a construction site, with dirt and gravel on the ground, and some minor scaffolding.

(Left to right): Dr Erol Harvey, CEO of the Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery, Mary-Anne Thomas MP, State Minister for Health, Health Infrastructure and Medical Research, Nicole Tweddle, Chief Executive at St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, and Daniel Andrews MP, Premier of Victoria.

The Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery (ACMD) will be a global leader in the use of new technologies including robotic, digital and data engineering to develop health care solutions with life-changing impact.

The ACMD is a collaboration between nine partner organisations, including the University of Melbourne, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research, the Bionics Institute, and the Centre for Eye Research Australia.

The 11-storey building’s unique position on the hospital’s Fitzroy campus will also see it play a key part in the Victorian Government’s 10-year plan for Melbourne’s new biomedical precinct.

The ACMD will become a powerhouse of Australian-led research driven by real-life clinical need. Projects aim to address complex health challenges with a core focus on prevention and early intervention, as well as creating an ability to fast-track clinical trials and device development, to benefit patients sooner.

Among some of the novel technologies being utilised by ACMD researchers to transform the future of health care are artificial intelligence, implantable digital devices, regenerative medicine and 3D-printing.

“We are proud to be developing this world-leading research facility at our Fitzroy precinct. Having a research centre of this calibre embedded within the footprint of the hospital connects the dots. It allows our clinicians to work directly with engineers and scientists to forge change based on real-life health need,” said Nicole Tweddle, Chief Executive at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne.

The new 16,500sqm building will include 3D printing laboratories, a human kinetics lab and insulated rooms for the development of sensitive hearing and vision technologies. There will also be engineering workshops to produce medical device prototypes and robotics that can be used to help accelerate clinical trials.

An education hub will form a key part of the ACMD. It will be used to help nurture future clinical, nursing, allied health and biomedical research innovators and leaders. The space will incorporate multiple seminar and tutorial rooms, a clinical simulation laboratory, and a large lecture theatre extending over two levels with scope to host national and international conferences and major events.

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