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The Federal Assistant Minister for Employment, the Hon Luke Hartsuyker, and Federal Member for Corangamite, Sarah Henderson MP, visited Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus on January 21st to discuss details of the next phase of the Geelong Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases (GCEID).
The GCEID is a partnership between Deakin University, the CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL), Barwon Health and the City of Greater Geelong that capitalises on the unique capabilities of the partners. The centre was established with a “One Health” approach, to identify, monitor, understand and develop treatments and mitigation strategies for new infectious diseases as they transition between wildlife, domestic animals and human populations.
To assist in the next phase of its development, the $12 million GCEID is set to receive $3 million from the Commonwealth’s Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. This phase will feature the construction of GCEID’s home base as Australia’s first One-Health facility, located on-site at Barwon Health in the TTR Building, where Deakin and Barwon Health already share health and medical teaching and training activities. Along with new laboratories, the build will also include spaces for multidisciplinary research, PhD students and postdoctoral researchers and a central office for GCEID.
During the visit, Minister Hartsuyker and Mrs Henderson toured Deakin’s medical school laboratories and met with GCEID researchers, Professor Alister Ward, Associate Professor Tania de Koning-Ward, Dr Melanie Thomson and Dr Tamsyn Crowley.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Lee Astheimer and GCEID Director Professor Martyn Jeggo also outlined the benefits of the GCEID for the Barwon region and beyond. In particular, they referred to the role of the GCEID as an essential part of transitioning Geelong to a knowledge-based, high value-add economy.
In addition to theemployment of 107 workers during construction (2014-2017), and 30 new direct ongoing jobs, flow on commercialisation of biotech innovations is expected to have a further positive impact on employment. Discussions are already under way with Ridley Corporation to develop the Cheetham Salt site next to CSIRO (AAHL) into a business park for science-related industry, and with pharmaceutical companies interested in taking GCEID-developed vaccines and therapeutics to market.