Bringing bioengineering to life

In an Australian first, leading researchers have come together to take biomedical research on a fast track to success. The Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery (ACMD) will establish the first biomedical engineering research and education centre in Australia.

Bringing together research and training from hospitals, universities and medical research institutes in a purpose-built, collaborative research centre, international experience and research confirms that collaborative centres like the ACMD deliver better research outcomes while significantly reducing the time to commercialise the discoveries.  

Through concurrent research and development collaborative work practices, the acmd’s goals are to reduce the burden of chronic disease in the community (such as arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental health, musculoskeletal disorders and dementia) through advances in biomedical engineering, and create new, world-leading industries in device creation, tissue engineering and drug design and delivery.

Be at the centre of discovery

Be at the centre of discovery

New Industry

Bringing together research and training from leading hospitals, universities and medical research institutes in a purpose-built centre, the ACMD will drive medical innovation and position Victoria as a global leader in the fast growth industry of biomedical engineering.

Delivering in Australia a vibrant world-leading biomedical engineering industry and securing for our country a major share of the burgeoning global device and biomedical engineering market.

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New Jobs

New commercial products and
services will foster a vibrant world-leading biomedical engineering industry in Australia.

Already, commercialisation of research underpins an industry that employs over 40,000 people and exports $3.8 billion of goods in this country.

The ACMD builds on that industry and will secure Australia’s place as world leaders in the burgeoning biomedical device and biomedical engineering market into the future.

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Improved Lives

From restoring sight to the blind, to limb repair and regeneration, biomedicine has the potential to heal and treat illness 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.

The ACMD's goals are to reduce the burden of chronic disease in the community through advances in biomedical engineering.

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Breaking down the barriers to medical discovery

Facilitating collaboration a new opportunity in medical research and education

Experts from the ACMD partners across the disciplines of medicine, engineering and science will be co-located in a new building on the St Vincent’s Hospital campus. To be located on the St Vincent’s Hospital campus, one of Melbourne’s most prominent inner-city gateways, the ACMD will have a flexible building design and a governance structure that maximises collaboration and the sharing of specialised equipment and platform technologies.


By co-locating students alongside highly skilled professionals, fostering a creative and vibrant environment, fast-tracking frontier technologies to transform Victorian industry and health outcomes. This will allow clinicians to be exposed to the latest advances in bioengineering and material science, and engineers and scientists to be exposed to clinical research and care.

This will produce a new generation of highly skilled professionals who understand each other’s disciplines and work collaboratively to make new research discoveries that can be fast-tracked to clinical use.

The ACMD will provide the facilities required to bring together and expose partners to the clinical environment in a way that is not currently available at any other clinical research campus in Australia.

Outline of funding request

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 have formally indicated their intention to provide one-third ($60 million) of this funding and in 2014, the State government committed to a $60 million contribution. The remaining $60 million will be sought from other sources.


Driving innovation, revolutionising healthcare

This is our opportunity to drive medical innovation and position Victoria as a global leader in the fast growth industry of biomedical engineering.

Medical Bionics

Tissue Engineering

Drug Discovery

smart devices, replacing organs & systems

smart devices, replacing organs & systems

smart tissues, cells genes

smart tissues, cells genes

drug design, discovery, delivery

drug design, discovery, delivery

Internationally significant medical research developments within Victoria involving the ACMD partners have included bringing together medicine, medical research, bioengineering and engineering to develop 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 approach can achieve.

The ACMD aims to alleviate the effects of chronic disease and provide Australians with an improved quality of life through the development of clinical bionic devices.  By impacting on chronic disease, it is anticipated that the working life of someone suffering from a chronic disease such as diabetes could be extended by at least five years. The number of clinical bionic devices developed and implemented will be greatly enhanced hrough this initiative, providing Victorians with a better quality of life.

Advanced skills for better health

Teams of leading experts will work together at the ACMD, building upon the life‑changing research that is already underway in the field of biomedical engineering.

Treat Diabetes without insulin injections - St. Vincent’s Institute has pioneered islet cell transplantation in Australia, giving people with unstable type 1 diabetes the prospect of a future without insulin injections. 

Control Epilepsy - A new way of terminating epileptic seizures with electrical stimulation is on the cusp of human trials. Seizures are detected and a small stimulus is applied directly to the brain to interrupt this activity

Limb Repair - New materials and stem cell technologies make possible the re-engineering of parts or entire limbs. Individual components such as the muscle required to move the re-engineered limb and the nerves required to drive the movement and sensing functions of the re-engineered limbs, can be manufactured using conducting and non-conducting polymer systems. 

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.