Plans for the facility began in 2004 as a response to the Department of Primary Industries’ (DPI) need to improve and consolidate agricultural research facilities, and develop effective and collaborative partnerships, including more collocations with Universities.
In 2005, the Victorian Government committed funds to facilitate the establishment of a centre to collocate DPI’s strengths in plant and animal disease research and diagnostic capabilities with DPI’s internationally recognised plant and animal genetics and genomics groups.
Discussions commenced with La Trobe University (La Trobe) regarding collocation and collaborative opportunities at the University’s Melbourne campus in Bundoora. In December 2007, the Victorian Government and La Trobe signed a Heads of Agreement.
In April 2008, a call was made for registrations of capability to deliver the project. Following evaluation, a request for proposal (RFP) was made to three shortlisted consortia.
RFP’s closed in December 2008, and following an extensive evaluation and negotiation process, the Plenary Research consortium was appointed the successful tenderer, with contractual close achieved on 30 April 2009, and financial close on 14 May 2009. The project achieved financial close during an unprecedented period in financial markets, a procurement process that spanned the worst of the world’s financial crisis.
To enable the procurement of the physical facility itself, the Joint Venture parties created an agent company Biosciences Research Centre Pty Ltd (BRC Co) to contract with a single party (the consortium) to deliver the project. BRC Co was created and registered with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) in September 2008. An independent Chair of the Board, Mr Paul Forward, was appointed in February 2009. The Board consists of three directors nominated by the State, and three directors nominated by La Trobe..