In December last year, senior University of Melbourne staff joined representatives from Melbourne Health to sign partnership documents to establish the Peter Doherty Institute.
Named for Nobel Laureate and staff member Professor Peter Doherty, the Institute will integrate teaching, training, research and public health activities in a new building in the Parkville Precinct, a cluster of University of Melbourne and other research institutes on Royal Parade.
Members of our Faculty of Medical, Dental and Health Sciences and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, the Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory, and the Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative will join groups from Melbourne Health to create a world-class research institute focused on infection and immunity.
Signing this joint venture agreement was a turning point in the project, where we began to focus less on the practicalities of construction and more on what this partnership will achieve for the City of Melbourne, the country and the world through a simple, yet transformative idea: to bring everyone working in infectious diseases together.
Researchers will work closely to improve human health and to deal more effectively with emerging disease threats.
This partnership, and many other University partnerships like it, is not just about co-locating staff, or having logos on a letterhead; it’s about linking people with complementary skills and talents who enjoy the challenge of high-level engagement with peers, and who use those engagement opportunities to form innovative ideas and research strategies.
By forming ambitious partnerships with research organisations nationally and internationally, we not only cultivate them and provide unique professional development opportunities for our staff, but also contribute to Australia’s research output and enhance its reputation for research excellence.
At Melbourne, such high-level partnerships include a multi-faceted relationship with industry and research leader IBM. Late last year, this partnership was strengthened by the opening of a collaborative research and development laboratory focusing on helping communities better prepare for and cope with major natural disasters.
The lab engages researchers from leading institutions including the University, the CSIRO, National ICT Australia (NICTA) and Australian business; it focuses on innovation in resource discovery, production, supply chain and operations relating to oil, gas, minerals, water and food.
It is the first IBM laboratory to bring together research and development in a single organisation.
The University is working to develop more such partnerships in many different fields, to continue fostering an environment where passionate people join colleagues to develop new ideas and strategies, new technologies and ways of thinking, to solve some of the world’s biggest problems.
There is no limit to what can be achieved when we work together.