American philanthropist Chuck Feeney has officially opened the new Queensland Institute of Medical Research Building he helped fund.
The 15-storey “QIMR Central” houses state-of-the-art facilities and purpose-build laboratories and is the centrepiece of a $180 million project funded by the State and Federal Government and Mr Feeney’s gift of $27.5 million.
QIMR Director Professor Frank Gannon said Mr Feeney’s generosity would allow the Institute to expand its groundbreaking work in cancer, infectious diseases and mental health/complex disorders.
“QIMR currently has more than 600 world-class researchers in over 50 laboratories,” Professor Gannon said.
“This new facility will mean we can expand to more than 1000 scientists in the next decade, and intensify our research interests even further, with an ongoing commitment to translating discoveries into treatments, diagnostics and prevention strategies.”
Professor Gannon said Mr Feeney’s contributions had helped put QIMR on the world map.
“Mr Feeney’s initial gift to QIMR in 2001 was his first in Australia and started a new era of transformation and opportunity for QIMR and other Australian research institutes and universities,” Professor Gannon said.
“I’d also like to thank the State and Federal governments for recognising the importance of medical research to the wellbeing of all,” Professor Gannon said.
“And, of course, thank you to Chuck Feeney. We’ve had an extraordinary relationship with him over the past decade, and in that time he’s given $59 million to QIMR.
“Queenslanders have benefited enormously from his commitment to ‘Giving while Living’.”
“But Chuck goes further: he also believes in giving what you can. Of course, the scale of Chuck’s donation has attracted attention, but QIMR knows that a small donation from a person with lesser means is just as generous an act, and one we are no less grateful for.”
Mr Feeney has given $233 million (AUS) to biomedical research in Queensland since 1998. When current building projects are completed, he will have helped to build or expand 12 research institutions.