CQU Gladstone partnering up on STEM for regional Queensland

05 May 2022

CQUniversity has been announced as the Gladstone-based hub provider of the new Queensland Government Partner-Up Queensland Regional Science & Innovation Network (The Network).

The Queensland Chief Scientist' Professor High Possingham was on hand to launch the Network which will be hosted at CQUniversity's Gladstone Marina campus' with support from 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 University's Coastal Marine Ecosystem Research Centre (CMERC).

The Network is a state-wide initiative of the Department of Environment and Science to increase opportunities for Queenslanders to engage with science and innovation in meaningful ways.

Regional Network Hubs will facilitate and deliver on-the-ground science and innovation engagement activities which address specific regional aspirations and priorities and aim to connect government' researchers' science and innovation professionals' industry experts' local businesses' and education organisations.
This transformational network aims to support skill development' capacity and networks that create an innovative' sustainable and resilient growth and development for the science sector and innovation economy throughout Queensland' with an intention to enhance business' research and industry impact and facilitate science and innovation engagement across Queensland to meet the changing scientific and innovation needs of communities.
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.
"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.
"CQUniversity's partnerships with external groups are designed to ensure that we have visibility about community and industry needs and the skills' infrastructure and innovation required to address those needs.
"Our goal is to undertake activities that build an economically and environmentally sustainable future that enriches our communities'" said Mr Sinclair.
Mr Sinclair also said that there are numerous expected benefits of this project to the Gladstone region.
"Our region has a large industry base and is situated at the Southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. The convergence of these features provides unique opportunities for skill development in the science sectors and innovation economy which align with sustainable growth for the benefit of the region's biodiversity.
"This initiative also has the potential to connect stakeholders who can collaborate on projects related to burgeoning regional opportunities such as hydrogen and clean energy' the manufacturing sector' environmental sciences' and engineering."

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 per cent 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."
The Gladstone Network has now been established in Gladstone with a hub coordinator recently appointed to manage all community and industry engagements.
For more information on connecting with the Network please contact Hub Coordinator Dr Cal Devney on 07 4970 7241 or c.devney@cqu.edu.au.