The Federal Government has announced $3.1 million funding for a national project to train the next generation of biomedical researchers to create and develop the skills and technology within Australia to deliver personalised medicines.
The Australian Research Council-funded training centre is a joint venture between The University of Melbourne, The University of Western Australia, Monash University, CSIRO, National University of Singapore and 16 partner organisations including several biotech companies.
Associate Professor Kevin Pfleger, from the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, said the industrial transformation training centre would bring together some of Australia’s brightest young researchers in the biotech field to train under the nation’s foremost scientists.
“It will also provide some of Australia’s most promising small-to-medium enterprises as well as larger, more established companies with a world-leading commercial advantage in developing therapeutic treatments,” he said.
According to the ARC application, the centre has considerable potential to deliver multiple economic and health benefits, through its goals to:
- Develop breakthrough technology for new industrial applications in cell/organ-on-a-chip;
- Train highly skilled biomedical scientists in entrepreneurship to underpin growth in innovation;
- Increase industry engagement among established leading innovators in academia;
- Create opportunities for ground-level entry to emerging personalised medicine-based industries; and
- Address gaps in the Australian capability for therapeutics innovations to translate to the market.
The application said researchers had made spectacular scientific progress in recent years in devising ways to deliver lifesaving medicines, leading to a near future where personalised and rapid delivery of these medicines on a mass scale was likely to become standard of care.
One of the most exciting developments to enable this future scenario lies in organ-on-a-chip technology – miniaturised devices that emulate the activities of entire organs, it said.