Sod turned on LIMS

La Trobe University’s $94 million Institute of Molecular Science (LIMS) has begun construction with an official sod turning presided by the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr.

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Over 150 people gathered on the future site of the $94 million La Trobe Institute of Molecular Science for the official sod-turning ceremony. The much-anticipated announcement was made by Senator Kim Carr, who spoke of the vision behind the project.

Senator Kim Carr:

We’ve invested heavily in this institute because we believe its among the best in the country. What the recent era surveys have shown is that La Trobe University has a very, very strong record of performance in biology and nanotechnology and a whole range of related fields and so this means by international standards we are able to say we’re above world average and it’s a very strong indication of the strength of the performance of this University and it should encourage much higher levels of collaboration internationally with scientists all over the world.


LIMS will be a world-class facility for molecular science, biotechnology and nanotechnology research and research training. The Institute will align with the broader Northern Melbourne Science precinct and support growth in the burgeoning Australian biotechnology industry.

Vice-Chancellor Paul Johnson:

We’ve gone through a phase of consolidation, now we are going for growth. This is growth and expansion in terms of our research capacity, in terms of our outreach activities, in terms of the number of students we educate, in terms of the quality and capacity of the world class researchers we have here at La Trobe.


The newly awarded building contract with Australia’s leading civil and mining construction and property firm, Watpac, was announced by Professor Nick Hoogenraad, Head of the School of Molecular Sciences.

Nick Hoogenraad:

So, one of the conditions under which the money was awarded by the Federal Government for the building of this building was that we are contractually obligated to expand our research activity by 30%, so we are actually at the moment starting recruitment of new staff, so it gives opportunities for early career scientists, very promising scientists to come and join LIMS to and actually start their own Labs for the very first time.

Vice-Chancellor Paul Johnson:

The design for LIMS is very different, there is not a single brown brick in this new building, in the design for it. That’s quiet deliberate, I wanted a building that would look modern, distinctive, that would symbolize something new, that would be talking to the future rather than reflecting on the past. So, I was very much in favour of a radical design, one that really works well internally, but that it also symbolizes something new, bright, fresh, vibrant for the University.