With COVID-19 affecting almost all parts of life in Australia over the last 20 months, completing a major engineering and scientific development has come with an additional set of challenges.
But despite the challenges, the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory (SUPL) is on track for completion by the end of 2021.
The latest works at the laboratory will be the first of the kind in the Southern Hemisphere, which include the construction of structural steel and partitions and the installation of plumbing and electrical services.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics director Professor Elisabetta Barberio said researchers are anticipating starting work in the laboratory in 2022.
"The pandemic has caused a lot of unexpected challenges, but it is pleasing to see that the works on the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory are on track to be completed by the end of the year," she said.
"We are looking forward to taking our equipment down into the laboratory and starting to collect data that we hope will help us understand the nature of dark matter.
"It is incredible to think that what was once a cavern will be a fully functioning physics laboratory in just a few months."
Professor Barberio hopes the Centre's research makes an impact on the understanding a significant part of the universe.
"Dark matter constitutes about 85 per cent of our universe, and the Centre aims to carry out ground-breaking research into its nature, playing an important role in our understanding of the universe," she said.
"We are also proud to bring together researchers from around the world to foster the scientific talent of the future," she said.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics provided an update on the construction of the laboratory at the official launch earlier in September.
The launch will celebrate the establishment of the Centre which brings together researchers from the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University, the University of Adelaide, the University of Western Australia, Swinburne University of Technology and the University of Sydney, and international and industry partners.
SUPL will home one of the major experiments in the Centre's search for dark matter and construction of the laboratory by Ballarat's H Troon will be completed by December.
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