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The University of Melbourne has announced a $1 billion commitment to its Engineering School.

A seven hectare engineering campus is set to open at Fisherman’s Bend in Victoria in the early 2020s, giving students and researchers the opportunity to work alongside industry.

The Melbourne School of Engineering 2025 (MSE2025) strategy will have a total price tag of close to $1 billion, to be spent on staff and infrastructure across the Fisherman’s Bend, Carlton and Parkville campuses.

The new campus will be located at the site formerly occupied by General Motors Holden, which was purchased by the Victorian government in 2016, and has now been sold to the university.

According to MSE2025 program director Dr Anne Hellstedt, a key focus of the strategy is connecting research with industry, government and the broader community to increase the impact and relevance of the university’s engineering and IT endeavours.

“MSE2025 is a major initiative within the University of Melbourne’s Growing Esteem strategy, aimed at creating the entrepreneurial leaders and amazing technology of the future,” she said.

The Fisherman’s Bend campus will incorporate research facilities including smart grid equipment; wind and water tunnels; autonomous vehicle testing; and prefabricated housing materials.

Hellstedt said campus and facilities planning will focus on sustainability initiatives related to transport, energy, waste and water.

“The university will also embrace opportunities to work with its neighbours around precinct wide sustainability initiatives,” she said.

Fisherman’s Bend is undergoing billions of dollars of urban redevelopment. The state government anticipates that in 2050 the precinct will be home to an additional 80,000 residents and local employees, although some development projects have recently been put on hold.

The university is working with the Victorian state government to attract engineering industries to Fisherman’s Bend, which will provide opportunities for collaboration between academia and commerce.

For example, last month the university signed a memorandum of understanding with aerospace firm BAE Systems Australia for students to access equipment, testing resources and data at the company’s Fishermans Bend facilities.

Jacqueline Beech, a recent graduate of the university’s Master of Chemical Engineering, agreed that the new campus would benefit future students.

“Not only will we get that hands-on experience, but we’ll also have exposure to large scale research and opportunities to really develop our professional networks, that will assist us in securing our first job,” Beech said.

 

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