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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Queensland recharges research and education agreement with US science icon

    Premier and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Saturday, February 24, 2018

    Queensland recharges research and education agreement with US science icon

    WASHINGTON DC, USA: The Queensland Government has renewed its special relationship with the one of the world’s leading research establishments, the Smithsonian Institution, continuing a successful Queensland-United States research and education program.

    In Washington as part of a trade and investment mission to the United States, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today signed a further three-year agreement with the famous research conglomerate, cementing the Queensland Government’s commitment to continue supporting the Queensland-Smithsonian and Queensland-Cooper Hewitt fellowships.

    The Premier said the two fellowship programs, which have been running since 2000, provide Queensland researchers and educators with the opportunity to spend time at the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums, nine research centres and more than 140 affiliate museums across the globe.

    “The Smithsonian Institution is an international science icon, with a huge vision for increasing global science literacy and generating public conversations about science,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

    “The Smithsonian Institution plans to reach one billion people globally by 2022 through digitising the more than 15 million items they hold and making them available online."

    Director of Fellowships and Internships at the Smithsonian Institution Eric Woodard said the fellowship programs had generated some very strong ties with Queensland’s research and education communities as well as with the Queensland Government.

    “Queensland has shown remarkable vision in its support for science and STEM education,” Mr Woodard said.

    “Queensland should take great satisfaction in knowing that we cite the Queensland fellowship program so often when talking with other governments from all around the world as an example of something that really works! You all are role models for the globe."

    The Queensland-Smithsonian Fellowships provide up to $25,000 for a Queensland researcher, to support travel and accommodation expenses in the United States.

    The successful recipients undertake research projects in collaboration with scientists and researchers at the Smithsonian Institution museums or research centres.

    The Premier said researchers who had been through the program came back to Queensland with strong links with their counterparts in the USA.

    “Today, science is all about collaboration – scientists working with other scientists, across borders and across disciplines, on common challenges,” the Premier said.

    The Premier said applications for the 2018 Queensland-Smithsonian Fellowship program were open from today (Friday, February 23) and she invited researchers to apply for this ‘opportunity of a lifetime’.

    “For Queensland students, the benefits of having their teacher spend time in what is the world's design capital – New York – is invaluable,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

    Previous Queensland-Smithsonian and Cooper Hewitt recipients have brought back advances in research and design-led education in areas including regional arts, environmental education, taxonomy of fruit fly pests, endangered ferns, fish ecology, mangrove resilience and diversity, arts in science, coding and robotics, curated learning, and design thinking.

    Queensland is the only regional government outside North America and the only government in Australia to have a fellowship agreement with the Smithsonian Institution.

    For more information about the 2018 Queensland-Smithsonian Fellowship program and how to apply, visit

     Queensland’s energy pioneering

    The Premier also announced the Queensland Government has offered the Smithsonian Institution several rare electrical cables called Edison tubes, laid in 1884 and recently unearthed after the demolition of the Executive Building, George Street, Brisbane. The tubes formed the earliest electrical grid to power the city.

    “Queensland is Australia’s energy State.  Queensland was an early adopter of electricity, indeed Thargomindah – a town of a population of 200 – was among the first places in the world power its own electric streetlighting and the Queensland Parliament was the first to have electric lighting,” she said.

    “Queensland continues to lead on electricity.  Through continued public ownership, we have the most stable and secure electricity system in mainland Australia and we are diversifying our electricity mix – to boast 50% renewables by 2030, expand biofuels along with developing LNG and a continued role for coal-fired power generation.”

    The Premier said the Edison tubes were evidence of Queensland’s pioneering approach to electricity and the partnership with the United States, and it would be fitting to celebrate this at the Smithsonian.

    “The only other cities in the world to have similar installations at that time were New York and London, so the equipment has historic significance,” she said.

    Media contact: Kirby Anderson (Premier’s office) +61 417 263 791

    Media note

    Brisbane media have images of the recovery of the tubes on February 6.

    Multimedia including pictures of the Premier meeting with Hal Wallace Curator – Electricity Collectionsand and video of the Premier signing with Scott Miller, Deputy Under Secretary – Science and Collections is available at this link.