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Campus News : October 2010
4 Campus News October 2010 University of Wollongong www.uow.edu.au $30 MILLION RESEARCH INSTITUTE OPENS Minister predicts big impact NSW Deputy Premier and Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt says the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI) will have a far-reaching impact on communities locally, nationally and overseas. Ms Tebbutt was speaking at the official opening of the $30 million IHMRI research building at the University of Wollongong in July. The NSW Government contributed $15 million to the construction of the building, which contains purpose-built clinical trials facilities, sophisticated laboratories and other research facilities. IHMRI is a partnership between UOW and the South Eastern Sydney and Illawarra Area Health Service (SESIAHS) with a vision to provide excellence and innovation in health and medical research that will lead to better health services and a healthier Illawarra community. Ms Tebbutt said research conducted by IHMRI researchers is "contributing to the advancement of our understanding of disease, options to reduce the risk of developing diseases, methods of detecting disease in its earliest stages and, importantly, new treatment options". "The ultimate goal of the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute is to improve the health of residents of this community," Ms Tebbutt said. "But, of course, the reach of everything we do these days means that ideas that start here will benefit patients on the other side of the state, on the other side of the country or beyond." Ms Tebbutt said as impressive as the new building and its facilities are, "it is the staff -- the clinicians and researchers - who will ultimately make the difference". IHMRI Executive Director and UOW Pro Vice-Chancellor (Health) Professor Don Iverson said the institute is bringing the University's best health and medical researchers together with the region's best clinicians in partnerships designed to improve the region's health services more rapidly. He said the research programs were community-based, with a strong focus on early intervention, preventative health care and clinical trials. The University and SESIAHS established IHMRI to build on existing programs in health and medical-related research, and to develop opportunities created by the establishment of UOW's Graduate School of Medicine. UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerard Sutton paid tribute to Professor Iverson as a visionary who had led the development of the Graduate School of Medicine and now the medical research institute. "Don convinced us that the medical school without a medical research institute couldn't achieve the vision we have for improving the health services of this region," Professor Sutton said. Professor Sutton said the development of the institute was a classic example of the three tiers of government (local, state and federal) working together to achieve a great outcome for the community. He also paid tribute to former NSW Premier Morris Iemma who in 2008 had pledged the $15 million in NSW Government funding for the building, and Member for Keira David Campbell who had worked hard behind the scenes to present the University's case to the government. National Health and Medical Research Council CEO Professor Warwick Anderson said UOW had a strong record in medical research and that the new facility would inspire researchers. "Marvellous things have been happening at this university for years ... and I am sure marvellous things will happen here in this building," Professor Anderson said. NH Above: NSW Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt at the IHMRI opening with SESIAHS Chief Executive Officer Terry Clout (left) and UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerard Sutton. Below: NSW Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt with Member for Keira David Campbell (left) and UOW Pro Vice-Chancellor (Health) Professor Don Iverson at a clinic inside IHMRI. University From P1. "We have presented our proposal to the federal and state governments, and have been encouraged by the response." Professor Sutton said two sites were being considered -- a greenfields site at UOW's Innovation Campus at North Wollongong and a site adjacent to Wollongong Hospital. "Both sites are viable, and both have their advantages. We have the space to create a really exceptional facility at the Innovation Campus, while the Wollongong Hospital option may not have as much space but does have the benefit of proximity to the existing hospital." UOW believes the precinct would help solve the Illawarra's shortage of general practitioners and medical specialists by offering the attractions of academic posts within the Graduate School of Medicine (GSM) and associations with the University's research and training programs. Professor Sutton said UOW's Pro Vice-Chancellor (Health) Professor Don Iverson had developed the vision for the medical precinct, while Vice Principal (Administration) Chris Grange had led the work on