Students will have access to world leading Australian scientists as part of a new dedicated sciences school named after Nobel Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn.

The Elizabeth Blackburn School of Sciences, a dedicated sciences school for years 11 and 12, located within the world renowned Parkville Precinct, has been officially opened today by the Victorian Minister for Education, The Hon Martin Dixon.

The unique school is the result of a partnership between the University of Melbourne, University High School and the Victorian State Government, and is located at the Bio21 Institute site.

The select entry sub school of University High caters for 200 high performing and passionate students in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) with the aim of inspiring the next generation of scientists.

All students have access to scientist mentors including from industry, leading edge facilities within state of the art dedicated classrooms and exposure to an environment that inspires an interest in science. 

The partnership supports advancements in the development and delivery of science curriculum, including guest lectures to other schools and provides for teacher training for Melbourne Graduate School of Education, Masters of Teachers students in exposure to dedicated science teaching.

The $7M building is designed to a 5 star green star rating and will be heated and cooled by a geothermal system fitted by the Geotechnical Group of the Department of Infrastructure Engineering at the University of Melbourne.

The science students will be able to use the building as a living experiment in their studies with direct access to the data generated.

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis said the Elizabeth Blackburn School of Sciences was the result of a great collaboration to establish a leading science school, providing aspiring young scientists with access to mentors from the University of Melbourne, Bio21 Institute and the Parkville Precinct.

“We are assisting students by nurturing their passion for scientific endeavour early in their lives and helping to create the next generation of cutting edge scientists,” he said.

University High School Principal Rob Newton said, “Our vision is to ensure graduates will be prepared for the transition to tertiary studies and that they will have a clear understanding of the many pathways possible for the sciences.”

“This is an innovative approach to science and education and the interaction between secondary school and university. We encourage students from all schools across Victoria to apply,” he said.

The Elizabeth Blackburn School of Sciences is an investment in the future growth and sustainability of Victoria’s science and biotechnology sector by increasing the number and quality of people in science.

The Hon Martin Dixon said “This fantastic purpose-built school will help Victoria become a world leader in science by delivering leading-edge teaching, learning and research.”

 “As a unique dedicated specialist science school, it will deliver the latest innovations and excellence in the teaching of contemporary science and mathematics,” he said.

 The school is named in honour of Professor Elizabeth Blackburn - an inspirational Australian who became Australia’s first female and 11th Nobel laureate in 2009, in recognition of her extraordinary achievements in physiology and medicine.

Professor Elizabeth Blackburn said in a video message at the launch that it was truly an honour that the school was named after her. 

As an alumna of both University High and University of Melbourne she said the location brought great opportunities for the students. “There is a hub of tremendous minds and scientists in the Parkville precinct and you will have the benefit of these great people as I did when I was there,” she said.

Main image courtesy Tobias Abel (Flickr).