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The University of Melbourne has shortlisted three respondents to its Expression of Interest for the development of the next stage of its Carlton Connect project.

“Our goal is to see if we can find a partner to work with the University on further developing this globally significant innovation and technology precinct here in Melbourne”, said Dr Julie Wells, Vice Principal of Policy & Projects at the University.

Lend Lease, Grocon and CCJ Consortium (comprising Charter Hall, John Holland and Campus Living Villages) have been officially named as the preferred respondents to the EOI process and who will be taken through to the Request for Tender phase.

The Carlton Connect project is being developed to drive innovation through co-location on the old Royal Women’s Hospital site in Melbourne, and as a means for establishing better connections between industry, business, government and University partners in the one spot.

The precinct is already home to the Melbourne Accelerator Program, is the future site of Australia’s only Science Gallery, and has helped forge relationships with Australia Post and NASDAQ.

“The challenge for the University is ensuring that we create infrastructure that will support innovation, in a precinct that will draw researchers, industry, startups and indeed the broader community into one, sector-leading hub.”

“Following a robust evaluation process, we now have three shortlisted respondents who, through the Request for Tender stage, are primed to consider how we might bring these aims to life in Carlton Connect.”

“It is a welcome step forward on a project that has great strategic value for the University and indeed for Melbourne,” concluded Dr Wells.

Director of Carlton Connect Dr Charlie Day said the announcement was timely given the recent government and industry focus on innovation, impact and collaboration with universities.

“All the elements of a successful innovation precinct are already in action here at Carlton Connect. The development of the former Royal Women’s Hospital site as the heart of this precinct will enable us to significantly scale up what we’re already doing with the University and its current partners, to help drive economic and social transformation”.

The work being conducted throughout the precinct on the issue of the future of smart cities has been well received by the City of Melbourne's new digital chief Michelle Fitzgerald. "In this disruptive era of digitisation, Carlton Connect will play a critical role in helping to future-proof our local industries and jobs, and to further strengthen Melbourne's knowledge economy."

"Carlton Connect is part of a critical innovation precinct in our city, and will play a key role in fostering greater collaboration amongst students, academics, non-profits, existing businesses and start-ups, and further strengthen Melbourne's knowledge economy. It can be a community where ideas can be born and nurtured into collaborations, companies and initiatives that can help transform our society.”

“We are excited by this next step in the Carlton Connect journey. Melbourne and Australia needs a beating heart of innovation that will power growth and insight for the development of this city and our nation,” concluded Ms Fitzgerald.