Current and previous Fellows

2023 Fellows
Recipient Grant amount Home organisation Project title and outcomes
Dr Maddy McAllister $15,000 Tropical Museum of Queensland Collections without borders: 3D digital applications in museums for outreach

[To be undertaken January – February 2024] Queensland Museum houses the state maritime archaeology collection. As a state museum, it is essential that its artefacts and the shipwrecks they come from have their stories told.

Recently, the iconic HMS Pandora collection underwent a large-scale digitisation project. It involved converting thousands of images, maps, films and field notes from the HMS Pandora archaeological excavations completed during the 1980s-1990s. With over 8000 artefacts plus the newly digitised archive of material including images, maps, films and field notes, the focus is now on bringing these collections to the public.

This project aims to investigate the 3D and digital tools applied by the Smithsonian to bring collections to life, particularly within the scope of online 3D digital models and augmented reality for public engagement. The Fellow will work with the Smithsonian 3D Digitisation Program and the National Museum of America History to develop a pilot project at the Museum of Tropical Queensland on 10 iconic artefacts from the maritime archaeology collection.
Dr Ruari Elkington $15,000 Queensland University of Technology Improving Cultural Heritage Arts Outreach Through New Digital Video Engagement

[To be undertaken April – May 2024] This project aims to engage with the recently launched Smithsonian Open Access collection in which 173-years of staff-created data and over 2.8 million 2D and 3D images have been entered into the public domain through Creative Commons. By engaging with online video creators from outside the Smithsonian and applying well-established video content creation strategies and resourcing, this collection and others will be creatively communicated to new audiences to underscore the value of digital communication methods in engaging the public in cultural heritage preservation. Queensland will benefit directly from this work. The successful strategies that will deliver tangible cultural heritage value to the Smithsonian will be applied to the contexts of State GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives & Museums) institutions such as the Queensland Museum.
2019 Fellows
Recipient Grant amount Home organisation Project title and outcomes
Dr Nathan Waltham $21,250 Griffith University Coastal wetland restoration techniques and evaluation ready for up-scaling.

This fellowship boosted his research capabilities around how to apply statistical models to map key habitats, and approaches to measure water quality improvement following habitat restoration. These skills are important and necessary for Queensland as we advance towards the Reef 2050 vision of a healthy and sustainable reef ecosystem.
2018 Fellows
Recipient Grant amount Home organisation Project title and outcomes
Dr Ravinesh Deo $14,250 University of Southern Queensland Attributing land use/land-cover change influence on hydrological-ecosystem interactions with artificial intelligence

Capabilities were increased in designing AI methods to improve rainfall forecasting; and includes studying land use scenarios and their influence in Queensland's and Australia's dry weather is significant. Ongoing research collaboration between STRI and UniSQ helping to answer questions regarding land use planning, grazing, forests and land cover.

Hosted by: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)
Dr Sanka Subramanian $14,250 University of the Sunshine Coast Using ancient genomics to identify the endangered pure Queensland dingoes

The Fellowship enabled access to the 'ancient genomics' facility at the Centre for Conservation Genomics, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. This is the first study that has recovered an ancient dingo DNA and obtained the genome sequence of it. Hence this is the most important finding of this study that will be of interests to most of the international scientists working on the evolution of canids.
Identification of pure dingoes will help Queensland government to prioritize efforts to protect pure dingoes rather than the dingo-dog hybrids.

Hosted by: Centre for Conservation Genomics, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
Prof Trish FitzSimons $10,500 Griffith University Fabric of War: Digital media facilitation of an online exhibition

This fellowship allowed the digital capture of some of the rich and relevant material culture holdings of the NMAH and to work with the Robert Rosenzweig Centre for History and New Media (Virginia) to present the results in an online, media-rich transnational exhibition. This showcases Queensland as a ‘smart state’, an exciting knowledge economy.

