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Biotechnology Centre takes Australia to the cutting edge.



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JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources

The Hon Dr Brendan Nelson MP Minister for Education, Science and Training

Thursday 30 May 2002 02/101

BIOTECHNOLOGY CENTRE TAKES AUSTRALIA TO THE CUTTING EDGE

Australia is set to build on its reputation as a world leader in biotechnology with the announcement of the successful applicant for the Biotechnology Centre of Excellence.

The successful applicant is the Centre for Stem Cells and Tissue Repair, as announced by Prime Minister John Howard today. The Centre’s central node, currently under construction, will be located in the Monash Biotechnology Strip Development.

The Biotechnology Centre of Excellence is the biotech backbone of the Government’s $3 billion Innovation Statement, Backing Australia’s Ability. The program was awarded $46.5 million over five years through a joint funding arrangement between Biotechnology Australia and the Australian Research Council.

Ian Macfarlane, Chair of the Commonwealth Biotechnology Ministerial Council, described the Centre as a giant leap forward for Australia’s biotechnology industry.

“This Centre will draw together expertise and infrastructure to create a critical mass of research, further developing Australia’s expertise and global standing in the field.”

“It is a truly national approach to biotechnology advancement as Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the ACT will all have member research institutions linked into the Victorian centre,” he said.

Dr Brendan Nelson, Minister for Education, Science and Training, emphasised the quality of the research and education programs proposed by the Centre.

“The Centre will offer education programs at the undergraduate and post-graduate level as well as a full-time education officer. This will significantly increase the level of information broadly available about this quickly developing field,” he said.

The Centre’s CEO will be Professor Alan Trounson, until now Director of the Monash Institute of Reproduction and Development. It will pursue a broad scope of research involving both adult and embryonic stem cells, including on treatments for diabetes; vascular, bone and nerve damage; kidney disease; and diseases of the blood and skin.

The Centre will need to comply with all relevant legislation, regulations and ethics codes, including outcomes of decisions taken by the Council of Australian Governments on 5 April 2002.

For more information, visit the Biotechnology Australia website at: www.biotechnology.gov.au

Media Contacts: Kirsty Boazman, Mr Macfarlane’s Office, 0412 171 444

Ross Hampton, Dr Nelson’s Office, 0419 484 095 Kerri Hartland, Biotechnology Australia, 02 6213 6058

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