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Consortium to design state-of-the-art CSIRO lab upgrade for disease research

Aurecon to design state-of-the-art CSIRO lab upgrade for ACDP disease research.

Aurecon and major partners HDR and Wood have formed the BioDesign Collaborative (BDC) to deliver the project that aims to future-proof ACDP’s extensive high-containment laboratories.

03 November 2021 – Global-standard research lab upgrades at CSIRO’s Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness will support Australia’s response to future pandemics.

Engineering, design and advisory company, Aurecon, has been appointed by Australia’s national science agency CSIRO to design new laboratory spaces as part of the refurbishment of the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP), in Geelong, Victoria. ACDP is a high-containment PC4 facility built to allow scientific research into highly infectious agents.

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

The project aims to future-proof ACDP’s extensive high-containment laboratories and ensure the continuation of CSIRO’s capability to prevent and respond to exotic and emerging animal and zoonotic diseases in Australia.

The facility’s design will aim to bring people-centred design to the forefront, providing labs with access to natural light to support the wellness of staff as well as to attract new talent and collaborators. The spaces will be configurable to match future research demands and technology, while maintaining the facility’s multiple levels of security and biocontainment.

Built in 1985, ACDP’s PC4 laboratories are part of a network of high biocontainment facilities worldwide.

Key projects in Australia’s fight against COVID-19 have been conducted at ACDP, including preclinical trials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in 2020, in addition to ongoing research on diseases threatening Australia’s animal industries, such as African Swine Fever and Avian Influenza.

The BioDesign Collaborative is leading the design for an extensive refurbishment of the existing facility, including a new laboratory wing to replace existing laboratory space. With a direct link between the new wing and the existing facility, it will combine the existing robust, layered containment labs with contemporary lab design.

Director of ACDP, Professor Trevor Drew, said the COVID-19 pandemic had reinforced the critical role ACDP plays in protecting Australia from emerging infectious diseases in animals and humans.

"With the increase in zoonotic diseases around the world, this refurbishment will help to ensure ACDP can continue to deliver critical human and animal disease research and diagnostics for Australia into the future,” Professor Drew said.

Aurecon CEO, William Cox, said the BioDesign Collaborative would bring the collective design strengths of Aurecon, HDR and Wood to deliver world-class research facilities for CSIRO.

“This is an internationally significant project that will continue to position CSIRO as a world leader in understanding and mitigating the impacts of complex animal and human diseases, particularly emerging infectious disease threats,” Mr Cox said. “Aurecon has worked with CSIRO over many years, including designing local infrastructure to support the future SKA telescope in Australia.”

Aurecon Managing Director, Built Environment, Tim Spies said: “We are committed to bringing innovation to the design and delivery of this vital infrastructure for Australia and the world, to ensure ACDP continues to deliver key disease research.”

The ACDP refurbishment project will consult with leading infectious disease researchers around the world to ensure the new laboratory spaces are able to support the delivery of critical science research now and into the future. The refurbishment is expected to be operational by 2027.

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