Cancer centre to move to new technology park

THE Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute will move to Federation University’s new Ballarat Technology Park Central.

The $2.1 million park was opened yesterday by Premier Denis Napthine.

The state government will also give $75,000 to help FECRI’s move to the park at the former brewery building at the SMB campus.

However, extra resources will be needed to complete the relocation.

FECRI research director Professor George Kannourakis said the move would take place later this year after St John of God Hospital announced in December it would reclaim its Mair Street boiler house – the current FECRI location – for extra energy production due to increased 

demand.

It will also allow FECRI to be equipped as a specialist cancer research hub with international standard facilities, ensuring the independent research facility’s future growth.

“We have moved a long way from starting in the old paint shed in the mid-1990s at St John of God,” Professor Kannourakis said.

“It is wonderful to see the remarkable development of the institute over the last 20 years, which is a testament to the overwhelming support of the Ballarat and greater regional community.

“The move to the new premises at Federation University is the next exciting step in our development and it is a clear example of what can be achieved in Ballarat.”

Professor Kannourakis said the new facility would also have expansion potential as the research institute grew.

It will also allow FECRI to collabrate with other research facilities in the park and at the university, including in IT and biotechnology.

Dr Napthine said he was pleased to be able to provide the FECRI grant to “keep these important jobs and vital research here in Ballarat”.

FECRI will continue its cancer research and operations through community donations, business sponsorships and partnerships, and fundraising events, such as Fiona’s Walk, the Melbourne Cup Luncheon and the Ballarat Cycle Classic.

FECRI management board chairman Emeritus Professor Wayne Robinson said they looked forward to a “strong and productive collaboration” with other Technology Park Central research teams.

FECRI opened in 1998, inspired by Ballarat teenager Fiona Elsey, who lost her fight with cancer in 1991.

Its current research includes a world-first trial into individualising patient chemotherapy treatments.

fiona.henderson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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