The University of Queensland (UQ) is partnering with Emory University in the US to enhance vaccine research. 

This collaboration aims to establish the Queensland Emory Vaccine Centre (QEVC) at UQ’s St Lucia campus. 

The initiative, announced by Grace Grace, Minister for State Development and Infrastructure, focuses on addressing emerging diseases, pandemic preparedness, and infectious diseases in the Asia-Pacific region.

The $32 million government-backed project will include laboratories, high-end computing infrastructure, and facilities for scaled protein expression and purification. 

Additionally, it will feature spaces for sterilisation, glass-wash facilities, laboratory consumables storage, cold storage, meeting rooms, and offices. 

The construction of the facility is expected to begin by the end of the year and is anticipated to be operational in 2025.

Its proponents say the QEVC will accelerate the development of vaccine candidates for clinical trials, putting Queensland at the forefront of vaccine research. 

The centre will link with global medicine and vaccine company Sanofi, the Translational Research Institute, and the Translational Manufacturing facility currently under construction at the Boggo Road precinct. 

“This is a nationally significant opportunity to reduce the vaccine development timeline, through investment into novel approaches of vaccine development and technologies right here in Queensland,” Grace said.  

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said; “The QEVC will house more than 80 researchers and create over 20 direct jobs, provide new teaching and learning opportunities to boost Queensland’s skills pipeline and help to attract and retain talent”. 

She said that the biotech sector and other research institutions would benefit from the new facilities, ensuring a robust pipeline of vaccines and therapeutics from discovery to commercialisation.

Emory University, based in Atlanta, Georgia, is a major research provider to the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention through the US Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium. 

Emory Vaccine Center is known for its advances in immunology, virology, and vaccine research, striving to develop life-saving cures against the world’s most threatening diseases.

The state says the establishment of the QEVC aligns with its Queensland Biomedical 10-year Roadmap and Action Plan (PDF).