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$45 million Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies a cut above the rest

THE recent opening of the $45 million Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) headquarters has marked another significant milestone for the University of Tasmania (UTAS).

The Hobart waterside site will house 290 staff and students, five purpose-built state-of-the-art laboratories, a 92-seat waterfront lecture theatre and a public exhibition area.

UTAS Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen joined Tasmanian Liberal Senator David Bushby and Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings to officially open the building on 24 January.

Prof Rathjen said the building was a magnificent emblem of the university’s strategic direction and its aspiration for Tasmania.

“At IMAS we are pursuing an agenda of global excellence around research and teaching focused on Antarctic and the southern ocean – aquaculture, fisheries management and marine conservation,” he said.

“Not only is the work we do here as good as you’ll find anywhere on the planet, but we have an ambitious agenda for the future.”

The building enables co-location of researchers from IMAS, the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre and Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS).

“This allows the university and IMAS to continue to build its collaborative research partnerships of state, national and international significance,” Prof Rathjen said.

IMAS executive director Professor Mike Coffin said it was of vital national interest to understand dynamic marine and Antarctic environments and to sustainably manage ocean resources.

“Australia’s marine jurisdiction is the third largest in the world,” he said.

“Since its inception in 2010, the Institute has grown its research and teaching expertise through recruiting leading academics from across Australia and overseas.”

Senator Bushby said the investment into the headquarters would position IMAS as a world-class research facility for marine and Antarctic research and education.

He said the $45 million federal government funding would have flow-on benefits for the broader Tasmanian economy.

Melbourne-based John Wardle Architects was the lead firm, working with Hobart’s Terroir on the design of the facility, which was constructed through a joint venture between John Holland and Fairbrother.

Its environmental credentials include a unique seawater heat exchange system to regulate the temperature of the building and bike facilities to encourage staff and students to commute by cycle.

The IMAS building was funded by the Australian Commonwealth Government through the Education Investment Fund.

The Tasmanian State Government contributed land for the project.

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