Nanoscience future: Australian Institute for Nanoscience building work launched by Senator Kim Carr

Minister Kim Carr has officially launched building work on our upcoming state-of-the-art Australian Institute for Nanoscience.

Professor David Reilly gives a demonstration of the type of work that will be conducted at the Australian Institute for Nanoscience.

(L-R) Professor David Reilly gives the Hon. Kim Carr, the Hon. John Murphy and Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence a demonstration of the type of work that will be conducted at the Australian Institute for Nanoscience.

On 24 July, Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research and Minister for Higher Education, launched building work on the site for the new Australian Institute for Nanoscience (AIN) at the University of Sydney.

“The Australian Institute for Nanoscience will be a world-leading research and teaching facility designed to meet the demanding requirements of nanoscience research in the decades to come,” said Professor Tim Bedding, Head of the School of Physics at the University.

“The institute will house a state-of-the-art national nanofabrication facility and will be at the forefront of nanoscience facilities in the world. Many elements of the building are specifically designed to enable high-precision nanoscience research.”

“This building will help underpin future jobs growth in this country by being an important part of Australia’s transformation into a knowledge-based economy,” Senator Carr said.

“Nanoscience is an element in building our future prosperity. Nanophotonics is already a strength for Australia, and the institute will increase our capability and build on our successes in quantum computing, memory devices and photovoltaic cells.

“Nanotechnology is a transformative force for manufacturing and is predicted to be worth $US3 trillion globally by 2020. Australia needs to stake a claim to our slice of that pie now, by building well-researched prototypes for the market. AIN will help make that happen and keep Australian research internationally competitive.”

In 2011, John Hooke CBE, former chairman and CEO of Amalgamated Wireless Australasia (AWA) endowed $5 million to fund a new academic chair at the Australian Institute of Nanoscience.

John Hooke graduated from the University of Sydney with a degree of Bachelor of Science, majoring in physics, followed by a Bachelor of Engineering with first class honours and the University Medal. He joined AWA, where he was involved in the production of the first transistors, and rose through the company to become chairman and CEO from 1974 to 1988.

“I have always been extremely passionate about science and how it may benefit society,” Mr Hooke said. “Australian industry requires new technologies and a new generation with the skills to work across disciplines from science to engineering to medicine. Nanoscience has so many applications and possibilities, it’s really a revolution and I am delighted to be able to help this exciting new endeavour at the University of Sydney.”

Dr Michael Spence Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney believes nanoscience has the broad-ranging potential to change people’s lives. “The Institute’s specialist nanoscience equipment and laboratories will be made available to researchers across Australia, benefitting all scientists and providing a boost to national nanoscience research. Research and teaching in areas as diverse as optics, photonics, quantum computing, materials science, medicine and astronomical instrumentation, will be conducted at the Institute. Nanoscience has vast applications ranging from medicines fighting disease at the molecular level to the next generation of optics-based IT technologies that will transform communication systems.”

In early 2010, the University was awarded $40 million towards the construction of the $110 million building for the Australian Institute for Nanoscience from the federal government’s Education Investment Fund. The institute has also been made possible through co-investment from the University of Sydney.

“It’s very exciting to see the building work begin. We’ve been planning the institute for many years and it’s fantastic to see the hard work of so many staff at the University come to fruition,” said Professor Bedding.

Located at the University of Sydney as part of the School of Physics, the Australian Institute for Nanoscience is expected to be ready for researchers and students by the middle of 2015.