In a massive vote of confidence in the future of health research, the University of Sydney has announced a landmark $478 million investment to build a new biomedical precinct.
Called the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator (SBA) it will create a health, education, and research precinct co-located at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the University’s Camperdown campuses, within the Tech Central precinct.
The university says scientists at the Accelerator will conduct “cutting edge research into the building blocks of life, regenerative medicine, drug discovery and medical device development and harness the latest in nanotechnology and gene and stem cell therapy to transform health outcomes in the state.”
Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Mark Scott says the investment is a key component of the University’s new 10-year strategy.
The investment comes after many years of research funding uncertainty under the Morrison government, which locked up $20bn in the future fund for medical research and development.
And it comes as universities are just starting to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, job losses and funding cuts.
The project includes a $143.3 million commitment from the NSW Government, announced in June.
The University says The Accelerator has been benchmarked against other biomedical facilities such as the Karolinska Institutet (50 percent of Sweden’s life science companies in one precinct), the University of Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District and MassBio (life science super-cluster of 1,100 members including Harvard, MIT, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital.)
Over 1200 biomedical researchers and clinician scientists will be located onsite.
Unprecedented philanthropic support
Funding for the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator includes $73 million in philanthropy to the University of Sydney.
A $20 million donation from the Susan and Isaac Wakil Foundation is the latest donation made to the University of Sydney, bringing their total support over the years to $66m.
Isaac Wakil AO said the past two years have shown the vital importance of supporting medical research.
“The Susan and Isaac Wakil Foundation is proud of its long relationship with the University of Sydney and is very pleased to be able to help make this important project a reality. We hope that our initial support encourages further investment in the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator,” said Wakil.
Architectural design and building commencement
Following a design competition, international architectural firms Denton Corker Marshall and HDR have been selected to design the 36,000m2 integrated health education and research facilities.
Early works for the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator will start this year and occupation is expected from 2026.