Guest Message - Michael Wilson, Vice President, Research, CSL Ltd

Precinct Development

CSL recently marked another major milestone in its 103 year history, announcing the construction of a new purpose-built global headquarters in the heart of the Parkville precinct. It is envisaged the new facility will become a bridge between academic research and industry, creating important linkages in the translation of new medicines for unmet medical needs. Our collaborations within the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct date back over one hundred years and are even more important today, as evidenced by our presence at the Bio21 Institute and multiple research linkages across the precinct.

On completion, the development will accommodate more than 800 CSL employees, including early stage research and product development teams, corporate functions and support services. We hope the development further energise partnerships with the surrounding biomedical, biotech and academic community.

CSL will maintain its presence at the Bio21 Institute, which currently accommodates 135 CSL scientists. Our partnership with the Bio21 research community runs deep and we place a high value on our interactions within the Institute.

We look forward to sharing more information with you about this important investment as the project progresses.

Supporting the Biotech Eco-system

As Australia’s largest private investor in medical research, CSL is deeply committed to supporting the biotech eco-system. This support takes many forms, including collaboration, mentorship and of course, funding. With our partners across the precinct receiving the results of their NHMRC applications, we are reminded of the important role that industry can play in providing alternative support for ground-breaking research.

This year we piloted the CSL Research Acceleration Initiative (RAI) with four Australian research organisations. We received 17 applications and will progress with funding two high quality research projects that align with our Therapeutic Areas. Next year, we will open the initiative to all independent academic Australian research organisations. The first wave of promotion to the scientific community will open in March 2020. We encourage the Bio21 community to stay tuned for more details about this exciting opportunity.

Fostering the next generation of researchers:

In October, we’ll announce the winners of the CSL Centenary Fellowships. Every year since our centenary in 2016, we have awarded two fellowships worth $1.25million over five years to scientists conducting world-class medical research right here in Australia. We look forward to introducing you to this year’s awardees. We are also committed to encouraging more students to pursue STEM education. I recently had the pleasure of welcoming the next cohort of UROP students into the BioMedical Research Victoria program – some of whom will take up placements here at Bio21. I was extremely impressed with the quality of research showcased at the UROP conference and left feeling that the future of medical research is in good hands.

Embracing change:

Soon, I’ll celebrate 12 years’ service at CSL. Over that period I’ve seen a lot of change across the medical research sector and within the company itself. Perhaps one of the most dramatic changes has been the explosion of data science as a critical tool in the analysis of research. Celebrating the important role these scientists play in interpreting our findings, we have embarked on a three part online series explaining the practice of data science to the public. You can read the first article about WEHI Centenary Fellow and collaborator Wei Shi here and another article about Milica Ng, CSL’s head of Data Science here

This is truly an exciting time to be a medical researcher and I believe the Parkville precinct is an exceptional place to be conducting research. Over the next five years we’ll see even more change to the landscape as CSL and our partners across the precinct invest in facilities and people. We look forward to sharing the journey with you.

Michael Wilson
Vice President, Research CSL Ltd