When International Society for Biofabrication president James Yoo returned to Wollongong after 10 years for the announcement of a global ISBF conference in the city in 2020 the first thing he noticed was how far University of Wollongong's Innovation Campus has come.
Mr Yoo also spoke of how much he is looking forward to returning for the global conference next September.
ISBF is a scientific and professional society that promotes advances in biofabrication research, development, education, training and medical and clinical applications.
Each year it holds an international conference attended by 500 participants from 20 countries. But 2020 event will be the first in Australia.
Intelligent Polymer Research Institute's professor Gordon Wallace said researchers at UOW often took knowledge accrued in Wollongong to the rest of the world by attending significant global events.
"But it is only every now and then that we get to bring the rest of world to Wollongong".
"This is the third really significant event we have brought to Wollongong after the Synthetic Metals conference and a nanotechnology conference.
"But to me this is by far the most exciting because we are bringing Biofab 2020 to Wollongong at a time when practical applications are about to be realised".
Prof Wallace said biofabrication will solve real medical challenges around the world and Wollongong is well placed to take advantage of that and make a significant contribution.
"Biofab 2020 will bring together scientists. engineers, clinicians, regulators and entrepreneurs to explore the best ways to take the most recent discoveries in biomaterials, stem-cell technologies and advanced fabrication and deliver clinical solutions to really important problems".
They include cartilage and bone regeneration, nerve and muscle regeneration, the ability to fix a lens in the eye and treat diabetes.
"These are real global challenges and they need to bring together the best minds in the world to deliver solutions of real impact. And that is what BioFab 2020 will help us do".
Community events will be held around the conference as well as opportunities for the next generation of researchers to engage in a city that leads the world in the education of research and training in biofabrication.
UOW vice-chancellor Paul Wellings said it was important to be positioned in the space around the translation in biofabrication, supported by the training and research at the university.
"We wouldn't be able to do that if we had not had a 25 year journey with the Australian Institute of Innovative Materials and support from governments," Prof Wellings said.
"It has allowed us to have the platform to host these events in the future. AIIM of course is a world class facility with research connections all over the world".