The Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication (MCN) is a world class infrastructure that drives Australian innovation of micro and nanotechnologies. MCN is directed by Professor Nicolas Voelcker (also deputy director of the ARC CPTT) and linked to the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) funding.
MCN has been instrumental in progressing several of the ARC CPTT research projects by offering expert support with microfabrication specialists providing critical technical support associated with the manufacturing process, material compatibility and equipment training. For instance, ICPD Dr Bryan Gao used MCN facilities including high-end 3D printing and clean room equipment to produce quality prototypes of chips for further development of the RPM2 pump, a system enabling continuous parallel sample perfusion to improve physiological emulation. These prototypes are integral to establish the required proof-of-concept through early user tests for commercial translation. Two ARC CPTT students, Iris Yang and Dina Jacob also benefited from access to the MCN facilities to build proof-of -concept devices for flow biosensors and microfluidic control, two highly valued features in automation and in situ monitoring.
The continuing development of breakthrough technologies is intrinsically linked with ease of access to world class infrastructure. However, in his recent article published in The Australian, Professor Voelcker warned that “With the recent release of the NCRIS Strategy 2023 round, the absence of an ongoing support program [from the Victorian government] makes for a nervous Victorian research community, concerned that these facilities, and their expert staff, will not be able to continue delivering the high-quality service that has been key to major innovations over the past 15 years.”