Collaborations continued, with Professor Fitzsimons’s research partner spending time in Queensland (enabled through a Full Bright scholarship). They have co-authored articles and papers, and have done various public presentations in the US and Australia, growing the public understanding and access to the social history inherent in material culture.

Hosted by: National Museum of American History (NMAH)
2017 Fellows
Recipient Grant amount Home organisation Project title and outcomes
Dr Donna Hancox $17,500 Queensland University of Technology Developing Innovative Community Consultation through Co-Design Processes.

Helped the recipient to secure an additional $100,000 in external funding to conduct additional research directly associated with the Fellowship.
Increased the size of the recipient’s professional collaborative network.
The development of a creative consultation toolkit which is being shared through a series of seminars focused on the social impact of arts, hosted by QUT Creative Industries.

Hosted by: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Dr Ashley Field $13,750 Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation (Queensland Herbarium) Next generation systematics of Queensland's threatened ferns and lycophytes.

Dr Field has identified that his research could help to inform the classification of species in the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland).
The research Ashley undertook at the Smithsonian has helped increase the number of lycophyte species recognised for Queensland including recognition of additional endangered species.

Hosted by: National Herbarium, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (Washington DC, USA)
2016 Fellows
Recipient Grant amount Home organisation Project title and outcomes
Dr Dan Bendrups $3,670 Griffith University Presenting the Pacific: A fellowship for building capacity in the practice of Pacific arts curatorship.

The Fellow learned strategies about how to effectively engage with museums and archives. The fellowship also assisted the Fellow in applying for an Australian Research Council Linkage Project grant. The Fellowship benefited the cultural heritage of Queensland through the preservation of items of intangible cultural heritage held within the Woodford Folk Federation archives (a key Qld partner).

Hosted by: National Museum of Natural History (Washington DC)
Dr Lucy Cameron $16,016 Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation The role of government policy in building innovation hot-spots in the digital age.

The project enabled the Fellow to form useful networks with Smithsonian Museum and World Bank staff. The Fellow produced a detailed report for government titled "Can governments create an innovation hot spot?". The report concluded that public sector procurement for emerging technologies has been vital to building world-leading technology hot spots in the USA.

Hosted by: Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation (Washington DC)
Dr Chris Campbell $21,250 The University of Queensland

The Smithsonian Learning Lab - Discover, create and share: Unpacking the collections to integrate into teaching.

The findings assist tomorrow’s science teachers by providing guidelines on how to access and utilise the Smithsonian’s digital resources for teaching science. The Fellow applied for a Digital Literacy School Grant focussed on the Smithsonian Learning Lab and its implementation in schools in Queensland.

Hosted by: Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, Washington DC.

Dr David Kopelke $20,000 Boyne Island Environmental Centre

Protecting our coastal biodiversity through education.

The fellowship enhanced the quality of training available to staff at the Boyne Island Environmental Centre to enable them to better develop and deliver environmental education programs.

Hosted by: Smithsonian Environmental Center (SERC), Maryland.

Ms Virginia Rigney $15,956 Gold Coast Arts Centre

New culture city: Strengthening Gold Coast City Gallery within the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct to play a leading role for cultural tourism and engagement with the arts.

The findings assisted the development of innovative ways for the Gold Coast community to access the Gold Coast City Gallery, including the use of digitised collections.

Hosted by: National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC.

Dr Andrew Rozenfelds $21,250 Queensland Museum

Cenozoic fossil floras from the volcanoes of southern Queensland provide new insights into the history and evolution of the modern Australian flora.

The classification of fossil plants from northern Australia is poorly understood, and the fellowship assisted in addressing this deficiency. Understanding the vegetation of the past allows researchers to understand how ecosystems in the past have adapted to changing climates and environmental change. We can also use these insights to predict how vegetation and environmental systems will also change in response to climate changes in the future.

Hosted by: National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC.

