Groundbreaking funding (Issue 9, 2009)


Students in the La Trobe biotechnology lab

Last week La Trobe welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to fund University’s science and regional health departments.

Two projects have won the Federal Government’s approval. The
La Trobe Institute for Molecular Sciences (LIMS)
in North Melbourne will receive $64.1 million with the rest ($59.6 million) allocated to
La Trobe Rural Health School (LRHS) in Bendigo.

‘This funding is a clear vote of confidence in the future of La Trobe and its key research strength in biosciences and quality higher education,’ said La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Johnson. ‘We submitted two high quality applications that were successful on their merits’ he said.

‘These two projects are groundbreaking in their approach, setting the mould for next generations of science and regional health in Australia. We will be able to expand our strong track record in scientific research and education, as well as our pioneering practice of bringing together many different disciplines to solve big problems, including cancer, malaria and autoimmune diseases,’ said Professor Johnson.

‘Through this interdisciplinary approach, we expect the University to earn an extra $10m each year in research income, contributing to our already outstanding reputation for grant and research income.’

‘The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Sciences will provide a new facility for research and training for over 220 scientists in the areas of Molecular Science, Biotechnology and Nanotechnology. LIMS will provide extremely exciting opportunities for students enrolled in and graduating from our flagship coursework master's program, the Master of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics. The masters program will be fully integrated into LIMS which will allow for more diverse research projects, improved job opportunities and more scope for transition from the masters program into a PhD (by research) program,’ commented Peter Cartwright, lecturer in the Molecular Sciences department.

In 2008, La Trobe University was ranked 11th in Australia for competitive National Health and Medical Research Council grants, ahead of all universities without a medical school.  

‘This project, along with the additional development of a $230m Biosciences Research Centre, will significantly increase La Trobe’s leadership in science research,’ said Professor Johnson.
International links too will be strengthened with the focus of the new Institute being to work on liver cancer collaboratively with the Mochtar Riady Institute for Nanotechnology in Indonesia.