In a day of celebration the Minister for Education, Martin Dixon and Member for South Barwon, Andrew Katos officially opened BioLAB: The Victorian BioScience Education Centre yesterday.

The day’s events saw Belmont High School students demonstrating a number of BioLAB’s programs for the crowd of over 100 attendees which included Geelong’s Mayor Cr John Mitchell, Deakin University representatives, Regional School Principals and industry partners.

Minister Dixon and Andrew Katos, said the centre would inspire and engage generations of young Victorians with the possibilities of science, particularly in the emerging areas of sports science materials technology and biomechanics.

“BioLAB breaks the mould of science education, providing students with sophisticated science scenarios designed to tap into their imagination, intellect and understanding of science,” Mr Dixon said.

“Science has a misplaced reputation for being dull and that’s why too many students turn off before they even give it a chance. “BioLAB will help us reach out to young minds and inspire them to push the boundaries of science.”

BioLAB is the latest addition to Victoria’s specialised science education centres based at secondary schools – the Victorian Space Science Education Centre at Strathmore Secondary College, the Ecolinc Centre at Bacchus Marsh Secondary College and the Gene Technology

Access Centre at University High. After BioLAB will come Earth Ed, a renewable energy centre at Mt Clear Secondary College in Ballarat, and the Quantum Victoria, a physical sciences centre, based at Charles La Trobe College in Heidelberg.

Hundreds of schools across the state send their students to these centres to experience the practical side of science.

Mr Katos said BioLAB featured four distinct laboratories which are designed to help students learn about the different aspects of bioscience.

“In the outdoor field laboratory students are able to analyse the physics of a sport, and are also fitted with GPS athlete tracking systems to monitor their body’s physiological responses to exercise,” Mr Katos said.

“In the human performance laboratory students might face a sports doping scandal, and will also be able to look at materials technology of sports equipment using the sophisticated testing equipment on site.

“What better location to have this centre than Geelong, a city where sport is the lifeblood, which will help capture the imagination of students and draw a clear link between science and the real world,” Mr Katos said.

BioLAB is hosted at Belmont High School in Belmont, and has already built partnerships with a number of local organisations, including Deakin University.

When it opens in term 1 next year, the programs at BioLAB will be targeted towards upper primary school through to middle secondary years students, with the aim of expanding the curriculum to providing VCE level content in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physical Education.

BioLAB’s Director, Yvonne Van Der Ploeg was very excited to see the building officially launched. “Today has been a wonderful celebration of over two years of hard work. So many people here today have contributed to the concept, construction and development of this exceptional centre.” Ms Van Der Ploeg said.

“There is a wonderful feeling of team work and enthusiasm behind BioLAB and I look forward to seeing it go from strength to strength in the coming years.”