ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology

Synthetic Biology

Latest News

9, Nov 2022

Science Minister lends light touch to official Centre launch

The Hon Ed Husic MP, Minister for Industry and Science, has officially launched the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology.

With $35 million in funding through the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Centre is pioneering new microbes to turn biological waste to biofuels, bio plastics and other useful products.

About 70 VIPs attended the event at Macquarie University, the lead university and one of 10 research nodes across Australia. Dispensing with his official speech in favour of off-the-cuff comments, the Minister set the tone for an event filled with good humour and banter.  Noting the dark glasses on Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Sakkie Pretorius, the Minister said that while Vice Chancellor sported his signature bow ties and Professor Pretorius his dark shades, he had nothing to bring to the stage.

‘You have your chequebook,’ quipped Professor Pretorius.

Inspiring work that supports grand challenges

Mr Husic said he found inspiration in how many sectors the work can be leveraged to support –  in health, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, food production and tackling environmental challenges.

‘I am seriously impressed by your ambition – and as Minister for Science, I want to support ambition wherever I find it.

‘This work will create biological pathways and enzymes entirely new to nature. It is taking this deep understanding of microbial life and transforming that knowledge into new designs for synthetic microbes.’

Minister for Industry and Science, the Hon Ed Husic MP (left) with Professor Ian Paulsen and

Professor Sakkie Pretorius and the Minister with Centre researchers and Professor Paulsen below.

A $1.4 trillion industry

Distinguished Professor Craig Simmons, Executive Director for Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences ARC said the Centre’s work would increase the production and use of biofuels, helping to reduce the carbon footprint of transportation and other industries that rely on fuel.”

It is projected that by 2025 biochemical and biofuel will be a $1.4 trillion global industry.