Science and innovation are critical to Queensland’s future prosperity and delivering better outcomes for our environment, our economy and our people.

At a time of significant change and disruption, we can harness our strengths in science and technology to drive Queensland’s economic future.

The Department of Environment and Science is working across government, the research sector and industry to grow an innovative and thriving science sector that has the scale, quality and diversity to deliver real-world impact.

We’re continuing to harness our strengths and capabilities by retaining and attracting research talent, developing leading-edge research infrastructure and growing national and international industry and research partnerships.

We’re helping to grow Queensland’s economy, businesses, exports and jobs by diversifying and building the knowledge-based industries of the future.

Our ‘Science into Industry’ innovations will make Queensland science more competitive by accelerating the commercialisation of university research and development and linking university partners with industry to build new products and services.

We’re actively bringing science into our communities through a range of programs that encourage Queenslanders to get involved in STEM education, science events and citizen science activities.

The Queensland Government is in this for the long term, having invested strongly in research and science for more than 20 years.

Queensland Government Science strategic investment framework

The Queensland Government is investing in our scientific excellence and capability to advance the wellbeing of Queenslanders and to drive a sustainable and thriving economy.

The strategic investment framework is based on four key pillars:

  • Partnerships between industry, research and government that translate research into real world solutions and support jobs growth
    • support industry and research collaboration projects
    • work with industry and the research sector to deliver high quality government outcomes
    • take precinct approach to collaborations
    • connect Queensland science to the rest of Australia and the world
  • Leading edge research and translational infrastructure
    • support infrastructure that aligns with Queensland’s priorities
    • leverage Federal funding for research infrastructure
    • support strategic sharing and use of research infrastructure
    • attract philanthropic funding
  • Talented scientists and researchers
    • attract and retain the best talent in the world
    • support talented researchers’ pathways to industry
    • increase the diversity and inclusiveness of science and research in Queensland
    • recognise and reward outstanding talent
  • A community engaged in science
    • engage Queenslanders of all ages in science
    • inspire young people to study science
    • promote Queensland’s research capability

Queensland Government Science investment

Research and development expenditure $444m

Each year the Queensland Government reports on its research and development (R&D) expenditure. Around $444 million was spent on R&D in 2020–21 which included capital and current expenditure.

Investment funding $186.9m

The Queensland Government’s Science investment includes 2022–23 financial year, multi-year and ongoing committed funding.

Partnerships between industry, research and government that translate research into real world solutions and support jobs growth

  • Total funding $62.28m
    • $17m over four years to support Science into Industry innovations with the aim of accelerating the commercialisation of university research and development by:
      • supporting hubs that will link industry with university partners to build new products
      • delivering a science industry co-investment fund
      • supporting improved regional university commercialisation.
    • $10.7m over five years towards the Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan which includes:
      • $5m towards research to better define Queensland's new economy minerals potential
      • $5.7m towards expanding Mackay’s Resources Centre of Excellence—funding a new future industries development hub.
    • $8.7m in 2022–23 for the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation—a collaborative initiative with University of Queensland to find solutions to key agricultural industry challenges.
    • $7.7m over four years towards ARM (Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing) Hub—linking industry and research institutions to assist Queensland manufacturers transform, grow and accelerate industry’s digital transformation.
    • $5m towards the Queensland Artificial Intelligence Hub—helping to build our AI capabilities and global connections, create jobs and keep talented people in Queensland.

Partnerships between industry, research and government (continued)

  • $4m over four years to deliver a Circular Economy hub—building research alliances with industry to drive innovations in circular economy and build businesses that will provide jobs in the circular economy.
  • $3m over three years for the AgTech and Logistics Hub—transforming Queensland’s agricultural sector by facilitating connections, collaboration, partnerships, and opportunities to solve the industry’s biggest challenges.
  • $3m over four years towards the Queensland Earth Observation Hub, a joint initiative with SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre—aiming to accelerate the growth of Queensland and Australia’s Earth observation industry by supporting commercialisation of research, and EO product and service development.
  • $1.5m over four years towards the Queensland Defence Science Alliance—a state-based portal established to facilitate and strengthen connections and collaborations between Queensland universities, government and the defence industry.
  • $1.1m in 2022–23 for the Broad Acre Cropping Initiative—a collaboration with University of Southern Queensland to deliver research in wheat and summer grain pathology, agricultural systems modelling, agricultural engineering and winter crop nematology.
  • $578,000 in 2022–23 towards the Forestry Research Program which includes collaborative project with University of Sunshine Coast to study pre-harvest forestry initiatives; and funding for the Centre for Future Timber Structures—collaborating with University of Queensland to address issues inhibiting the widespread adoption of massive timber construction in medium-to-high-rise construction.

Case study: Delivering innovative solutions through collaboration

Built out of research conducted at QUT and using funding from the Queensland Government, clean technology company, BlockTexx, is tackling real-world problems by finding new value for textile waste.

Based in Logan in South East Queensland, BlockTexx is the first textile recycling plant capable of separating and recycling blends of cotton and polyester fibres on a large scale.

