The architectural concept for the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator. Image – Supplied
  • The University of Syndey has announced a $478 million commitment to the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator
  • Funding includes $73 million in philanthropic contributions 
  • Initial works are expected to commence this year

In its largest ever capital investment the University of Sydney has committed half a billion dollars to fund a new medical precinct for the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator (SBA).

The project will enable researchers, clinicians and industry collaborators to work together under one roof, benefiting from close proximity to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Mark Scott AO said the new research precinct is a key component of the University’s new 10-year strategic plan.

“The range of world-class buildings and facilities that will make up the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator will bring together the brightest scientific and clinical minds with entrepreneurs, industry and government,” Professor Scott said.

“This is a historic investment for any University.”

Professor Mark Scott AO, Vice-Chancellor University of Sydney

Spanning 36,000 sqm, the precinct will be co-located at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the University’s Camperdown campuses.

“Once the Accelerator is completed, the long-term relationship between our University and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital will be further strengthened by the physical sharing and linkage of facilities, accelerating the pathway between findings made at a patient’s bedside to the research bench and back again,” Professor Scott said.

The architectural concept for the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator medical precinct. Image – Supplied

Denton Corker Marshall + HDR, in collaboration with Arcadia Landscape Architecture and Aileen Sage, won the design competition for the project.

“We designed the building as a clear, simple sculptural form with a solid base acknowledging its campus setting; a floating top with compelling imagery alluding to both scientific investigation within and an embedded indigenous narrative in the sculptural sunscreens,” said Adrian FitzGerald, Senior Director, Denton Corker Marshall.

“Our design achieves the highest level of efficiency and declares its purpose for systematic, methodical, scientific study. It is a building for the future with clarity and memorability combining to produce timeless campus architecture.”

“By pairing our local and global scientific expertise, we have a unique opportunity to design and deliver a series of state-of-the-art, highly adaptable biomedical laboratories
where education, healthcare, engineering, and science converge, ultimately enabling SLHD and The University of Sydney to succeed in biomedical research,” added Graeme Spencer, National Director of Education + Science, HDR.

“Laboratories are one of the most programmatically complex and diverse environments to plan, design and engineer, but using advanced design technologies and our data-driven process we have conceived a flexible and efficient design that will cultivate knowledge transfer between biomedical research talent, support robust creativity and collaboration, and enable the acceleration of the biomedical process – from research through to development and commercialisation.”

Philanthropic contributions

Funding for the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator includes $73 million from philanthropic donors.

The Susan and Isaac Wakil Foundation contributed a $20 million donation which will establish The Isaac Wakil Biomedical Building, one of three buildings that make up the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator complex.

This donation brings the total gifted by the Susan and Isaac Wakil Foundation to the Univerity of Sydney to more than $66 million. Previous contributions funded nursing scholarships and the construction of the Susan Wakil Health Building.

University of Sydney Chancellor  Belinda Hutchinson the foundation has now broken the record for the largest named donation to a single institution in NSW history.

“This $20 million gift to the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator is the latest in one of many transformative donations made by the Susan and Isaac Wakil Foundation to the University of Sydney.

“We are forever thankful for their vision,” Ms Hutchinson said.

Other support includes a generous bequest for medical research from Dr Marie Knispel, support for a bespoke anatomy and teaching laboratory, and the gift for the Clearbridge Chair in Immunotherapy to support cancer research within the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator.

A $143.3 million contribution from the NSW Government was announced in June. The funding will be delivered over four years to support the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator.

Tackling complex challenges

The Accelerator will aim to tackle complex health challenges, including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

Scientists at the Accelerator will conduct an array of medical research including drug discovery, regenerative medicine and medical device development.

“It gives our renowned researchers and partners the infrastructure to take a major step forward in the global quest to find solutions to our biggest health challenges,” said Proff. Scott.

“Together, we have the potential to dramatically improve the future of health and medical care in this country.”

Professor Mark Scott AO, Vice-Chancellor University of Sydney

Early works for the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator will commence later this year while the initial occupation is anticipated to occur in 2026.

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