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Jane Gardner

Media Advisor

University of Melbourne

03 8344 0181

0411 758 984 



The Stawell Underground Physics laboratory (SUPL) received a major funding boost with the announcement of $1.75 million from the National Stronger Regions Fund.

The University of Melbourne is part of an international research team who will work on the SABRE project – the first ever direct-detection dark matter experiment in Australia. 

The scientific effort for SUPL also includes the Universities of Adelaide, Swinburne, and ANU; the key scientific organisation ANSTO, as well as international partners Princeton University and the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN).

The lab has also attracted the attention of scientists from the United Kingdom who have recently expressed interest in a further new dark matter experiment being hosted at SUPL.

Northern Grampians Shire Council Mayor Emerson said the announcement of further funding brings the town of Stawell one step closer to being the home of a Nobel Prize-winning project. “A great deal of hard work has gone into making this project a reality. It’s a very exciting time for all involved.”

Project leader professor Elisabetta Barberio, who is a Professor of physics at the University of Melbourne, said the project had been supported by Australia right from the very beginning.

"Not only will SUPL place us firmly on the world stage in regard to fundamental scientific research, it will strengthen bilateral relations between Italy and Australia. The impact that SUPL will create is immeasurable," she said. 

The effects of SUPL will be not only be on the scientific front.

A recent study from the Office of the Chief Scientist reported that the total direct and flow on impact of the advanced physical and mathematical sciences sector amounts to over 22 per cent of Australian economic activity, or about $292 billion per year.”