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Advance Queensland research fellowships now open

20 May 2021

Applications are now open for the 2021 Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships as part of the Queensland’s Government’s vision of creating jobs and business opportunities in the future economy.

The fellowships are open to Queensland-based PhD qualified researchers.

An important component of the program is that researchers must secure an industry partner.

This is to ensure the research generated has real-life application, producing new technologies and innovations that have the potential to create jobs, attract investment to the state and position Queensland as a global innovation hot spot.

One of the key considerations is how the fellowships assist the state in dealing with some of our biggest challenges – including water and food security, climate change, environmental sustainability, as well as boosting industry effectiveness, resilience and efficiency.

Since 2016, the Government has awarded $40 million over five rounds for 180 fellowships.

Funded research projects range from looking at how to decrease the amount of plastic ending up in landfill to developing a more accurate diagnostic test for prostate cancer to improving the extraction of metals such as copper and cobalt from mine tailings.

The research projects are closely aligned to the Queensland Government’s economic vision around strengthening the state’s growing industrial sectors in medtech and life sciences, mining technologies, advanced manufacturing, agtech, biofutures, aerospace, digital economy, and circular economy.

Dr Karl Robinson from the Mitter laboratory, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), based at the University of Queensland, received a $300,000 fellowship in 2017.

Dr Robinson’s project aimed to protect Queensland’s horticultural industries against pest infestation and viral diseases using a UQ developed technology called BioClay.

He set out to see if BioClay could be applied as a non-toxic, environmentally sustainable alternative to chemical pesticides for Queensland’s horticultural industry, valued at $2.8 billion per year and employing about 25,000 people.

“My industry partners were global crop protection company NuFarm Australia Ltd and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries,” Dr Robinson said.

“We ran glasshouse and field trials to assess BioClay for controlling aphid and whitefly infestation in cotton, capsicum and cucumbers.

“The trials were promising, opening up the potential for Queensland producers to have a non-toxic, non-genetically modified crop protection product targeting sap-sucking insect pests.”

He is now working to further assess the development of the technology for a range of horticultural crops.

“Without the fellowship, we wouldn’t have progressed as far as we have. This is an innovation coming out of Queensland that could well be a game changer for global agriculture.”

To apply for an Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship, visit Industry Research Fellowships (advance.qld.gov.au).

Applications close at 1pm on Monday 19 July.