BlockTexx is a success story of scientific commercialisation turning textile waste into a resource, stimulating the production of new products, and meeting consumer demands to reduce the environmental impact of our everyday clothing.

The company plans to recycle more than 50,000 tonnes of recycled textiles over the coming four years—material that might otherwise have ended up in landfill.

Case study: Queensland scientists have worldwide influence

In 2021, distinguished Professor Lidia Morawska, an international air quality expert, was named in the TIME100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

The list recognises the impact, innovation and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Professor Morawska has been at the forefront of a group of international experts who in 2020 alerted the world to the importance of airborne transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.

Professor Morawska led a group of almost 40 researchers from 14 countries calling in the journal Science for a “paradigm shift” in combating airborne pathogens including COVID-19 and in general for clean indoor air—a ventilation revolution.

Leading edge research infrastructure

  • Total funding $116.7m
    • $60m for Translational Manufacturing at Translational Research Institute (TRI)—a new medical manufacturing facility to be built in Brisbane, equipped to produce promising drugs and vaccines for clinical trials resulting from the research program at TRI and other research facilities.
    • $26.7m investment since 2019 for the National Research Infrastructure facilities at Queensland universities. The Research Infrastructure Co-investment Fund attracts critical co-investment with existing or planned Queensland operations under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy.
      In addition, continued funding will be provided to continue the Research Infrastructure Co-investment Fund under the Advance Queensland Innovation for a Future Economy 2022–2032 Roadmap. Access to innovative infrastructure supports high-quality research that ensures our scientists are world-leading.
    • $15m to support the National Battery Testing Centre. This funding is expected to leverage as much as $35m in university and industry investment which will help grow it to be a world-class facility.
    • $15m over three years towards the Queensland Innovation Precincts and Places Strategy to generate highly connected, engaged and collaborative innovation places that bring together people and infrastructure to generate world leading impacts and solutions to our biggest challenges and deliver benefits for all of Queensland.

A new 150-bed Queensland Cancer Centre within the Herston Health Precinct will provide access to a multidisciplinary team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, nurses, and allied health professionals. It will also include a full range of research, education and training facilities which will support continued and strengthened partnerships with the University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.

Supporting research talent

  • Total funding $40,000
    • $40,000 in 2022–23 for the Queensland Women in STEM Prize, which honours the valuable contribution of Queensland women working in STEM careers.

The Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships program supports researchers partnering with industry to complete original research that will have a positive impact on Queensland. Funding for this program is provided as part of the $142 million Advance Queensland – Innovation for a Future Economy 2022–2032 roadmap.

A community engaged in science

  • Total funding $4.81m
    • $2m since 2016–17 towards Engaging Science Grants—increasing public participation in Queensland scientific research and STEM-based (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) engagement events and activities.
    • $1.4m for the Queensland Youth Research Grants Program—funding research projects by young people into youth-led issues at each of Queensland’s seven universities.
      NB: This program was funded in 2021–22 but continues to be delivered in 2022–23.
    • $1.2m since 2018–19 towards Citizen Science Grants—supporting scientists, organisations, and community groups to conduct citizen science projects that tackle important issues in Queensland.
    • $210,000 since 2021–22 towards the Partner Up Queensland Regional Science and Innovation network—increasing capabilities and engagement in science and innovation throughout the state.

International investment and collaboration

The Queensland Government recognises that international research collaboration can increase the relevance, quality and impact of local research.

International partnerships provide our researchers with opportunities to collaborate with some of the world's largest investors in research and development, and provide access to knowledge, facilities and research funding not available in Australia.

We continue to strongly support international research partnerships that contribute to human health, economic recovery, and a sustainable environment.

International investment and collaboration

  • Total funding $3.1m
    • $2.8m since 2012 for the Queensland–China Academy of Sciences Collaborative Science Fund—supporting Queensland research organisations to develop practical and applied collaborative science and research projects with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
    • $77,000 in 2022–23 towards the Queensland Smithsonian Fellowships Program—funding fellows from Queensland’s research, education and cultural sectors to visit and complete a project at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.
    • $219,000 since 2008 towards the Queensland-Cooper Hewitt Fellowships Program—enabling a Queensland school teacher to visit the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York to gain experience in classroom, community, and online strategies for delivering quality design education.

New opportunities

  • A Joint Declaration of Intent for Cooperation was signed with the German Ministry of Education and Research to support collaborative research on topics related to developing a stronger bioeconomy. A new co-funding program is proposed under the agreement to allow Queensland researchers to work more closely with German partners to access new knowledge and supply chains in bioeconomy-related topics that help strengthen our state's climate action credentials.
  • Study Queensland in Trade and Investment Queensland has created Director Research Partnerships roles in India, North America, Japan, and Germany—connecting government, corporate and philanthropic clients in-market with Queensland's world-class research capability and expertise. These Directors will work closely within and across Queensland's research and innovation ecosystem to facilitate increased investment in Queensland R&D from their source markets.