Aurecon partners with CSIRO to help fight future pandemics

20 December 2021

Melbourne is leading the charge for Australia in the medtech, biotech and pharmaceutical industries with the recent announcements of the Monash University Smart Manufacturing Hub to deliver Australia’s first mRNA vaccine for clinical trials, the new Australian Institute of Infectious Disease in the Parkville Biomedical precinct, and the latest partnership with Moderna to manufacture its mRNA vaccine in Melbourne.


Another game-changing development has seen engineering and design company Aurecon, enlisted by national science agency CSIRO, to design new laboratory spaces as part of the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP) refurbishment in Geelong.

Both Melbourne Chambers members are combining on the state-of-the-art upgrade to support Australia’s response to future pandemics. 

Built in 1985, ACDP is a high-containment facility for scientific research into highly infectious agents and is part of a worldwide network of high-biocontainment facilities. 

ACDP was used for key projects in Australia’s fight against COVID-19, including preclinical trials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in 2020, and ongoing research on diseases threatening Australia’s animal industries such as African Swine Fever and Avian Influenza.  

“This project is unique for Aurecon – it is an internationally significant project that will be a career defining undertaking for our team,” Aurecon’s ACDP Project Director, Tim Hales, told the Victorian Chamber. 

“They [the team] are very excited about contributing to this world-class facility that will both support the wellness of ACDP staff and attract new and highly sought-after global talent to Victoria and our growing research sector. 

“We see the project as the next step in our 50-year relationship with CSIRO, from our work on ‘the Dish’ telescope at Parkes, NSW, through to globally significant and highly innovative projects such as the SKA telescope in WA, and the CSIRO National Food Innovation Hub here in Melbourne.”  

The refurbishment project aims to future-proof ACDP’s extensive laboratories and grow CSIRO’s capability to prevent and respond to emerging diseases in Australia, matching future research demands and technology while maintaining the facility’s multiple levels of security and biocontainment. 

“This project is very significant. It is a very complex design challenge: we must balance human-centred contemporary laboratory spaces with the demands of a certification and regulatory environment that protects high containment research and the community, and the demands for best practice sustainable building design,” Mr Hales said. 

The initiative will be completed in consultation with leading infectious disease researchers around the world to ensure the new spaces are able to support the delivery of critical science research now and into the future.  

Aurecon and major partners HDR and Wood formed the BioDesign Collaborative (BDC) to deliver the project. 

The refurbishment is expected to be operational by 2027. 

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