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A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


19 May 2021

Australian Institute for Infectious Disease coming to world-leading Melbourne Biomedical Precinct

The University of Melbourne, Burnet Institute and Doherty Institute today welcomed an additional $245 million investment from the Victorian Government to build the new Australian Institute for Infectious Disease (AIID) in Parkville.

Headquartered in the prestigious Melbourne Biomedical Precinct, the AIID will bring together an exceptional network of leading researchers, public health experts and clinicians from the University of Melbourne, Burnet Institute and Doherty Institute.

The AIID is a critical part of Victoria’s investment in future-proofing the national effort to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and be fully prepared for any future pandemics.

This high-level preparedness includes:

  • Faster detection and tracking of new infectious diseases, including mutations of COVID-19
  • Faster development of new drug candidates and tools to combat new infectious diseases
  • Stronger connections with industry, pharmaceutical companies and start-ups to drive promising new technologies such as mRNA medicines and rapid diagnostics
  • Major increase in training the experts of the future in pandemic response and infectious diseases

The new state-of-the art facility will enable the Doherty Institute to expand and the Burnet Institute to relocate to the renowned biomedical precinct, planned to house more than 1000 scientists, academics, students and public health experts from the institutes alongside industry start-ups. Co-location will strengthen collaboration and engagement with their peers nationally and internationally and create a platform for new partnerships to be forged with the private sector and industry stakeholders.

The AIID will team with other leading organisations across Victoria including the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Monash University and CSL Ltd and others. 

This initiative will advance our capability to match world-leading institutions in this field, such as the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino’s announcement today provides an additional $245 million in funding for the purpose-built complex. This adds to the $155 million committed last year, including a $5 million grant to assist with detailed planning for the project development. The University and the Burnet Institute will also invest $250 million in the $650 million project and philanthropic support is being sought.

The investment will create an estimated 850 new jobs within the AIID across research, start-ups and commercial tenants, plus 4,100 jobs through strengthening the Victorian biotech cluster.

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor, Professor Duncan Maskell said The Australian Institute for Infectious Disease is a critical part of Victoria’s contribution to the national effort in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and will ensure that we are not only well prepared to respond, but also to lead our response to future pandemic health threats.

“This new institute will enable the co-location of vital research expertise and infrastructure, some of which is not currently available in Australia, and will contribute to a national infectious diseases knowledge network and drive deeper pharma engagement in achieving better public health outcomes, Professor Maskell said.

“Through research excellence, greater collaboration and partnerships, the Australian Institute for Infectious Diseases will help to save lives and safeguard this region’s economy and capacity to respond to future global health issues.” 

University of Melbourne Professor Sharon Lewin, Director of the Doherty Institute, said the global response to COVID-19 has shown just how powerful and crucial working collaboratively and forging new partnerships is to expediting scientific discovery into life-saving technologies.

“The AIID will significantly strengthen Australia and the region’s preparedness and response to infectious diseases by bringing together Victoria’s leading organisations and brightest minds working towards a shared vision,” Professor Lewin said.

Professor Brendan Crabb, Director of the Burnet Institute said the Burnet is immensely proud to join with our partners to form what will be one of the world’s great centres of excellence for infectious diseases and global health; a pandemic response powerhouse.

"Although we will remain an independent organisation, the closeness of this partnership and our shared vision, the huge critical mass of experts, and the extraordinary technical capacity the AIID brings means Burnet’s purpose to improve the health of everyone, especially those who are poor or otherwise disadvantaged, is advanced immeasurably,” Professor Crabb said.