Traditional Owners and researchers from Victoria University are set to collaborate on sustainable water and waste schemes at a new $7 million innovation hub based in Werribee.

Minister for Higher Education, Gayle Tierney, was joined by Treasurer and Member for Werribee, Tim Pallas, in launching the $7 million Sustainable Futures Innovation Hub at the Wunggurrwil Dhurrung Centre in Werribee.

The Hub is a program of research projects promoting cleaner and greener practices in the water, construction and packaging industries.

“The Hub will provide a home for sustainable innovation, opportunities to collaborate across research, industry and the community, and ultimately bolster our economy,” Mr Pallas said.

Researchers and student interns will collaborate with Wadawurrung, Boonwurrung and Woiwurrung people and the local community through Next Generation Water Management to learn how to catch, store and use water from the new Wunggurrwil Dhurrung Centre, as well as observing the local river system to help inform future development and infrastructure projects.

The Hub will also be a place for the research and development of responsible packaging – for example bio-packaging created from agricultural waste or pavement created from recycled plastic and glass.

Researchers hope to deliver smart-tech solutions to help with the transition of the construction industry, with, for example, cost-effective tools for quality control and health and safety inspections during building rectification works. The Hub will create 13 new jobs and extend the roles of almost two existing staff members.

The Labor Government contributed $4.9 million to the project in a joint effort by Victoria University, with in-kind contributions from research partners.

It is one of many pitches from universities to the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund, which was developed in response to the significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the sector.

The $350 million Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund is supporting universities with capital works, research infrastructure projects and applied research focused on boosting Victoria’s productivity and economy as the state recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is exactly the type of project that we are proud to support as part of our record investment in the skills and training sector – ensuring Victoria emerges even stronger from the pandemic,” Ms Tierney said.

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