University welcomes funding announcement

SUPL underground mine
Left to right: Swinburne University of Technology Associate Professor Alan Duffy, University of Melbourne Professor Elisabetta Barberio, Victorian Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes, SGM General Manager Troy Cole and Northern Grampians Shire Council Mayor Kevin Erwin.

The University has welcomed the State Government’s funding announcement for the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory (SUPL).

Victorian Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes announced the Labor Government will provide $5 million for the construction of the laboratory, which will be one kilometre underground within the Stawell Gold Mine.

It follows a funding announcement made by the Commonwealth Government earlier this year.

The lab will provide ultra-low background research facilities needed in the groundbreaking search for dark matter. The project will also provide local education benefits, with its counterpart project in Italy attracting around 8000 school students each year.

The project is a collaboration between six university partners - led by the University of Melbourne alongside Swinburne University of Technology, the University of Adelaide, the Australian National University, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics.

University of Melbourne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Jim McCluskey said the funding will provide an important stimulus to international research in the study of dark matter.

“The University is grateful to the State Government for contributing funding to the SUPL,”  Professor McCluskey said.

“The funding will enable researchers to deliver internationally significant outcomes and will help promote interest in STEM careers to students in the region.

"The State funding builds on a grant from the Commonwealth that supports creation of a national detection facility hosted in Stawell for the Australian and international physics community.”