World-class research at new Antarctic centre

A $45 MILLION world class Antarctic research centre has been officially opened in Hobart.

The University of Tasmania Institute of Antarctic and Marine Studies new headquarters on Princes Wharf was opened with numerous federal and state politicians on hand, including Premier Lara Giddings and Liberal Senator David Bushby.

Funded through the federal government's Education Investment Fund, with the land donated by the state government, the five- star, green-rated institute contains five purpose-built laboratories, a 92-seat waterfront lecture theatre and public exhibition area for use by 290 staff and students.

The work to be carried out will focus on aquaculture, fisheries management and marine conservation.

The institute's executive director Professor Mike Coffin said the opening of the new building was a significant milestone.

"Australia's marine jurisdiction is the third largest in the world, and it is of vital national interest to understand dynamic marine and Antarctic environments and to sustainably manage ocean resources," he said.

University vice- chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen said the new facility was a result of partnerships that had been forged to put Tasmania at the forefront of marine research.

"This building makes a number of statements which are very important to the University of Tasmania," he said.

"It talks of doing research of the highest possible quality - you can make a case, that what goes on in this building is the best research in the world as it comes to understanding the southern oceans and Antarctica."

Ms Giddings said the development was an example of how Tasmania was transitioning to a more diverse economy.

She said the co- location of several world class research bodies - Integrated Marine Observing System and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co- operative Research Centre, strengthens Hobart's capacity and reputation as a hub for marine and Antarctic expertise.

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