Indian research priorities can be matched with Queensland research proficiencies and capabilities, particularly in food and agriculture, clean energy, nanotechnology, environment science (marine, climate), biomedical devices and implants, and health (vaccine, personalised medicine). These research strengths match the priorities of the Australia–India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF)—Australia’s largest fund dedicated to bilateral science collaboration.
Below are just a few examples of how Queensland research institutions are working to address current and emerging research priorities:
- Revolutionary alternative to chemical fungicides—non-toxic and safe, the high-tech BioClay™ spray uses degradable clay particles that carry double-stranded RNA which enters the plant and protects it from pests such as the globally significant whitefly, without altering the plant’s genome. Developed by The University of Queensland, BioClay is now being trialled with industry on farms around the country.
- Improving productivity with farm automation—The University of Southern Queensland has partnered with John Deere to successfully develop the next generation of precision agricultural technologies. The vision-based precision spray technology See & Spray™ has the potential to delivery positive and impactful changes for farmers globally.
- Securing global nutrition—The QUT Centre for Tropical Crops and Bioeconomy works on developing more resilient and nutritious tropical crops such as bananas with higher levels of Vitamin A, and chickpeas with more iron. Other crops of note are mungbeans, pigeon peas, rice, sweet sorghum and tropical fruits for Africa and South-east Asia as well as Australia.
- Producing safe and healthy food—Research in nutraceuticals, with a focus on Asia-Pacific food sources such as Kakadu plums, for extending food shelf life (Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation); and functional foods like the Queen Garnett Plum with research showing health benefits for reducing cholesterol and type 2 diabetes (USQ Health and Behavioural Sciences).
- Sustainably sourced energy for emissions-free transportation: re‐use of agricultural residues for energy production by anaerobic digestion the UniSQ Centre for Agricultural Engineering and renewable fuels and engine performance testing at the QUT Central Analytical Research Facility.
- Sustainably sourced energy for mass transport—Hydrogen fuel cells for cars, buses and trucks development by the CSIRO Hydrogen Energy Systems Future Science Platform at the Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies (QCAT). Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are being by the Queensland Government vehicle agency QFleet as part of the Queensland Hydrogen Super Highway initiative under the Queensland Hydrogen Industry Strategy.
- Greenhouse gas neutrality of industry: Contributing to circular economy options for industry, the first large pilot-scale microbial fuel cell stack treating wastewater in Yatala was fuelled using brewery waste in research by the Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology (ACWEB)—a world-class research group specialising in innovative wastewater treatment. This initiative paved the way for turning wastewater into electrical energy, while at the same time removing contaminants in the water.
- Developing biomass-based energy and products—working with industry, QUT researchers have established a unique research and development facility converting sugar cane waste into high-value fuels, chemicals, animal feeds and other bioproducts. Available for use by industry and research partners to develop and demonstrate a wide range of technologies at the pilot scale, this facility is contributing to the Queensland Government’s goal to transform the state into a leading bio-based economy.
- The power of seaweed—The University of Sunshine Coast is working on domesticating new species of algae and seaweed for nitrogen sequestration (to improve waste water quality) as well as opportunities with energy, reduction of methane emission from ruminants, functional foods, and nutraceuticals.
- Protection of boreal and temperate primary forests—The Griffith Climate Action Beacon is working with the Frankfurt Zoological Society to help protect of the world's remaining boreal and temperate primary forests.
- mRNA vaccine development—Queensland will become a global mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) vaccine hub with leading healthcare company, Sanofi, partnering with the Queensland Government, The University of Queensland and Griffith University to establish a world-first research centre. The AUD$280 million Translational Science Hub, to be established in Brisbane, will connect Queensland scientists with the teams at Sanofi’s mRNA Centre of Excellence in the US and France.
- Intelligent robotics—The QUT Centre for Biomedical Technologies, the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and the University of Adelaide recently collaborated on developing a new class of intelligent robotic imaging system for keyhole surgeries. The project was funded by the Australia–India Strategic Research Fund.
- Natural assets—our marine and terrestrial biodiversity offer exceptional opportunities to discover new and useful compounds. Researchers from the Institute for Molecular Biosciences at The University of Queensland have found that funnel-web spider venom could protect stroke victims from further brain damage. The same venom could also prevent damage caused by a heart attack and extend the life of donor hearts used for organ transplants.