Westmead Millennium Institute boosts Western Sydney's research credentials

Published 9th October, 2014

NSW Premier Mike Baird and Health Minister Jillian Skinner today joined Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Federal Health Minister Peter Dutton to open a $110 million medical research facility in Western Sydney.

The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government contributed $38 million towards construction of the new Westmead Millennium Institute for Medical Research (WMI) building, which will be home to 400 scientists and clinicians.

The nine-storey building will - for the first time - allow the Westmead Millennium Institute’s centres of research to be housed under one roof.

The state-of-the-art building will also allow the Institute to significantly expand its research into its core areas: infectious and immune diseases, cancer and leukaemia, liver and metabolic diseases, eye and brain-related disorders and heart and respiratory diseases.

“This outstanding building further cements Western Sydney’s reputation as a national leader in medical research,” said Mr Baird, who joined Mrs Skinner six weeks ago at Westmead to open the new Children’s Medical Research Institute.

“The NSW Government is committed to ensuring our patients receive the very best health care, when and where they need it.

“We also understand that by investing in medical research today, we will deliver cures, treatments and hope for patients in the future.”

Mrs Skinner - who is NSW’s first dedicated Minister for Medical Research - said the new Westmead Millennium Institute headquarters will enhance the scope of ground-breaking research undertaken in fields such as disease gene discovery, cell sorting and imaging and new cellular and genetic therapies.

“These talented researchers devote their working lives to translating discoveries made in the laboratory into potential therapies and life-changing health outcomes for patients,” said Mrs Skinner, who was also joined by Western Sydney Liberal MPs Geoff Lee (Parramatta), Tony Issa (Granville) and David Elliott (Baulkham Hills).

Mrs Skinner welcomed the announcement by the Westmead Millennium Institute that the building will house a new centre - the Centre for Diabetes and Obesity Research - to target type 2 diabetes and obesity.

“Chronic, lifestyle-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes and obesity represent an enormous threat to our nation’s wellbeing,” Mrs Skinner said.

“Western Sydney is considered a diabetes hot spot, with many of its communities experiencing rates above the NSW and national average.

“The Westmead Millennium Institute already has a fine reputation for research into diabetes. The opening of the Centre for Diabetes and Obesity Research makes it one of the foremost diabetes research centres in the nation.”

The Westmead Millennium Institute was founded in 1996, merging five research groups at the Westmead Hospital. Initially it comprised just 40 medical researchers – a fraction of the 400 who will soon be employed there.

It is part of the Westmead Research Hub, which unites neighbouring institutes and hospitals on the Westmead campus, in conjunction with the University of Sydney.

The Federal Government contributed $54 million to the new Institute building, with $38 million from the NSW Government and the balance from a variety of donors.

Published 9th October, 2014