BioDesign Collaborative, a design consortium including Aurecon, HDR and Wood, has been appointed to upgrade the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness in Geelong for a sum of $220 million.

The CSIRO lab, which researches exotic and emerging animal and zoonotic diseases, is a high-security lab which allows scientists to research infectious viruses. The upgrades will allow for Australian researchers to better understand the diseases and mitigate any issues brought on by future pandemics.

The PC4 lab was initially created for the prevention of animal diseases. Over time, it has been used to research human diseases, with the proposed upgrades to facilities allowing for it to become a world-class lab.

“The emergence of Hendra virus in Australia demonstrated that diseases do not differentiate between animals and humans, so neither will we, as we step up our preparedness and response to both in a more holistic way,” says CSIRO CEO, Larry Marshall.

The upgrades to the facility will include a new laboratory wing, as well as making the lab a more ‘people-centred’ space. BioDesign Collaborative endeavour to allow for an influx of natural light within the labs, in order to increase wellness and potentially attract new researchers. The upgrades will not affect the lab’s security and biocontainment levels, and will aim to account for the demands and technologies associated with future research.

HDR Global Director of Education, Science and Advanced Technologies, Steven Riojas, says the engineering and design firm is excited by the project, and looks forward to delivering the outcomes required to upgrade and futureproof the facility.

“As part of the BioDesign Collaborative, HDR is honoured to provide local and international expertise for the design of this innovative facility,” he says.

The critical research being done will advance animal and human health and safety, improve quality of life, and have a lasting impact on communities in Australia.”

The upgrades are due to be completed in 2027. For more information on the existing lab, head to the CSIRO website.