2015 Fellows
Recipient Grant amount Home organisation Project title and outcomes
Professor Dan Hunter $7,810 Queensland University of Technology

Intellectual property and the post-war household in Australia and the United States.

The project provided an understanding of the historical mechanisms of commercialisation of arts and craft after World War II. Understanding the development of commercialisation provides insight into economic possibilities of new cultural practices; and protection of IP.
By studying reference material at the host institutions, the Fellow learned details of the cultural history of intellectual property; and developed an understanding of how Queensland homes were influenced by American intellectual property holders. This work highlighted the difficulties for design laws to cover the basic protection that furniture designers seek, i.e. ‘originality’ and ‘authenticity’ covered by some form of legal ‘protection’.

Hosted by: Smithsonian National Museum of American History (Washington DC, USA)

Dr Kathryn Mackey $17,000 Queensland Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology

The influence of cultural partnerships on a new form of innovation inquiry within education for highly capable students in Queensland State schools - putting STEAM into STEM.

The fellowship developed a new strategy for the Queensland School Academies by introducing principles from Arts education into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) - to become STEAM.
The Fellow advocated within DETE for the development of a collaboration between State schooling and the scientific/museum sector to deliver an ongoing program of learning experiences that will support improved learning outcomes for students and teachers in Queensland including those in regional areas.

Hosted by: Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (Washington DC, USA)

Dr Mark Schutze $14,000 Queensland University of Technology

Strengthening Queensland's capacity in pest fruit fly taxonomy and diagnostics: a focus on New World fauna.

The fellowship builds Queensland's capacity to identify species of pest fruit flies - some of which are very difficult to identify.
This has implications for the Queensland horticulture industry, and reduction of crop loss.

Hosted by: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (Washington DC, USA)

Mr Matthew Hayes $21,000 The University of Queensland

Growth and interspecific competition in mangroves: The potential effects of climate change on community composition of mangroves.

The information gained is assisting in the current understanding of how coastal wetland communities respond, and potentially change, as a response to elevated CO2 levels. This enables better planning for future scenarios such as increased storm activity, loss of habitat and rising sea levels.

Hosted by: Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (Maryland) & Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Panama)

2014 Fellows
Recipient Grant amount Home organisation Project title and outcomes
Ms Kerry Cody $17,000 Queensland Museum

Building community engagement with the Queensland Museum's digital archive.
This Fellow outlined a series of recommendations on how the Queensland Museum could implement a adopt the latest digitisation practices. This assists the Queensland Museum develop and connect early archives, cultural and natural heritage three dimensional objects, and research datasets to communities across the State using digital technology.
The Queensland Museum currently has digitised around 157,000 assets, against a 2018-19 target of 90,000.

Hosted by: Smithsonian Institution Archives (Washington DC, USA)

Dr Aaron Davis $25,000 James Cook University

Improving the capacity to monitor and model the effects of land use change on Queensland's aquatic ecosystems.

The fellowship increases Queensland's understanding of water quality and the ecological effects of catchment development.
Findings relate to nitrogen loads to the Great Barrier Reef from applications of urea in cane farms.
Research also related to evolutionary biology of particular fish species.

The Fellowship provided access and skill development in cutting edge water analysis approaches just emerging in the US. Cross-laboratory discussions now possible, influencing methodology in TropWater (JCU) is helping streamline and improve efficiencies in urea analyses at JCU and this is impacting the Paddock-to-Reef research program of DSITI.
Ongoing collaborations and connection with SERC will provide ongoing access to SERC datasets and methodologies, benefiting ongoing water quality monitoring initiatives for GBR.

Host: Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (Chesapeake Bay, Maryland USA), and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (Washington DC, USA)

2001–2011 Fellows
YearRecipient Home organisationProject


Dr Martin How The University of Queensland

Polarisation Vision in Fiddler Crabs.

Host: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama


Mr Nicholas Murray The University of Queensland

Identifying international threats and impacts to Queensland’s migratory shorebirds.

