New Gladstone hub a catalyst for regional science and innovation
Published Wednesday, 04 May, 2022 at 12:45 PM
Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs
The Honourable Meaghan Scanlon
The Palaszczuk Government has launched the second of three regional science and innovation hubs in Gladstone.
Under the government’s Partner Up Queensland Regional Science and Innovation Network, the hubs aim to provide people living in regional Queensland opportunities for skills development and establish local networks that will drive growth and development in the science sector and innovation economy throughout regional Queensland, jobs and the state’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
Member for Gladstone and Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing Glenn Butcher said the Central Queensland Hub will be led by CQUniversity and will be supported by the Inspiring Australia STEM hub network, the Gladstone Connects team, Gladstone Regional Council, Australia Pacific LNG, Rio Tinto, StartUp Gladstone, Boyne Island Environmental Education Centre and the Coastal Marine Ecosystem Research Centre.
“Led by local science and innovation champions within the community, this is about giving mentoring, networking and collaboration opportunities; the engagement of youth in design, implementation, product pitching and entrepreneurship; and engagement with researchers, technologies experts, business and Indigenous mentors,” Minister Butcher said.
“We really want to see how businesses, research organisations and industry can meet the changing scientific and innovation needs of the community.”
Science Minister Meaghan Scanlon said each regional hub will be provided with funding of up to $70,000 over 12 months to employ a regional coordinator to support events, activities and projects that encourage Queenslanders’ participation and awareness of science and innovation within their region.
In total, three regional hubs will be established - in Gladstone, Toowoomba and Cairns - that will enable individuals and community groups to participate in a range of STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and innovation related activities.
“Science and innovation are helping to drive the Queensland Government’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan – whether that’s through renewable energy, advanced manufacturing or our education and research sector,” Minister Scanlon said.
“Survey results from the 3M State of Science Index show that 9 in 10 Australians back more investment in science.
“The survey results also showed that during the pandemic, nearly two in three Australians thought that scientists and medical professionals are inspiring a new generation to pursue a science-based career.
“Recent research commissioned by the Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist showed that 83% of Queenslanders believe science is critical for the Queensland economy.
“That’s why we’re delivering these hubs, together with major investments like $20 million as part of our flagship Queensland Jobs fund to ramp up the development and manufacture of vaccines.”
Innovation Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the hubs would help to supercharge regional Queensland science and innovation.
“For local entrepreneurs and business leaders, the hubs aim to deliver support and partnerships to identify and develop real-world opportunities,” Minister Hinchliffe said.
“Whether it’s robots, hydrogen or medical technology, we know science and innovation will be critical to building regional Queensland’s industries and jobs of the future.”
Associate Vice-President for the CQU Gladstone Region, Mr Luke Sinclair welcomed the announcement and said that the campus based at the Gladstone Marina was well-placed to deliver the initiative to the local community.
“CQUniversity Australia is a regional university with a national footprint and as a research institution is a benchmark leader in the field of university engagement with community,” Mr Sinclair said.
“We have developed strong relationships with industry and community and look forward to leveraging this to develop and implement new innovations that will benefit Gladstone and other areas in regional Queensland.”
The Partner Up Queensland Regional Science and Innovation Network is a joint initiative of the Department of Environment and Science and the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport.
The network’s Central Queensland Hub launched at CQUniversity’s Gladstone Marina Campus on 3 May 2022.
The Far North Queensland Hub will be launched at the Tropical Innovation Festival in Cairns in June 2022.
Media contact: Francis Dela Cruz - 0420 592 078