Brain research in Australia has received a significant boost with the opening of a new $54 million research facility in Sydney.
The Margarete Ainsworth Building, the new home of leading medical research institute NeuRA (Neuroscience Research Australia), will be officially opened today by Federal Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research, Tanya Plibersek, and NSW State Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research, Jillian Skinner.
The building is named in honour of major donor Margarete (Gretel) Ainsworth, businesswoman and wife of gaming magnate Len Ainsworth, in recognition of her generous $10 million gift. This is one of the largest single gifts given by a female philanthropist in Australian history.
The Federal and State Governments have made significant grants for the construction of the building, as have other philanthropic individuals and organisations.
Prof Peter Schofield, Executive Director and CEO of NeuRA, says: “This new facility will radically increase Australia’s capacity to conduct world-class research into brain and nervous system diseases.”
“Our challenge and goal is for neuroscience research to reduce the burden of neurological and psychiatric disorders, the healthcare requirements of which grow day by day,” he says.
“We are fortunate to have someone like Margarete and extend our gratitude to her and our other donors for giving so generously over the years to make the opening of this world-class facility possible.
“With an ageing population there has never been a greater need for state-of-the-art facilities like these. With this building, we are bringing together the best minds in science to find cures for these conditions,” he says.
The Margarete Ainsworth Building is the first stage of the neuroscience research precinct, which will become a hub for research and discoveries on diseases that affect the brain and nervous system.
Mrs Ainsworth says, “I feel one must help where one can. I have always supported mental illness as it is so terribly devastating to families.”
The building consists of seven levels with a total gross floor area of approx. 8500sq metres. The plans include two floors of wet labs and one floor of dry labs, two floors of clinical research facilities, spacious office areas, an expansive atrium entry and staff amenities. The facility is also designed to house two sophisticated MRI scanners for both clinical and research imaging.
Five levels of the building are either wholly or partially completed, with another two levels awaiting further funding to complete the fit out. The gift from Margarete Ainsworth will meet half of the cost of this fit out.
The futuristic design of the building reflects the innovation and creative culture that thrives at NeuRA. We extend an open invitation to media outlets on the day.