HomeNewsEducationQUT builds on relationship with Bundaberg Region

QUT builds on relationship with Bundaberg Region

QUT Bundaberg Region
QUT Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Rowena Barrett will be in Bundaberg next week to support high school student participating in the Mayor's Telstra Innovation Awards.

The Bundaberg Region is continuing to form a strong relationship with the Queensland University of Technology, with a number of upcoming entrepreneurial experiences available to students.

QUT Pro Vice-Chancellor (Entrepreneurship) Professor Rowena Barrett will visit the region next week to cheer on students and schools participating in the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards.

In a separate initiative, the university has also partnered with Bundaberg Ginger Beer.

The local business is funding a new Budding Entrepreneur Scholarship in 2025 for an incoming Bundaberg QUT student.

Professor Barrett said there were many entrepreneurial opportunities in the local region, particularly related to agriculture and AgTech as well as community development and environmental management.

“Entrepreneurial role models across the region – like Bundaberg Brewed Drinks – have been on an expansion path but have led with robotics and automation in their business,” Professor Barrett said.

“The Mayor's Telstra Innovation [Awards] is a great opportunity for teams of students in the region to develop their entrepreneurial muscle.

“One hundred and forty students from the Bundaberg postcode are currently enrolled at QUT, with many more hailing from across the Bundaberg Region.

“A significant number of placement students head to the Bundaberg Region and on graduation choose to grow their careers in Bundaberg and the surrounding Wide Bay-Burnett Region.

“QUT is proud to support regional innovation and this memorandum of understanding with Bundaberg Regional Council shows how we can work together to create value for community, environment and economy.”

Encouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs

Bundaberg Region Mayor Helen Blackburn said Council was proud to support young minds through the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards.

“As locals we know that great things happen in Bundaberg,” Mayor Blackburn said.

“From leading manufacturing and agricultural technology to one of our original innovators Bert Hinkler, the Bundaberg Region has become world renowned on many fronts.

“The Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards is a fantastic opportunity to encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

Local students are already hard at work developing their concepts for the 2024 awards and working with local mentors and industry experts ahead of the final pitch of their presentations to judges on 18 June.

The CEO of Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, John McLean said the collaboration with QUT was an exciting opportunity to support the next generation of entrepreneurs.

“Bundaberg Brewed Drinks have been the beneficiaries of the advice, services and support of so many people across our region over the past 55 years,” Mr McLean said.

“This Entrepreneurship Scholarship is a chance for our family to continue to invest and give back to our community.”

The Mayor's Telstra Innovation Awards final pitch and presentation night will be held on Tuesday 18 June.

More information can be found here.

AgTech projects focus on local research

QUT has also funded two Masters scholarships to work on AgTech projects in the Bundaberg Region.

Associate Professor Caroline Hauxwell and Dr Brett Williams from the QUT School of Biology and Environmental Science will supervise master’s student Edward Bryans on a project in which he will collaborate directly on research around Bundaberg and Central Queensland with the companies Applied Horticultural Research (AHR) and DFL Seeds.

Professor Hauxwell said the project would address the multi-billion-dollar problem of pasture mealybugs and ‘pasture dieback’ as part of a major research project co-funded by QUT and Meat and Livestock Australia.

“Edward’s work will investigate the benefits of legumes in pasture mixtures in reducing the severity of the pasture dieback mealybug and in improving beneficial soil microbiota in replicated field trials established by AHR and DLF Seeds,” Professor Hauxwell said.

“Master’s student Edward Bryans grew up and was educated in Bundaberg before completing his Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biology, at QUT.

“His family still lives in Bundaberg.”

Dr James Strong from the QUT School of Biology and Environmental Science will supervise master’s student Hashini Jayathunga Wahalathanthrige on a study that will assess the growth of various fungal strains in liquid media and on agricultural residues.

Dr Strong said following mushroom and mycelia production, their protein content, antioxidants, phenolics and beta-glucans will be extracted, analysed and assessed for their technical feasibility for use in health supplements or ready-made foods.

“This project overlaps with our regional industry partner research for both Kenon Mushrooms and AustChilli,” Dr Strong said.

Dr Strong will accompany Professor Barrett on her visit to Bundaberg.

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