Biotechnology is set to become the 'fourth revolution' in the way it will critically shape our lives through new innovations in health, food and environment. Recent ground-breaking discoveries, such as the deciphering of the Human Genome, bring the opportunity to radically improve upon existing therapies and will also give new hope to sufferers of untreatable diseases.
Victoria is embracing this new revolution from a position of strength, as the state is unquestionably the focal point of biotechnology in Australia. We have over one-third of Australia's biotechnology industry base located in Victoria and the past two years has seen well over 20 new biotechnology start up companies emerge in our state. These new companies have taken on the challenge to generate wealth from ground-breaking biotechnology research and Victoria provides them with a business environment which will drive their growth in the global economy.
The Bracks Government has a vision for the state which will raise Victoria to be one of the world's top five locations for biotechnology. This vision encompasses a burgeoning industry sector that will create wealth and employment for Victoria's highly skilled population. Among the Government's recent initiatives include a sizeable investment in the $400 million Bio21 project which will be a major new biomedical research hub and technology incubator, and a technology commercialisation program to bring the innovations of Victorian scientists to commercial fruition. Victoria is recognised as a world centre of excellence in medical biotechnology research and this will be the instrument through which the Government will achieve its vision.
Victoria is home to more than 20 independent health and medical research organisations, many of which have achieved international acclaim. Victoria's first class universities and teaching hospitals provide an environment which fosters exciting new ideas and innovations from our dedicated scientists and clinicians. A number of our institutes are World Health Organisation Collaborating Centres and a growing list achieve substantial grants from international funding bodies such as the US National Institutes of Health and the Wellcome Trust. Victoria consistently receives more than 40% of Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council grant funding.
This Guide to Current Research in Victorian Universities provides a comprehensive listing of medical biotechnology research projects being conducted in Victoria's universities and research institutes. I am extremely proud of the strength and diversity of research this Guide illustrates. I hope it will generate interest in Victorian research, as well as stimulate new collaborations and alliances with researchers and industry worldwide.
John Brumby MP
Minister for State and Regional Development