The University is transforming the former Royal Women’s Hospital site into a globally recognised innovation precinct – working in partnership with the State Government of Victoria, the City of Melbourne and the private sector.

Innovation precincts are environments where people from different disciplines and different organisations work closely together in a creative and entrepreneurial way. The precinct will tackle major societal challenges, such as food security, changing technologies and urbanisation.

The innovation precinct builds on the achievements of LAB-14, the highly successful prototype which has been operating for the last two-and-a-half years. It will provide a home for technology focused organisations, cutting edge research and next-generation startups that will significantly benefit the Australian economy and society.

In addition, the precinct will include retail, indoor and outdoor public spaces, student accommodation, offices and a childcare centre. Science Gallery Melbourne will also be a signature destination, inviting young learners to creatively explore the collisions between art and science.


Our Campus in the 21st century (OC21) was developed by the University community in a series of workshops that explored the qualities wanted across all campuses and precincts. It is the formal response to the University of Melbourne’s strategic plan Growing Esteem and is integral to how the University will plan for the future, and to developing high-quality campus-based experiences for diverse communities.

The Carlton Connect Initiative will support our campus in the 21st century through the following:


The general public will be invited to a vast program of public events, including festivals, talks and exhibitions at the precinct. Over the last two-and-a-half years, LAB-14 – which has served as the highly successfully prototype of the precinct – hosted hundreds of events, seminars, hackathons, exhibitions and meetings, bringing over 40,000 visitors to the precinct.

Science Gallery Melbourne will be a signature destination within the precinct, inviting young learners into the Australian node of Science Gallery International Network.


The Royal Women’s Hospital site has a strong social heritage and a narrative of pioneering medical procedures and care provided by women and health professionals. This history will continue to inspire future leaders.

Over the next few years, the University of Melbourne will be transforming the development of the Royal Women’s hospital site into a light filled, vibrant innovation precinct to meet the highest standards in design and sustainability – one of a kind in Australia.

Connect with us

For more information on site development updates, please visit the Carlton Connect website.


The University of Melbourne commenced remediation and site enabling works, as part of the redevelopment of the former Royal Women’s Hospital site, in April 2015. The works, plus other minor enabling works, were completed in late 2016.

In 2016 the University of Melbourne also announced a shortlist of three respondents to its Expression of Interest (EOI) for the development of the next stage of the innovation precinct. The University is currently working through the tender process and will make an announcement on the successful bid in late 2017.

The proposed adaptive reuse of the existing Central Tower had involved a height increase to the building, however, the State Government has since put in planning controls that require a lower building height for medical helicopters flight path purposes. As a result, infrastructure experts have advised on a new master plan for the site, which would offer better design outcomes at a lower cost than the adaptive reuse of the Central Tower, which will now be demolished.