UNSW's Faculty of Engineering has launched a world-class research facility focused on the development of a new generation of implantable bionic devices for the human body.

The Centre for Implantable Bionics, which has initial funding of $400,000 from the NSW Government and philanthropic donors, was opened by NSW Minister for Science and Medical Research Verity Firth, who said the centre had the potential to make an enormous difference in people's lives.

"Bionics brings together biology and engineering to create electronic devices that can either replace or support malfunctioning body parts in patients," Ms Firth said.

"This is about investing in not only a healthier community but a more innovative economy."

The new centre is located in the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering. Research efforts will include the commercialisation of a bionic eye, refined bionic hearing devices and artificial heart technologies, and development of electronic stimulation technology which could restore movement to the limbs of people who have suffered paralysis.

UNSW Vice-Chancellor, Professor Fred Hilmer, welcomed the NSW Government's $200,000 contribution to help establish the Centre for Implantable Bionics.

"This new Centre represents an important collaboration between government, the research community, industry and philanthropic donors and underscores the importance of developing solutions to debilitating impairments," Professor Hilmer said.

UNSW Dean of Engineering, Professor Graham Davies, said bionic implants and prosthetics are now an integral part of health treatment.

"This centre will ensure that UNSW and Australia will be at the forefront of this new technology," he said.

Centre co-director, Associate Professor Gregg Suaning, said the new facility, which includes a cell lab, fabrication lab, clean room and video conferencing capabilities, provides a platform for UNSW researchers to do "extraordinary things in bionics".

A new research chair, the Paul M Trainor Chair in Biomedical Engineering, will be affiliated with the Centre and an international search is currently under way for the inaugural holder of the position.

Media Contact: Peter Trute | 02 9385 1933 | 0410 271 826 | p.trute@unsw.edu.au