Host: Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre


Dr Ruth Reef The University of Queensland

The potential effects of climate change on salinity tolerance in plants.

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama


Dr Alison Shapcott University of Sunshine Coast

South east Queensland rainforest DNA barcoding project.

National Museum of Natural History


Dr Damien Burrows

James Cook University

A comparative study of the impact of insect herbivores, including beetles, caterpillars and scale insects, on mangroves in Australia and North and Central America.

Host: Smithsonian Marine Station (Fort Pierce, Florida)


Assoc Prof Helen Klaebe

Queensland University of Technology

Develop and trial innovative ways of assessing the economic, cultural and audience impact of oral history and digital story telling programs at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival, held each summer in Washington DC.

Host: Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (Washington DC)


Mr Tobias Smith

The University of Queensland

Investigate the diversity of bees and flower flies in rainforests areas in the tropics.

National Museum of Natural History (Washington DC)


Ms Elizabeth Burgess

The University of Queensland

Develop and validate methods for analysing reproductive and stress hormones in dugongs to enable the development of population models for the species.

Host: Conservation and Research Center, Smithsonian National Zoological Park (Virginia)


Prof David Lambert

Griffith University

Undertake DNA studies of Polynesian Feather Cloaks to extend biodiversity and evolution studies based on ancient DNA to enable the recovery of lost biological and cultural information from Indigenous artefacts.

Host: Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics, National Museum of Natural History (Washington DC)


Ms Melina Mallos

Queensland Art Gallery

Share and develop knowledge and expertise in museum based, early childhood education programs with Smithsonian educators.

Host: Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (Washington DC)


Ms Karen O’Brien

Dept Public Works

Assess the consultation, design and recruitment processes of the National Museum of the American Indian and other Smithsonian museums.

Host: Office of Equal Employment and Minority Affairs (Washington DC)


Dr Graham Bonnett


Researched the origin, diversity and ecology of wild sugar cane in Panama to determine the potential environmental risk associated with the introduction of genetically modified sugarcane.

Host: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Panama)


Dr Alison Sammel

Griffith University

Research and develop strategies to engage students from marginalised communities, particularly Indigenous communities, in science education.

Host: National Science Resources Center (Washington DC)


Mr Paul Willett

Queensland Museum

Studied the operations of several Smithsonian museums to develop an innovative business plan and entrepreneurial strategies that will help QM become a Museum of the 21st Century.

Host: Smithsonian Office of Policy and Analysis (Washington DC)


Dr Jennifer Beard

Queensland Museum

Developed methods for identifying all species of peacock mites, which are of major economic importance due to the damage they cause to crops (e.g. citrus and avocados).

National Museum of Natural History (Washington DC)


Dr Peter Pollard

Griffith University

Examined links between the carbon dioxide produced by terrestrial plants and aquatic microbes to account for the difference between the amount of carbon dioxide taken up by the world’s major forests and the amount returned to the atmosphere.

Host: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Panama),
Center for Tropical Forest Science (Massachusetts), and
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (Massachusetts)


Ms Olivia Robinson

State Library of Queensland

Researched innovative Indigenous engagement strategies that can be applied by SLQ to support cultural heritage preservation, Indigenous knowledge transfer and skills development, and reconciliation through public programs.

Host: National Museum of the American Indian (Washington DC)


Dr Emma Collier-Baker

The University of Queensland

Studied the representational capacities of orangutans, gorillas and gibbons as part of ongoing research into the evolution of mind.

Host: Think Tank, Smithsonian National Zoological Park (Washington DC)


Associate Professor Richard John

Griffith University

Researched NSRC strategies for engaging school districts in science education and outreach and assessed the applicability of these strategies to Queensland.

National Science Resources Center (NSRC) (Washington DC)


Bernadette McCormack

The Workshops Rail Museum - Ipswich

Researched the role and impact of public programs in museums by working on a major review of NMAH’s public programs and undertaking a comparative study of public programs at NMAH and TWRM.

