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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrective Services
    The Honourable Bill Byrne
    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Research funding to help innovate disaster management

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrective Services
    The Honourable Bill Byrne

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Wednesday, April 20, 2016

    Research funding to help innovate disaster management

    The Queensland Government is funding development of a range of disaster management innovations, including ‘Star Wars’ type bomb detection technology to help combat terror.

    The recipients are among 54 statewide to share in $10 million of first round funding under the Advance Queensland PhD Scholarships and Research Fellowships programs

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch today announced funding awarded to four scientists to develop innovative approaches to disaster management for Queensland.

    “We’ve selected projects which address areas of specific concern for Queenslanders, such as beach erosion, severe storms and wildfires and the threat of terror,” Ms Enoch said.

    “Funding recipients are required to work with an industry partner on innovative projects with the potential to create jobs, and deliver economic and social benefits to Queensland.”

    Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services Bill Byrne said continued research into improved methods to protect Queenslanders was imperative.

    “If we are serious about keeping Queenslanders safe, it is important to provide the agencies charged with the protection with the best possible tools to do so,” Mr Byrne said.

    “Today I am pleased to announce funding through an Advance Queensland Research Fellowship to Dr Paul Shaw from The University of Queensland’s (UQ’s) School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, to develop a novel approach for the detection of hidden explosives and improvised explosive devices.”

    Dr Shaw’s research will focus on improving the sensitivity of materials which detect the trace vapours emitted by explosive substances. This material can be used in portable and highly effective bomb ‘sniffing’ devices with the potential to save lives.

    “Vapour-based detection of explosives is the ‘Holy Grail’ of threat detection as it greatly simplifies sampling with the potential to detect explosives from a distance,” Dr Shaw said.

    “What we need to do is make the vapour-sensing material in our portable detection devices as sensitive as possible to give our police officers, security and military personnel the best possible chance of detecting explosives without the need for close contact at first.

    “It will also mean that our brave canine bomb detectors – up to now the most effective bomb ‘sniffing’ technology available – can be kept out of harm’s way too.”

    The Queensland Government is also funding a Research Fellowship worth $180,000 over three years to James Cook University researcher, Dr Daniel Smith, who will develop the prototype for a smart phone application to help home owners prepare for severe weather events.

    Ms Enoch said in any given year Queenslanders might be subject to a range of natural disasters – including cyclones, dangerous storms, rain depressions, flooding and bushfires.

    “These events can be extremely destructive and their effects can be felt long after the clean-up,” she said.

    “If we can find a way to help homeowners prepare before the winds hit, or we can get better at predicting the severity of a bushfire, then we have a better chance of savings lives, protecting property and reducing insurance costs in the long term.”

    “One way we can strengthen the resilience of our communities is by getting people to make good decisions about the best way to protect their homes and property ahead of a weather event,” she said.

    Working in collaboration with a leading insurer, Dr Smith will develop the alpha version of an app to help homeowners assess and undertake wind-resistant retrofits to reduce the risk of catastrophic damage or injury during a cyclone or severe storm.

    Other researchers to receive Advance Queensland funding include:

    • Dr Darrell Strauss from Griffith University, who has been awarded a Research Fellowship, $300,000 over three years, to develop an efficient way to protect shorelines against beach erosion by pumping sand into nearshore zones.
    • Mr Nicholas McCarthy from UQ has been awarded a PhD Scholarship, $45,000 over three years, to develop a better understanding of pyro-convection and its dangerous effect on bushfires in Australia.

    Read more about the Advance Queensland Research Fellowships and PhD Scholarships recipients on the Advance Queensland website.

     

    Media contact: Daniel Lato (Minister Enoch) 0438 830 201

                           Minsiter Byrne 0478 325 738