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Deakin nets $22 million in sustainability funds

Deakin University is embarking on three new sustainability projects in water management, aquaculture and marine science in a landmark $22.1 million partnership with the Victorian Government through its Higher Education State Investment Fund (VHESIF).

Partners include the Australian Academic and Research Network, the City of Greater Geelong and Barwon Water, with these entities supporting the projects, which are designed to enhance Deakin's existing research capabilities and facilities while creating local jobs.

The projects include the upgrade works to Deakin University’s Queenscliff Marine Science Centre, establishment of the Aquaculture and Advanced Feeds Innovation Hub (AquAFI), as well as research into an Integrated Water Management Plan.

Deakin University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Iain Martin, said the projects reflected the university’s focus on sustainability, and commitment to preserve and enhance natural environments.

“The AquAFI and the Queenscliff Marine Science Centre projects enable Deakin to undertake research and education that will deliver outcomes that are both locally relevant and globally significant,” he said.

“Along with our Integrated Water Management Plan, which will explore alternate water sources for the Barwon region to ease the strain on existing supplies, the three projects confirm Deakin as a global leader in aquaculture research and innovation, marine science and fisheries.

“This is a partnership approach to investing in projects that will deliver lasting benefits to our Victorian communities, as well as leveraging that success across the country as we bring to life our aspiration for a sustainable future.”

Deakin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research Professor Julie Owens said the university is central to the region’s transition to a knowledge economy based on partnerships and collaborative research.

“Deakin is a local university with global impact. Together with our partners, Deakin designs end-to-end solutions in areas of emerging national importance,” she said.

“These investments will position Victoria as the national leader in aquaculture and marine-based research and education, and will enhance industry growth and create jobs. On behalf of the Deakin community, I extend our thanks to Minister Tierney and the Victorian Government for their commitment to these three projects.”

The Queenscliff Marine Science Centre, receiving $4.5 million in funding, will undergo upgrades to its teaching and research laboratories to establish the facility as the flagship site for the Deakin Marine Science research strategy and the Bachelor of Marine Science.

The AquAFI Hub will be a state-of-the-art aquaculture research innovation centre, enhancing Victoria's participation in aquaculture research and training.

The Integrated Water Management Plan will allow Deakin research to explore the benefits of alternate fit-for-purpose, easing the demand for potable water in the Barwon region.

Higher Education Minister Gayle Tierney said: “These exciting projects will push the boundaries of water science research but also provide great learning and job opportunities for Victorians”.

It’s expected that 48 jobs will be created across the three projects, which will be operating by the end of 2022.