Monash welcomes new tool for collaborative research centre

The unveiling of a new tool at the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication (MCN) to support ground-breaking cancer research illustrates how Monash is enabling collaboration leading to extraordinary research and commercialisation outcomes.

Monash is the host of the MCN, a joint venture between Monash and seven other Victorian universities and the CSIRO, which has the largest open access cleanroom space in the southern hemisphere. Established in 2011, it has more than 100 pieces of major research infrastructure designed to enable and support innovation and commercialisation of research in the field of Advanced Manufacturing by groups across Australia.

The Centre is located in the Monash Technology Precinct at Monash’s Clayton campus, which through its partner network of universities, CSIRO and product developers, it brings together the best minds in Australia to advance research and product development in the fields of MedTech,Energy/Renewables, Micro-Electronic Mechanical Systems, Optics and Security/Defense.

Federal Minister for Education The Hon Alan Tudge today unveiled a $500,000 tool for the MCN – an EULITHA Phabler – that has been purchased through the NCRIS-enabled consortium that will enable La Trobe University’s Professor Brian Abbey to more consistently identify breast cancer cells.

Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AC said the MCN demonstrated the importance of universities and research groups such as the CSIRO, working together to solve some of the world’s greatest problems and bring extraordinary outcomes to life through start-ups and licensing agreements.

“Australia is home to world-leading researchers and infrastructure. Bringing them together into one place, where resources and expertise are shared, enables the translation of ground-breaking research into commercialisation to deliver real-life outcomes,” she said.

“The research being undertaken at MCN is proof that facilitating collaborative research through an integrated network of providers, infrastructure and expertise delivers real outcomes – which is in complete alignment with the Federal Government’s agenda to connect research with enterprise.”

Professor Gardner said research being conducted by Monash academics at the MCN included the development of more efficient solar panels, wearable sensors for health monitoring and the aerosol delivery of lung medication, while researchers from across the Asia-Pacific are involved in a range of other ground-breaking studies.

She said the Monash Technology Precinct was established to do just that – enable state-of-the-art research and development by driving the collaboration of our centres, platforms and facilities with key government and industry players.

Professor Gardner said the Precinct has a strong focus on connecting research and enterprise in the areas of health sciences, future materials and processes, artificial intelligence and data science, sustainable development and better governance and policy.

“Through the MCN, and the Precinct, we’re connecting universities with industry, employing students to help develop their knowledge and skills, and providing work-integrated learning opportunities,” she said.

MCN was purpose built to embody the principles of the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF), namely providing open access to micro/nanofabrication infrastructure and expertise. It is also home to ANFF’s headquarters.

Professor Abbey said the purchase of the Phabler for the MCN will enable his team to make enormous strides in developing their revolutionary microscope slide technology.

“Until now, we’ve had to rely on overseas facilities for key elements in the production process. With the new facility we’re now able to manufacture our slides right here in Melbourne and in quantities that will allow us to realise the full potential of our invention. We wouldn’t have had the prototype without MCN and the ANFF.”

MCN Scientific Director Nico Voelcker said the phabler will allow its extensive academic and industry client base to scale up fabrication of devices in their translational path.

“We’re certain that many of the MCN’s 50+ industry partners will directly benefit from the ability to access this new nanopatterning capability, and that it improves the chances of success for our many clients that are working towards products of the future,” he said.


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