UOW's SMART building points to future

The University of Wollongong's SMART building is one of the cutting-edge infrastructure projects to be showcased in a new publication and app, released by the Gillard government yesterday.

Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans said the publication, Building a Smarter Future, and associated app featured a range of infrastructure projects established at tertiary campuses across Australia under the government's $5 billion Education Investment Fund (EIF).

Many of these have won major design awards - including the SMART Infrastructure Facility, which received awards from the Australian Institute of Architects and the NSW Master Builders Association in 2011.

Chief operating officer Tania Brown said the $62 million building, one of the largest infrastructure research facilities in the world, received $35 million through the EIF.

"It's a four-star green rated building and includes a range of energy efficient systems, including solar power, recyclable water tanks and a mixed modal airconditioning system," she said.

"This enables the building to react to the temperature outside by automatically opening and closing windows. A lot of glass has also been used in the building to let natural light in and to allow for openness and transparency of research."

The SMART facility consists of 30 specialist research and education laboratories that focus on a range of infrastructure services such as electricity, energy, water, gas, transport, rail and road.

The facility, which includes a 30 metre wave tank and high speed rail simulator, caters for 200 PhD students plus hundreds of undergraduate students from various faculties.

"There's a lot of open collaborative spaces to encourage students from multiple faculties to come together, be exposed to new ideas and hopefully form collaborations across research areas," Ms Brown said.

Senator Evans said the EIF was working to ensure the nation's tertiary institutions remained at the forefront of teaching and learning.

"The opportunity to study and train in virtual classrooms, cutting-edge simulators, state-of-the-art laboratories, open-plan library hubs and collaborative work spaces is now within reach for more Australians than ever before," he said.

For copies of the Building a Smarter Future publication, contact eif@innovation.gov.au or call 133 873.

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