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    Premier & Trade
    The Honourable Peter Beattie

    New fellowship scheme reverses the brain drain

    Premier & Trade
    The Honourable Peter Beattie

    Wednesday, July 07, 2004

    New fellowship scheme reverses the brain drain

    Leading Australian academics and professionals will be lured back from their overseas positions for part of the year to share their expertise with Queensland universities and schools under a new Smart State fellowship scheme.

    Premier Peter Beattie and Minister for Education and the Arts Anna Bligh today launched the Queensland Government "Smart Returns" Fellowship scheme at the Queensland University of Technology Gardens Point Campus.

    Under the scheme, distinguished Australian university alumni and Australians who are leaders in their field will be invited to Queensland for up to three months to share the knowledge they have gained during their experiences abroad.

    Mr Beattie said the "Smart Returns" Fellowship scheme would expose Queensland university and school students to some of Australia's leading thinkers, who are currently living abroad.

    "Through this scheme Australians who have been part of the 'brain drain' will be able to share the research, experience and training they have obtained overseas with Queensland universities and students," Mr Beattie said.

    "Bringing Queensland's best and brightest university and school students into contact with high achievers whose careers have taken them abroad will serve to enlighten their studies, fire their imagination and broaden their thinking.

    "Not only will our state benefit from the injection of new ideas and the establishment of international links with Australians overseas, but the fellowship recipients will also have the satisfaction of knowing they have given something back to their home country."

    Fellowships of up to $40,000 will be awarded, with the State Government contributing a third of the cost and the host university providing the remainder. The State Government contribution will be jointly funded through the Departments of Education and the Arts and Premier and Cabinet.

    Up to nine fellowships - one at each of Queensland's nine universities - will be available each year between 2005 and 2007.

    The establishment of the fellowship scheme followed a meeting between Education Minister Anna Bligh and well-known Australian expatriate Dr Bryan Gaensler in the United States in May.

    Dr Gaensler, who is Assistant Professor in the Department of Astronomy at Harvard University and the 1999 Young Australian of the Year, is involved in a similar program through his alma mater, the University of Sydney.

    Ms Bligh said the "Smart Returns" Fellowships would be offered through a system of visiting professorial appointments to Queensland's nine universities.

    "Australians who have achieved distinction in their chosen fields will be eligible to apply for a fellowship," she said.

    "Fellowship recipients will be expected to participate in a variety of activities such as university lectures, workshops, collaborative research activities and master classes in a higher education setting.

    "They would also be required to participate in school visits and teaching sessions and at least one public lecture.

    "This scheme will build on links between Queensland's universities and the wider international community of scholars and ensure our young people are exposed to the type of thinking that will see them also succeed on an international scale."

    Media contacts: Premier's Office, Steve Rous 3224 4500 Minister's Office, Shari Armistead 3235 4593