Victoria University will receive $17.2 million from the state government to help establish three new research hubs that will focus on fostering happier and healthier communities in Melbourne’s west.
The hubs, focused on building healthy communities, jobs and skills, and education, will cost approximately $26.2 million in total. They have been made possible thanks to a joint effort by Victoria University and its partners, and a grant from the Victorian Government Higher Education State Investment Fund.
While based on the Victoria University campus, the hubs will be located in facilities owned by industry and community partner organisations.
Victoria University Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker underscored the value of the partnership-focused hubs, which are expected to create 30 new jobs.
“This is a unique and exciting opportunity to work with industry and community partners to support the west of Melbourne to reboot from the pandemic and grow and thrive into the future,” Shoemaker said.
The first research centre will be a $10.2 million stronger communities innovation hub focused on the health, wellbeing and resilience of communities. The hub plans to develop an online health service, support the creation of Aboriginal-led enterprises and engage young people through a ‘living lab’ to help address social and environmental issues.
The other two hubs are worth $11.8 million and $4.1 million respectively – they will be an education innovation hub for local students and workers looking for training pathways; and a jobs and skills innovation hub focused on young people wanting to enter the tourism, infrastructure and transport industries.
Minister for higher education Gayle Tierney said the money for the hubs was intended to support the higher education sector in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are continuing to support our local universities through and beyond the pandemic – and working with them to provide Victorians with great research, training and job opportunities,” Tierney said.
The $350 million government fund will enable universities in the state to pursue new capital works, research infrastructure projects and applied research focused on boosting Victoria’s productivity and economy.
Local MP Natalie Suleyman added that the creation of the community research hubs would be an asset to locals.
“This will be a vital one-stop-shop for education, health and wellbeing – and importantly job opportunities for communities in Melbourne’s west,” Suleyman said.