The Queensland Government will invest more than $1.9 million in Advance Queensland funding for agricultural innovation over to help farmers and graziers achieve better yields and compete globally.
Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch announced the successful first round recipients of Advance Queensland Research Fellowships and PhD Scholarships.
Nine of the 54 successful first round recipients to share in $10 million will lead agricultural research projects ranging from the production of better animal feedstocks to improving water quality for crop irrigation.
“The projects we have selected for funding offer our farmers and graziers the best potential for efficiency gains across the board – from improvements in the availability of water resources to technology for drying fruit and vegetables for export,” Ms Enoch said.
“Queensland’s proximity to Asia means we are ideally placed to take advantage of growing food markets in this region, but to do this we need to maintain our competitive advantage through ag-tech innovation.
“This type of innovation is precisely what we are targeting through our Advance Queensland funding program for Research Fellows and PhD Scholars.
“All recipients are required to work in collaboration with industry partners to ensure their research can be translated into commercial outcomes which deliver the maximum economic and social benefits to Queensland.”
Agriculture Minister Leanne Donaldson praised the efficiency of Queensland’s primary producers, and emphasised the benefit of collaboration between researchers and industry participants to drive innovation within the sector.
“It is a key objective of the Advance Queensland Initiative to build enduring partnerships between our world-class researchers and research institutions and key industry participants who will be catalysts for change within the sector,” Ms Donaldson said.
“Dr Mariam Darestani from Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering, for example, has accepted a Research Fellowship worth $180,000 over three years.
“She will develop a novel irrigation system where a semi-permeable membrane in the pipe removes salt and other impurities from water and this will allow farmers to irrigate crops using salty water and the salt won’t pass through the membrane.
“We’ve also awarded a Research Fellowship worth $300,000 over three years to Dr Alice Hayward from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation’s Mitter Laboratory at The University of Queensland (UQ).
“Dr Hayward will be developing a higher yield propagation technique for woody crops like avocado aimed at producing higher performing, genetically superior trees. It will improve efficiencies in the production pipeline and result in higher returns for the farmer and ultimately lower costs of avocadoes for the consumer.”
Further Research Fellowships included:
- Dr Paul Luckman from UQ has been awarded an $180,000 research fellowship, over three years, to develop a base material for sugarcane fertiliser that will prevent excess nitrogen from being flushed into Queensland’s waterways.
- Dr Gabriele Netzel from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation has been awarded an $180,000 research fellowship, over three years, to develop a way to inoculate cattle against indospicine accumulation.
- Dr Meihua Yu from the AIBN has been awarded an $180,000 research fellowship, over three years, to engineer a generation of feedstock which does not rely on antibiotics to improve livestock productivity.
- Dr Chengyuan Xu from Central Queensland University has been awarded a research fellowship, $300,000 over three years, to develop a low-cost crop stress alert tool which will help growers optimise their crop productivity.
- Dr Azharul Karim from QUT has been awarded a research fellowship, $300,000 over three years, to develop a microwave assisted, solar drying method for Australian fruit and vegetables.
- Dr Li Li from the AIBN has been awarded a research fellowship, $300,000 over three years, to engineer a type of oral vaccine suitable for poultry and fish to protect them against infectious diseases.
PhD Scholarships awarded included:
- Miss Rebecca Garrad from UQ has been awarded a scholarship, $45,000 over three years, to investigate a natural method for agricultural pest control.