The Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery
Innovation at the Intersection of Clinical Practice, Engineering, Technology and Industry
The Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery – A hub fusing medicine, engineering, science and industry to yield significant economic, patient and healthcare impact, unlike anywhere else in Australia
The development of new treatments and medical solutions requires a diverse range of expertise, skill-sets, and environments that are not typically housed within a single organization.
The Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery (ACMD) is an ambitious initiative to create the first hospital-based, world-class healthtech innovation hub in Australia.
The ACMD is modelled after several best-of-breed international collaborative consortiums and hubs that have been demonstrated to accelerate the development of medical solutions to market and adoption in clinical practice thereby delivering better patient outcomes and quality of life.
Headquartered at St Vincent’s Hospital in the heart of Melbourne, the ACMD facility will be a purposefully designed landmark that stimulates connectivity and upskilling of our best scientists, engineers, clinicians, allied health, and industry professionals to transform ground-breaking biomedical research and technologies into new medical solutions - effectively enabling more of the "development" in research and development (R&D).
New jobs and industry
The ACMD will drive medical innovation and position Victoria as a global leader in medical innovation, securing Australia a major share of the burgeoning global healthcare market.
The vibrant new healthtech innovation industries we foster in Victoria, will provide employment opportunities and significant export revenue to the State.
Reduced healthcare costs
Translating the ACMD's projects into improved primary and hospital care, aged care and better preventative health strategies will help to reduce the burden of illness in the community.
Enabling better management and personalized treatment will reduce the cost of healthcare for governments and the community.
From restoring sight to the blind, to limb repair and regeneration, healthtech enabled medical solutions has the potential to ensure well-being and quality of life by preventing and treating medical conditions in ways that have never been possible before.
The ACMD will enable this pioneering work to happen faster and more effectively, bringing about new treatments for chronic disease sooner, to the benefit of more Australians.
Breaking down the barriers to delivering healthtech innovations to the community
A unique partnership among Australia's best universities, medical research institutes, and health services provider
The ACMD initiative is founded by nine of Australia’s internationally recognised universities, medical research institutes, and hospital.
The ACMD partners have diverse strengths in fields that are well-suited to developing healthtech solutions that address patient and healthcare needs:
- medical research and development
- allied health
- biology (tissues, cells, genetics and microbiomics)
- engineering (electronic, electrical, materials and software)
- biotechnical platforms
- education and training
Through this unique multi-institutional partnership model (which may include new partners), we aim to:
1. Create a designed-for-purpose collaborative healthtech innovation hub that will enhance local and global connectivity; serve as a catalyst for delivering more projects with greater impact and ability to attract high-value investment; and keep Australia at the forefront of health innovation
2. Generate better patient health outcomes by purposefully choosing to pursue projects that are aligned with the research and clinical strengths of our partners, in areas that target our most pressing local and global healthcare needs
3. Enable a more cost-effective health system through patients and carers actively working with healthcare staff and non-medical disciplines such as engineering, manufacturing, and business partners, to develop more cost-effective medical solutions
4. Strengthen our economy by enhancing our people’s capability to develop and commercialise new medical technologies right here in Australia, which fosters greater capacity for design, innovation and manufacturing, and opens the door for new start-ups and growth of existing companies
5. Produce a new breed of graduates and professionals, with a window into the laboratory, hospital and entrepreneurial environments, as well as the know-how to navigate the technical, legal, regulatory and business requirements for bringing new ideas to market
Embedding tertiary students from different disciplines into the R&D, clinical, and entrepreneurial environments
ACMD's hands-on training model will equip the next generation of tertiary students with the necessary skills and a greater understanding of emerging technologies in medicine. This will produce clinicians with an interest in applying outcomes and discoveries to patient treatment, engineers with insight into how their discoveries might be used in clinical applications and scientists who are technically skilled and workplace ready.
The ACMD HealthTech Innovation Hub
The total funding of $180 million for Stage 1 of the new facility will provide for site demolition, construction and fitout, ensuring a fully-functional building that delivers research benefits and cost savings as quickly as possible and with minimal disruption.
The ACMD partners are working together to achieve this. To date, the Victorian State Government have committed $60 million (2014) and we are seeking a further $30 million ($90 million total).
The remaining $90 million will be raised via a combination of contributions from the ACMD partners ($60 million) and philanthropy ($30 million). We seeking support for investment to meet our funding target.
To talk to us about funding opportunities, please contact Katerina Kantalis at the St Vincent's Hospital Foundation:
Call: +61 3 9231 3305
ACMD Themes (HealthTech)
Key areas of focus that align our partner strengths with patient and healthcare needs
Smart devices, bionics & implantables
Digital health, precision health & participatory medicine
Internationally significant medical research developments involving the ACMD partners have included the cochlear implant and the bionic eye. While in the past these developments have been based on ad hoc arrangements and relationships, they are examples of the significant benefits that a cross-disciplinary, multi-institutional approach can achieve.
Innovation in Action
In 2016, the BioFab3D@ACMD facility on Level 1 of the Clinical Sciences Building at St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, was opened as the first tangible "proof of concept" for the full ACMD HealthTech Innovation Hub.
Below are some of the exciting medical solutions that our partners are working on together right now - more of these high-impact projects will catalyzed by the construction of the ACMD HealthTech Innovation Hub:
Treat Diabetes without insulin injections - St. Vincent’s Institute has pioneered islet transplantation in Australia, giving people with unstable type 1 diabetes the prospect of a future without insulin injections.
Control epilepsy - In collaboration with the Bionics Institute, St Vincent’s Hospital neurology team has developed a world-first brain implant dubbed Fitbit for the brain' which is able give epileptic seizure forecasts. It has taken four years for the team of 100 neurologists, engineers, neurosurgeons and neuroscientists to create the device.
Limb repair - Surgeons have used a 3D printer pen filled with stem cell ink to “draw” new cartilage into damaged knees, opening up a world of possibilities for human body part replacements.The breakthrough Biopen paves the way for the Melbourne-led team eventually to repair damage to bones, muscles and tendons, and even to tissue in organs such as the heart, the liver, and the lungs. The Biopen was developed by ACMD partners St Vincent’s Hospital, and the University of Wollongong.
Walk again - Scientists are using nanotechnology to create implants that interact with living tissue to encourage damaged nerves to regrow. Sensory electrode systems and material matrix platforms will pave the way towards the development of effective bionic solutions for nervous system injury such as spinal cord injury and diseases like motor neuron disease.