The University of Queensland has welcomed the focus on people in the next stage of the Smart State Strategy, announced at UQ today by the Premier, Anna Bligh.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield said the next phase’s emphasis on support for researchers would help consolidate Queensland’s burgeoning research community, which a decade of Smart State policies has energised and transformed.
“The first ten years of Queensland Government Smart State investments have catalysed developments in research that would otherwise have taken decades to achieve,” Professor Greenfield said.
“The concept of ‘critical mass’ in our research community, particularly in areas such as medical science, biotechnology and nanotechnology has shifted from ideal to reality in the past decade.
“By trebling support for scholarships, fellowships and other grants to individual researchers, the strategy will enhance Queensland’s attractiveness as a destination for researchers at various stages of their careers.
“UQ has been a partner in Smart State since day one and has consistently matched government funding and secured additional support from industry, Commonwealth agencies and other organisations.
“The University now looks forward to a continuing role in building Queensland’s international reputation as a place that values and encourages discovery, particularly in fields that may improve human and environmental health and wellbeing,” Professor Greenfield said.
UQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor David Siddle, said the announcement signalled that the government listened to advice about the need to back up its foundation investments in infrastructure with support to attract and retain high-quality people.
“UQ has been a major beneficiary of infrastructure funding, including for buildings, laboratories and items of equipment that are accessible to researchers from other institutions around Australia and the world,” Professor Siddle said.
“The government has already made significant contributions to researchers, and the new focus shows an appreciation that excellent researchers are a blue chip investment prospect.”
Professor Siddle said UQ researchers and students had achieved significant rewards from Smart State fellowships and scholarships. For example all three holders of Smart State Premier’s Fellowships (the top Queensland Government prize for research) are UQ staff.
Smart State-funded physical assets that are either complete or underway at UQ include the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, the Sustainable Minerals Institute, the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the Queensland Brain Institute, the UQ Centre for Clinical Research, the Pharmacy Australia Centre of Excellence, and the Queensland Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Network. UQ’s Diamantina Institute for Cancer, Immunology and Metabolic Medicine is key to the planned Translational Research Institute. Most of these projects also have significant funds from The Atlantic Philanthropies and some have Australian Government support.
UQ also hosted the launch of the second stage of Smart State, by former Premier Peter Beattie in April 2005.
Media contact: Fiona Kennedy 07 3365 6060