Friday, 30 May 2014

The development a new $62 million marine research centre at The University of Western Australia will create a world-class facility that will position the State - and the nation - as a leading oceans researcher within the Indo-Pacific region.

Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs and Curtin MLA Julie Bishop today unveiled a foundation stone to mark the start of work on site.  Local company BGC Construction is building the new six-storey Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre , which will bring together 240 of the world's leading scientists.

The focus for research will be in the areas of oceanography, marine ecology, fisheries, geochemistry, governance, marine technologies and engineering, enabling critical studies into the sustainable use of resources, environmental protection and climate change.

Winthrop Professor Peter Davies, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research) at UWA said the centre would significantly advance Australia's marine science capability.

"The Indian Ocean remains one of the world's largest and least explored marine environments," Professor Davies said.

"Managing this globally significant marine estate requires a world-leading marine research capability and with this new centre, we will undoubtedly have that capability."

Designed by Ferguson Architects, the Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre will target a 5 Star Green Star rating - a benchmark in sustainable development.  Featuring a sandstone finish and terracotta wall panels, the building will incorporate castings representing marine life at the entrance to the building.

The new centre - expected to be completed by mid-2016 - is being built as part of collaboration between UWA, CSIRO and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).  It has been made possible by a $34 million grant from the Australian Government as part of the Education Investment Fund, and contributions from the three organisations.

Located on the western side of UWA's Crawley campus, it will be complemented by a seawater facility at Watermans Bay which is currently undergoing an $11 million refurbishment, funded by UWA, CSIRO and the State Government, through the Department of Fisheries.

Media references

David Stacey (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 32 637 716


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