Nov 20, 2017 | By Tess

Australia’s University of Wollongong has been given a A$347,000 ($262,358) grant from the Australian Research Council (ARC) to establish a 3D bioprinting facility. The money brings the university one “step closer” to launching the bioprinting facility, which will be used to develop 3D printable bioinks, as well as innovative bioprinting systems.

Professor Gordon Wallace

The grant was provided through the ARC’s Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) program and will be shared between the University Wollongong and its research partners at Deakin University, the University of Melbourne, Sydney University, the University of Adelaide, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, the Royal Adelaide Hospital, and more. In other words, it’s an Australia-wide initiative.

The LIEF funding will primarily be put towards investing in 3D printing tools and state-of-the-art equipment, said Professor Gordon Wallace, the director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) and the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) Materials division.

“We will use these [3D printing tools] in association with our partners to develop customized 3D bioprinting systems for specific applications,” Professor Wallace explained. “The project will address the current and future need for delivering 3D printing globally for research, applied science, medical devices and diagnostics and advanced therapeutics.”

Both ACES and ANFF are based out of the University of Wollongong and are leading the bioprinting facility project that will also be located there. ACES is described as a multidisciplinary research group that explores projects relating to devices such as batteries, solar cells, and biocompatible systems.

Just last month, the UOW 3D bioprinting facility project received a A$400,000 grant from MTPConnect, the Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals Industry Growth Centre. This grant was put towards teaming up with Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to advance research on such things as bioinks, delivery systems, and more.

So far, Venus Shell Systems (known for its seaweed-based bioinks), Sydney Eye Bank (which is developing the iFixPen), and biopen developers at SMR automotive and St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, have already been approached.

Ultimately, the goal of establishing a state-of-the-art bioprinting center is to “expedite the development of commercial opportunities in 3D bioprinting” and to “identify opportunities with clinical partners, partner SMEs, and other industries to enable production of relevant biomaterials, formulations of bioinks and customized bioprinting systems.”

“Building upon earlier and current research activities in 3D bioprinting at UOW, we are in a position to provide a portal to global research and development activities in this area, as well as immediate commercialization opportunities,” added Professor Wallace.

With over A$700K in funding received in the past month, the University of Wollongong’s 3D bioprinting center seems headed for success. Still, there is still work to be done before it officially opens its doors.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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