Future opportunities

German research priorities can be matched with Queensland research proficiencies and capabilities, particularly in environment science, health, and defence.

Future topics of interest for collaborative action are mobility, sustainability, climate, energy and healthcare.

Under the Joint Declaration of Intent for Cooperation in Bioeconomy (PDF, 91.3KB) (2022) Queensland and Germany will be working on supporting bioeconomy-related research collaborations focusing on topics including synthetic biology, novel high value foods and the circular economy.

Below are just a few examples of how Queensland research institutions are working to address current and emerging research priorities.

Energy

  • Sustainably sourced energy for emissions-free transportation: re‐use of agricultural residues for energy production by anaerobic digestion (USQ) and producing high-value fuels and testing engine performance (QUT).
  • Sustainably sourced energy for mass transport—Hydrogen fuel for cars buses and even trucks is a step closer thanks to work by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Their researchers, based in Brisbane, created a metal membrane that filters out pure hydrogen gas from ammonia. This now provides the ability to store and transport the gas safely and efficiently, which means hydrogen is becoming a viable option for dispensing at fuelling stations.
  • 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[1]. This initiative paved the way for turning wastewater into electrical energy, and at the same time removing contaminants in the water. (The Advanced Water Management Centre, a world class research group specialising in innovative wastewater treatment, UQ.)

Biofutures

  • Developing biomass-based energy and products—working with industry, QUT researchers have established the 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.

Environment

  • The power of seaweed—The University of Sunshine Coast is working on domesticating a 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.
  • Sustainable environments—The Institute for Future Environments (IFE - QUT) is a transdisciplinary research institute that studies how to make our natural, built and virtual environments more sustainable, secure and resilient.
  • Protection of boreal and temperate primary forests—The Griffith Climate Change Response Program is working with the Frankfurt Zoological Society to help protect the world's remaining boreal and temperate primary forests.

Healthy life

  • Bioengineering for health cures—using bioengineered heart muscle enabled researchers to rapidly and accurately screen the effectiveness of potential heart regeneration drugs. This innovative technique could revolutionise how heart drugs are developed in the future. (QIMR Berghofer in collaboration with the Murdoch Children’s hospital and the University of Melbourne, and global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca).
  • 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.

Food

  • Revolutionary alternative to chemical fungicidesnon-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 like 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 helping to feed the world by 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, for example use of 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).

Queensland offers a globally unique proposition

Download or share the Queensland + Germany – Collaborating on Science fact sheet (PDF, 853.7KB) .

Academic Excellence - German Immersion and Extension

The German Immersion and Extension Program (GIEP) is a program of academic excellence at Kenmore State High School and Ferny Grove State High School which offers students an exciting opportunity to develop a very high level of German language proficiency. Brisbane German Language School offers German language courses at St Peters Lutheran College in Indooroopilly.