Deakin strengthens sustainability with three landmark aquatic projects

Media release

23 April 2021

Deakin University will strengthen its sustainability commitment and continue to invest in regional Victoria’s future with three projects in water management, aquaculture and marine science announced in a landmark $22.1 million partnership with the Victorian Government.

The Hon. Gayle Tierney MP, Minister for Training, Skills and Higher Education, joined Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin and Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research Professor Julie Owens at Deakin’s Marine Science Centre in Queenscliff for the launch.

Deakin, the Victorian Government through its Higher Education State Investment Fund (VHESIF), and project partners Australian Academic and Research Network (AARNet), City of Greater Geelong and Barwon Water will support the trio of aquatic-based announcements, each designed to enhance Deakin's existing research capabilities and facilities while creating local jobs.

Professor Martin said the projects reflected Deakin’s focus on sustainability and commitment to preserve and enhance natural environments.

“The AquAFI and the Queenscliff Marine Science Centre projects enable Deakin to undertake research and education that will deliver outcomes that are both locally relevant and globally significant,” he said.

“Along with our Integrated Water Management Plan, which will explore alternate water sources for the Barwon region to ease the strain on existing supplies, the three projects confirm Deakin as a global leader in aquaculture research and innovation, marine science and fisheries.

“This is a partnership approach to investing in projects that will deliver lasting benefits to our Victorian communities as well leveraging that success across the country as we bring to life our aspiration for a sustainable future.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research Professor Julie Owens said through the Geelong Future Economy Precinct, Deakin was central to the region’s transition to a knowledge economy based on partnerships and collaborative research.

“The exciting announcements today build on the recent VHESIF funding for the ManuFutures 2 project and will combine to enrich further the research, innovation and manufacturing capabilities of Victoria and Australia.

“Deakin is a local university with global impact. Together with our partners, Deakin designs end-to-end solutions in areas of emerging national importance. These investments will position Victoria as the national leader in aquaculture and marine-based research and education, and will enhance industry growth and create jobs,” Professor Owens said.

“On behalf of the Deakin community, I extend our thanks to Minister Tierney and the Victorian Government for their commitment to these three projects.”

Forty-eight jobs will be created across the three projects, which are expected to be operating by the end of 2022.

The projects are:

Queenscliff Marine Science Centre ($4.5m project: Deakin $2.5m, VHESIF $1m, AARNet and City of Greater Geelong $1m)

  • An upgrade of the teaching and research laboratories will be undertaken at Deakin’s Queenscliff Marine Science Centre to establish the facility as the flagship site for the Deakin Marine Science research strategy and the Bachelor of Marine Science. The unique sea-water facilities will be expanded which will enhance marine research and postgraduate research training; this will provide a direct benefit to our industry partners and Deakin’s communities. The new Bachelor of Marine Science undergraduate degree will be the only program of its kind in Victoria and will use the Queenscliff Centre to provide unique experiential learning experiences.
  • In partnership with AARNet and City of Greater Geelong, optic fibre will be connected to the AARNet network to provide low-cost access to a ultra high-speed network for education and not-for-profit organisations in the Bellarine Peninsula including the City of Greater Geelong, primary schools, secondary schools, libraries and community halls.
  • The upgraded laboratory and sea water facilities and the optic fibre network will enhance collaboration with the Victorian Fisheries Authority in the areas of marine education and fisheries.

AquAFI Hub – Aquaculture and Advanced Feeds Innovation Hub ($9.8m: Deakin $5.8m, VHESIF $4m)

  • Based at Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus, the AquAFI Hub will be a state-of-the-art aquaculture research innovation centre that will position Victoria as a leader in aquaculture research and training, identifying break-through mechanisms to enhance industry growth and create jobs in Victoria and across Australia.
  • The AquAFI Hub will focus on sustainable fish production, novel feed and aquaculture technology development, and industry training. The work will expand into advanced feed extrusion technology and the development of sustainable ingredients and raw materials for next-generation circular bioeconomy approaches for the seafood sector.

Integrated Water Management ($7.8m: Deakin $5m, VHESIF $1m, Barwon Water $1.8m)

  • The Barwon region’s water supplies are under extreme strain, and that will continue unless alternative supplies are secured. The Integrated Water Management Plan (IWM) Plan positions Deakin to explore the benefits of alternate water sources that are fit-for-purpose. The increased use of fit-for-purpose water sources will ease the demand for potable water in the Barwon region.
  • The Traditional Owners of our lands and waterways, the Wadawurrung,  were consulted in the development of Deakin’s IWM Plan for the Waurn Ponds Campus and have expressed their eagerness to continue this engagement throughout the implementation. Input from the Wadawurrung will be significant in the landscape masterplan and the revegetation and management of the natural waterways across the Waurn Ponds campus.

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