The University of Melbourne's $140m Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute (Bio21 Institute) is a multidisciplinary research centre, specialising in medical, agricultural and environmental biotechnology.

Opened in 2005, the Bio21 Institute improves human health and the environment through innovation in biotechnology and related areas, driven by multidisciplinary research and dynamic interactions with industry.

The Institute embraces commercialisation as a facilitator of innovation, skills development and economic outcomes. A key driver of innovation is the Institute's commitment to intellectual property protection, technology transfer and business incubation.

Accommodating more than 500 research scientists, students and industry participants, the Bio21 Institute is one of the largest biotechnology research centres in Australia.

The Bio21 Institute is the flagship of the Bio21 Cluster project, which includes 21 member institutions recognised for research excellence and translational outcomes in medical and biomedical science and biotechnology.

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The Bio21 Institute was established in 2002 and officially opened in 2005, as the University of Melbourne's core research and development facility within the Bio21 Parkville Precinct in Melbourne, Australia.   

The vision behind its creation was a state-of-the-art multidisciplinary research facility to capture opportunities for innovation and add significant value to the University's standing in biomedical research, knowledge transfer and technology innovation.

This vision was built on the premise that multidisciplinary ventures between life sciences, physical sciences and engineering disciplines, including the exploitation of genomics knowledge in medical and other biomedical areas of biotechnology, was fundamental to translating biological discoveries into biotech outcomes.

To achieve this, the University's generated strategic links with affiliated biomedical research institutions and major hospitals near its campus via the incorporated entity, The Bio21 Cluster.

The commitment to establish the Bio21 Institute was the University of Melbourne's original contribution to the Bio21 Cluster project.


To improve health and the environment through innovation in biotechnology, driven by multidisciplinary research and dynamic engagement with industry.

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  • Achieve biotechnology innovation through multidisciplinary research, genomics and strategic alliances/collaboration with academia and industry
  • Attract outstanding scientists and technicians
  • Establish core platform technology facilities accessible to diverse scientific and industry communities
  • Engage industry and nurture the commercialisation of discoveries
  • Support start-up companies through business incubation and entrepreneurship skills development
  • Contribute employable skills and prepare research students and post doctoral fellows for leadership in industry
  • Translate research into community benefits (educational and economic)
  • Provide a forum for community debate and dissemination of information on emerging bioscience and technology issues.

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Research Themes 

The Institute's multidisciplinary research capability is focused on three broad areas:

  • Structural and Cell Biology, which provides an understanding of the organisation of complex biological systems and molecular processes that underpin normal cellular development and disease
  • Chemical Biology, the small molecules that impact on biological systems and environmental ecosystems or can be used to manipulate biological processes to provide the basis of novel therapeutics and insect control agents
  • Nanobiotechnology that brings together the physical and life sciences with engineering, working at the sub-nano scale, to provide a new level of health, agricultural and environmental research.

Platform Technology

Underpinning contemporary biotechnology research are core platform technologies which help us to understand the composition, structure and interaction of molecules and then use this knowledge in industrial applications and biological processes.

The Institute has made significant investment in platform technology, creating critical mass in the areas of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and electron microscopy.

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