Western Australia's premier adult medical research institute, the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, officially opened its doors with Prime Minister Tony Abbott launching the state-of-the-art research facility in Perth on Tuesday March 11, 2014.
The high spec 10 storey building within the Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre is home to leading researchers from The University of Western Australia and other affiliates from the former Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR).
"We have changed our name in honour of our inaugural Chairman, Harry Perkins, who had the vision and drive to bring medical researchers together in a spirit of collaboration," the Institute's Chairman, Larry Iffla said.
"Harry would have been delighted to be here today and see this magnificent facility, which encourages researchers to work together to conquer serious diseases," Larry Iffla said. "We welcome researchers from The University of Western Australia, the Lions Eye Institute, the Heart Research Institute, the Lung Institute of WA, the Keogh Institute and others, who will be working alongside Harry Perkins Institute researchers to identify the genetic causes of and develop new treatments for cancer, heart attacks, diabetes and many other diseases."
The ceremony also marked a passing of the baton from UWA's Professors Peter Klinken to Peter Leedman as the Institute's new Director.
Winthrop Professor Leedman thanked his predecessor for his tireless efforts to secure funding for the new facilities.
"Peter Klinken was instrumental in securing support from the Federal and State governments the latter being matched by The University of Western Australia," he said. "We would not be standing here today without Peter's passion, dedication and vision.
"This new building provides us with a foundation on which to expand and develop large multidisciplinary teams which are integrated into the hospital and medical health care sectors. We also have a stimulating environment for science and medical students where they are exposed to a flood of new technology and new ideas and a culture of collaboration," he said. "The Centre will be designed to translate the latest research discoveries into clinical practice."
Professor Peter Klinken, who was Director of the Institute for most of its 15 year history, said that financial support from the Federal and West Australian governments, The University of Western Australia, Lotterywest, and the McCusker Charitable Foundation had been vital in achieving the vision of a state-of-the-art new facility.
Q: How much did the building cost?
A: $122 million. (Federal government: $65m; State government: $25m; UWA $25m; Lotterywest $5.4m; McCusker Charitable Foundation $1.5m.)
Q: Is the building at QEII the only place where the Harry Perkins Institute does research?
A: No, the Harry Perkins Institute will have a presence at Perth's three major teaching hospitals. It will continue to conduct research at the Royal Perth Hospital campus. A new building on the Fiona Stanley campus will come on line when the hospital opens. This $70 million building was also funded by the Federal government ($20m), State ($25m) and The University of Western Australia ($25m.)
Q: How many researchers will work at the Harry Perkins Institute?
A: There are more than 200 researchers and staff now and numbers are increasing rapidly. The Perkins Institute building at the QEII Medical Centre campus will house 500 people and will accommodate at full capacity approximately 750 researchers.
Q: What types of research will be carried out by Harry Perkins Institute researchers?
A: The Institute's focus will be on cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some neuromuscular diseases.
It also oversees centres which focus on melanoma, ageing, emergency medicine and neurotrauma.
Q: Are there other institutes within the building at the QEII Medical Centre?
A: Yes, there are levels devoted to research by UWA, the Lions Eye Institute, the Lung Institute of WA, the Heart Research Institute, the Centre for Nursing Research and the Keogh Institute.
Q: Will the general public be able to access the building?
A: Yes, there are community areas within the Harry Perkins Institute's QEII Medical Centre building:
- The Lotterywest Biodiscovery Laboratory is available to community groups and high school students who wish to have a hands-on experience of medical research under the guidance of researchers and teachers.
- Meeting areas including a 250 seat auditorium, a 100 seat seminar room and a 70 seat Lotterywest Community Resource room.
- A ground floor café.