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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for State Development, Trade and Innovation
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    $20.2M injection for vital Smart State research

    Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for State Development, Trade and Innovation
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Friday, June 23, 2006

    $20.2M injection for vital Smart State research

    A $20.2 million Queensland Government injection will provide the bricks, mortar and vision to progress vital SmartState research.

    Announcing 11 grants under the Smart State Innovation Funding Program (SSIFP) today, Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for State Development, Trade and Innovation said over $20 million in funding would be used to build new research facilities, develop innovative products and support our talented clinical researchers undertaking important medical research.

    “This Government well understands that a Smart future is a prosperous future, and we’re not afraid to put our money where our mouth is,” the Deputy Premier said.

    “That’s why we are spending $200 million over the next four years on the Smart State Innovation Funding Program, which will build world-class research facilities, attract top-quality scientists to the State and stimulate cutting-edge research projects – all of which will keep Queenslanders and the Queensland economy healthy for generations to come.

    “That funding is, of course, on top of the $3 billion this Government has already invested in innovation, science and research since 1998.”

    Ms Bligh today detailed four projects funded under the $128 million Innovation Building Fund component of SSIFP, including one at the Queensland University of Technology and three at the University of Queensland.

    This is in addition to two projects she announced last week, $9 million for JamesCookUniversity’s state-of-the-art Tropical Science and Innovation Precinct in Townsville and $10 million for a Smart Water Research Facility at GriffithUniversity’s Gold Coast campus.

    She said the University of Queensland had received $6.5 million for cutting-edge equipment for the university’s Bionano-products Development Facility.

    “This equipment will be a first for Australia and will play a critical role in using bio- and nanotechnology to develop new bioproducts including antibodies, vaccines, plastics and tissue regenerative products,” Ms Bligh said.

    “The facility will be housed predominately within UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology and it will complement the Queensland Government’s BioPharmaceuticals Australia initiative, which assists companies to develop drugs for clinical trials.”

    The three final grants awarded through the $60 million Innovation Projects Fund component, will develop healthier and fresher infant food, an intelligent train monitor that will increase rail safety and a high-performance superconducting Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) magnet.

    “Our Innovation Projects Fund links industry with research institutions, to develop cutting-edge projects that will make a real difference to our daily lives.” she said.

    Ms Bligh said Queensland Clinical Research Fellowships had been granted to four outstanding Queensland researchers, whose studies will include the role obesity plays in human liver disease and how to treat drug-resistant tropical infectious diseases.

    Successful Smart State Innovation Funding Program recipients:

    InnovationBuilding Fund

    $6.5 million – Bionano Product Development Facility

    • University of Queensland with partners CRC for Sugar Industry Innovation through Biotechnology, Mater Medical Research Institute, PanBio
    • Facility to focus on developing new bioproducts using bio- and nanotechnologies, including antibodies, vaccines, plastics and tissue regenerative products.
    • Expect social and environmental benefits to include reducing health costs and substituting oil use through renewable plastics
    • Funding to purchase cutting-edge equipment that does not currently exist in Australia.

    $6.1 million – Mineral Characterisation Research Facility

    • University of Queensland with partners, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Anglo Platinum, Xstrata Technology, JKTech, Cytec Industries, Metso Corporation
    • Facility to focus on more efficient extraction of minerals from rocks
    • Research aimed at reliable identification of material characteristics during exploration and processing, novel physical and chemical ways to break rocks, and new flotation reagents to separate minerals and coal from waste
    • Research expected to increase the productivity of Queensland mining, providing a substantial economic benefit
    • Funding to build a new facility, including chemical analysis labs, clean rooms, a water treatment plant and an electronics workshop

    $1.83 million – MedTeQ – Facility for Medical Diagnostic Technologies in Queensland

    • University of Queensland with partners Mater Hospital, Wesley Research Institute, PrinceCharlesHospital, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital
    • MedTeQ to focus on creating the next generation of medical imaging and monitoring systems – combining medical R&D with information technology R&D
    • Will enable new diagnostic technologies to be development and trialled in Queensland hospitals.
    • Expected benefits include improved disease diagnosis, faster treatment delivery for regional patients and more sensitive monitoring of clinical trials
    • Funding to purchase specialist equipment for a new building and the refurbishment of existing facilities

    $3.1 million – Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant

    • Queensland University of Technology with partners Mackay Sugar Cooperative Association, Sugar Research Institute, Orica, CRC for Sugar Industry Innovation through Biotechnology
    • Pilot plant to determine the viability of commercialising products derived from the by-products of sugar cane mills
    • Project aims to help diversify the sugar industry and fast track development and commercialisation
    • Funding will construct the pilot plant and purchase specialised equipment

    Innovation Projects Fund – Research-Industry Partnerships

    $1 million – SPUD

    • Food Spectrum, partnering with Nutricia Australia, University of Queensland and National Centre of Excellence in Functional Foods
    • Project will research and develop a range of highly nutritious functional foods for babies.
    • Baby food to be packaged in convenient, shelf stable multi-packs that conform to the world’s most strict infant food safety regulations
    • Expected benefits include a healthier future population, anew market for Queensland’s fruit and vegetable growers, and the attraction of overseas investment

    $200,000 –Intelligent Train Monitor System

    • CentralQueenslandUniversity, partnering with the rail industry
    • Project to develop an in-cabin, intelligent train monitoring system for coal trains
    • Will provide driver with predictive information about the train’s stability
    • Expected benefits include improved safety, improved wagon life and reduced energy consumption

    Innovation Projects Fund – National & International Research Alliances

    $598,500 – High performance MRI Superconducting Magnets

    • Magnetica Limited
    • Project to develop a high-performance superconducting Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) magnet capable of becoming the heart of a new generation of low-cost, high- performance specialty MRI scanners
    • MRI design to provide a wider imaging area and improved quality of image than current products on the market, at a cheaper cost
    • Funding expected to accelerate the design and development of new full-scale magnet prototypes

    SmartState Health and Medical Research Fund – QLD Clinical Research Fellowships

    $300,000 over 3 years – Treatingdrug-resistant tropical infectious diseases

    • A/Prof James McCarthy, Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital
    • Fellowship to develop new ways to diagnose and treat tropical infectious diseases for which treatments are either not available or inadequate
    • The is a current lack is a lack of information on the distribution and severity of many of these infectious diseases

    $300,000 over 3 years – the role of obesity in human liver disease

    • Dr Elizabeth Powell, PrincessAlexandraHospital
    • Objective to improve the outcome of treatment in overweight patients with liver disease
    • Human subjects to be examined to determine how obesity and fatty liver prevent the liver from responding to injury, disease and inflammation

    $150,000 over 3 years – Inflammatory bowel disease in south-east Queensland

    • Dr Graham Radford-Smith, Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital
    • Fellowship to increase the understanding of the development and genetics of inflammatory bowel disease in South-east Queensland

    $150,000 over 3 years – the role of low leptin levels in early life on later obesity

    • Dr Mark Harris, Mater Children's Hospital
    • Aims to determine whether low levels of leptin induced by under-nutrition in the first weeks of a baby’s life affect the regulation of appetite later in life

    Media Contacts: Deputy Premier’s Office 3224 4379