$9.3 million state-of-the-art education centre launches at Westmead

A $9.3 million teaching and learning centre, officially opened at Westmead Hospital this week, is the first major infrastructure collaboration between the University of Sydney, Western Sydney Local Health District, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network and the $1 billion Westmead Redevelopment project.

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes was on-hand to launch the Westmead Education and Conference Centre (WECC), a new creative space to inspire flexible learning and teaching activities.

The WECC level one, located in the heart of Westmead Hospital, has four new teaching areas, including case study and cabaret rooms, specifically designed to encourage an inclusive teaching style, along with the huddle, a small informal ampitheatre for collaboration.

Mr Stokes said the new areas were created in consultation with the university and leading educational institutions around the world to support Westmead’s diverse students, educators, researchers and clinicians.

“This will open up great opportunities for students and researchers at Westmead to have the opportunity to engage with leading experts, with strong records of applying their research for better community health outcomes in areas ranging from bioinformatics to infectious diseases, cancer genomics to children’s health,” Mr Stokes said.

“The centre supports their discoveries and expertise being shared firsthand with students and colleagues.”

University of Sydney vice-chancellor Dr Michael Spence said: “the renovation of the WECC is the most recent stage of our ongoing commitment to western Sydney and to supporting the highest quality teaching and research at Westmead.

“Our presence in western Sydney will unfold over the next 15 years and our second campus will be the University of Sydney’s second home.”

The Westmead health, education and research precinct currently supports around 2000 students and 13,000 scientists, clinicians, educators and other professionals and the figures are expected to grow to more than 6000 students and 30,000 staff by 2036.

The University of Sydney is one of several partners at the Westmead precinct, which includes four hospitals, three medical research institutes, two universities and the largest research-active pathology service in the country.

Western Sydney Local Health District chief executive Danny O’Connor said the transformation was in response to Westmead’s growing multidisciplinary environment.

“The entire Westmead community including researchers, practitioners, students, patients and the broader community will benefit from this facility,” he said.

“We really want to see students, clinicians and researchers continue to build on the culture of innovation and knowledge sharing at Westmead in the space.”