Chuck Feeney gives Qld $102m donation
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Image: A concept drawing of the planned science and technology precinct to be built at Queensland University of Technology’s Gardens Point campus.
The Queensland and federal governments have welcomed what they say is the largest ever medical donation in Australia’s history.
American philanthropist Chuck Feeney has given $102 million to three Queensland medical projects.
A total of $50 million will go to a research institute and Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital, $27.5 million to the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) and $25 million to the Queensland University of Technology.
QIMR director, Professor Michael Good, says it is the institute’s largest ever philanthropic gift.
Professor Good says the money will enable the institute to begin constructing a new state of the art research facility at Herston, in Brisbane’s inner north, worth $179 million.
The expansion will increase research capacity in areas including tropical diseases, vaccine development, cancer and genetics.
“It will also result in the introduction of a mental health research division and provide for the introduction of brain neuro-imaging facilities,” he said.
“This is a new direction for QIMR and is aimed at improving our understanding of serious mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, mood disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.”
He says the donation will also go towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, with room for an additional 20 scientists researching cancer, asthma, rheumatic heart disease, dementia, maternal and child health.
“We are grateful and delighted with the continued support of The Atlantic Philanthropies, but the size of this support is almost overwhelming,” Professor Good said.
Chuck Feeney is The Atlantic Philanthropies’ founder.
The $27.5 million donation brings to $57 million Mr Feeney’s total commitment to QIMR over the last 10 years.
The donation to QUT will go towards a new science and technology precinct at the university’s Gardens Point campus in Brisbane.
QUT vice-chancellor Professor Peter Coaldrake says the donation underscores Mr Feeney’s personal commitment to giving.
“The contribution of Chuck Feeney to QUT and the state of Queensland has been nothing short of remarkable,” he said.
Construction of the precinct is already underway and is due for completion by 2012. The project is expected to generate 500 construction-related jobs.
Premier Anna Bligh says it is a tribute to the Government’s “smart state” endeavours.
“This is money that’s come here because of our state investment, and because of the federal investment,” she said.
“Because the state has invested in this area, donors now have confidence to add to our effort, so this is a real vote of confidence and I welcome it.”