Home' Forge : Vol 2 No 4 Contents 102
New facilities are set to attract more local and global expertise to UWA.
The University of Western Australia
(UWA) is part of a groundbreaking
collaboration that is advancing knowledge
of the Indian Ocean by creating world-
class marine research facilities in Perth,
and acting as a hub for researchers,
industry and governments worldwide.
Based at UWA’s Crawley Campus, the
$63 million Indian Ocean Marine Research
Centre (IOMRC) opened in October 2016.
This state-of-the-art research facility is
the largest of its kind in the Southern
Hemisphere and the Indian Ocean Rim.
The five-storey IOMRC facility is the
larger of two infrastructure projects
in a collaboration that includes UWA,
CSIRO, the Australian Institute of
Marine Sciences (AIMS) and the Western
Australia Department of Fisheries.
A second project, the $13 million
refurbishment of the Watermans Bay
Marine Centre, was completed in
September 2015. The IOMRC Watermans
Bay facility, 30 minutes north of Crawley
by car, transformed a derelict Western
Australia Department of Fisheries building
into the Indian Ocean’s first seawater
facility for broad marine science research.
‘The facilities, and the researchers who
use them, will help the world understand
how to best use and protect the Indian
Ocean,’ says Professor Shaun Collin,
Deputy Director of the UWA Oceans
Institute and noted global researcher in
sensory systems in vertebrates.
The Crawley facility will house around
330 researchers, spanning fields such as
marine biology and ecology, engineering,
renewable energy, and marine economics,
law and governance. The Watermans Bay
facility is designed to attract local and
international researchers who conduct
‘The scale of research at the IOMRC
and its multidisciplinary focus is
unique,’ says Collin. ‘Through IOMRC,
we have federal and state enterprises
and a university research institution
all working together to solve marine
problems, and create opportunities.’
IOMRC’s work is vital. The Indian Ocean
is the world’s third-largest ocean, and
its least understood. It is bounded by
Asia on the north, Africa on the west and
Australia on the east, and it affects the
lives of billions of people.
The IOMRC and the UWA Oceans
Institute have important leadership roles
in protecting the Indian Ocean, says
Collin. ‘UWA’s location and expertise
in marine research ideally positions the
University as a research gateway for the
Based in Australia’s Indian Ocean capital,
Perth, UWA is shaping strategic thinking
and relationships across universities,
industry and government in this region.
The University hosted the Indian Ocean
Rim Association Council of Ministers
meeting in 2014.
Collin says that IOMRC will become
a major platform for marine-science
collaboration in Australia and overseas.
‘Our hope is that other local and
international research organisations
join the collaboration, and that leading
scientists from around the world use the
facilities. Through IOMRC, we can go
outside traditional boundaries of marine
research to solve complex problems,
and influence government policy and
Excellence in marine sciences research
UWA’s outstanding reputation in marine
sciences has been strengthened by the UWA
Oceans Institute, which was formed in 2010
to bring together UWA marine researchers
from across the university, and to create a
multidisciplinary research approach.
Previously, UWA marine sciences research
worked across nine faculties and 12 schools.
Grouping them created research scale and
opportunities for collaboration.
The move paid off. UWA is climbing
international rankings in marine sciences
research. It ranked in the world’s top 30
universities for earth and marine sciences
research, according to QS World University
Rankings by Subject 2016 – up 14 places on
the previous year.
‘UWA is in the top one per cent of global
universities for marine sciences research,’
says Collin. ‘We are fortunate to have a
number of outstanding, passionate marine
The University of
Western Australia is at
the forefront of marine
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