Host: National Museum of American History (NMAH) (Washington DC)


Suhanya Raffel

Queensland Art Gallery

Researched, developed and implemented a long-term loans and staff exchange program between the two galleries.

Host: Arthur M Sackler Gallery (Washington DC)


Dr Angelina Russo

Queensland University of Technology

Researched the integration of new media technologies in developing communication methods for interactive cultural experiences. This led to ongoing collaboration.

Host: Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (New York)


Geoff Thompson

Queensland Museum

Shared expertise in the field of scientific insect illustration and developed skills and experience in using new digital technologies.

Host: National Museum of Natural History (Washington DC)


Jon Day

GBR Marine Park Authority

The fellowship focussed on learning the latest techniques for zoning and protecting reef parks.

Host: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Panama)


Bill Hauritz

Woodford Folk Festival

Undertook research into the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and other American folk and community festivals.

Host: Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage Washington DC)


Professor Roger Kitching

Griffith University

Participated in a major international research collaboration to survey insect biodiversity in the Panamanian rainforest.

Host: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Panama) &
National Museum of Natural History (Washington DC)


Dr Joseph Holtum

James Cook University

Developed improved methods for measuring the responses to increasing levels of carbon dioxide of grasses and trees native to the tropics of Queensland and the Americas.

Host: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Panama)


Professor John McGrath

Park Centre for Mental Health

Researched the evolutionary development of the human brain and skull in the context of schizophrenia, and the role of prenatal vitamin D in brain development and early life growth.

Host: Human Origins Program, National Museum of Natural History & Harvard University (Massachusetts)


Troy Myers

Richmond Marine Fossil Museum

Undertook a comparison of fossils of ancient sauropterygian marine reptiles from Queensland with those from the south-western US, utilising CT-scanning technology.

Host: National Museum of Natural History (Washington DC)


Dr Neil Gribble

Queensland Department of Primary Industries

Developed and tested ecosystem models for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area, particularly with regard to fisheries management. Dr Gribble also delivered five seminars at the Smithsonian.

Host: Smithsonian Environmental Research Centre (Maryland)


Donald Heron

Queensland Art Gallery

Investigated innovations in museum practice in the US.

Host: Arthur M Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art (Washington DC)


Annette Hilton

Corinda State High School

Researched the Smithsonian’s museum schools programs and the adaptation of these programs to a Queensland school.

Host: Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies (Washington DC)


Dr Paul Hearty

James Cook University

Examined fossilised land snails in the North Atlantic Ocean to determine the nature of climatic fluctuations over the past 400,000 years.

Host: National Museum of Natural History (Washington DC)


Dr Jane Hunter

Cooperative Research Centre for Distributed Systems Technology

Developed interoperable metadata models and tools for the management of mixed media collections, particularly in the cultural heritage field and to support Indigenous knowledge management.

Host: National Museum of the American Indian (Washington DC)


Dr Judith McKay

Queensland Museum

Researched the way in which Queensland has portrayed itself at international expositions and aimed to extend and share knowledge of international exhibitions.
In August 2004, Premier Beattie publicly launched Showing Off: Queensland at World Expositions 1862-1988, a book based on the results of the fellowship.

Host: Smithsonian Archives (Washington DC)


Dr Vicki Funk

US Herbarium, National Museum of Natural History
(Washington DC)

The project evaluated the biodiversity of wet tropical forests and established a collaboration with Queensland partners to address methods involved in estimating biodiversity in tropical wet forests and to evaluate the utility of the methods for assisting in conservation efforts.

Host: The University of Queensland and Cooperative Research Centre for Tropical Rainforest Ecology and Management


Dr D Ross Robertson

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Panama)

Researched the demography and population genetics of exploited reef fishes in the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific.

Host: CRC Reef Research Centre and James Cook University