Health and medical science

Professor Chamindie Punyadeera, Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery – Leading researcher in saliva diagnostics, proteomics, and cortisol

  • Over 100 employees health and medical research centres
  • 3 times global average cited for AI-enabled healthcare
  • 9 research hospitals across Queensland
  • 361 million private manufacturing R&D investment annually

Queensland has an advanced research-informed healthcare system with world class health professionals, renowned researchers and state of the art facilities. Recent testaments to our highly collaborative, innovative, and well supported environment for conducting leading health and medical research include the development of the world’s first human papilloma virus vaccine, the mRNA vaccine and molecular clamp technology, and at-home non-prescription diagnostic kits for COVID-19. While many Queensland health and medical researchers re-prioritised their research on potential vaccines, treatments and other medical interventions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, other researchers have applied their expertise to other impacts of the pandemic upon our economy and other aspects of society.

AI-enabled healthcare includes analysis of the large volumes of personal and system-wide clinical data, management of electronic medical records, use of wearable devices, diagnostic imaging and genomics. In AI-enabled healthcare alone, Queensland researchers produced over 89,000 publications between 2017 and 2021, and the most recent of these (in 2020) were cited 3 times the global average (citation rate of attributable publications), with more than 1200 of these linked to patent publications. Queensland AI-enabled healthcare researchers collaborate most frequently with the USA (33%); the UK (25%); China (18%); Canada (12%), and Germany (11%).

Queensland has a network of infectious disease scientists and clinicians recognised internationally for research excellence that is supported by world-class infrastructure. The Queensland Infectious Disease Research Capabilities (PDF, 799.9KB) document provides comprehensive audit of infectious disease research capabilities across the Griffith University, QIMR Berghofer, University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Bond University, University of the Sunshine Coast, James Cook University and the Translational Research Institute.

Queensland has world-leading researchers in areas such as:

  • viral, bacterial and parasitic infection
  • vaccine research and drug discovery
  • genomics and personalised medicine
  • digital and AI-enabled healthcare
  • imaging and imaging technology
  • cellular and molecular neuroscience
  • advanced therapies for cancer

and has one the world’s leading high-risk pregnancy units.

Five out of Queensland’s 9 universities have been rated ‘above’ or ‘well above’ world standards for medical and health sciences by the Australian Research Council.

Queensland boasts a critical mass of leading health and medical research precincts, institutes, and centres and over 140 research organisations involved in health and medical research. Queensland has nine universities – including three of Australia’s largest – all with strong research linkages with Queensland’s research hospitals and dedicated world-class research institutes and centres.

Leading health and medical research centres

All health and medical research centres

Industry-research collaboration and commercialisation

Contact the commercial partnership offices of Queensland universities and research institutes for details of their research-industry collaboration or investment opportunities.

Support for the health and medical industry in Queensland

Queensland’s health system

The Department of Health is the lead government agency the state’s health system. It works in collaboration with 16 Hospital and Health Services (HHS) statutory bodies. Under the auspices of the Clinical Excellence Queensland, the Queensland Clinical Networks are formally recognised groups, established to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare across 25 areas of care.

Sustained investment

Several of the HHS operate major tertiary research hospitals in close partnership with the many specialised research centres and health faculties of Queensland’s universities and research institutes such as the Translational Research Institute (TRI), QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine and the Menzies Health Institute Queensland.

Successive Queensland Governments have developed several of these research hospitals and institutes over the last two decades. In 2022, further funding was announced for a new 150-bed Queensland Cancer Centre (A$750M) to be built within the Herston Health Precinct at Brisbane’s Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in partnership with the University of Queensland – Herston, Queensland University of Technology and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. Also funded by the Queensland Government in 2022, is a medical manufacturing facility TM at TRI (A$60M of A$80M full cost) to be built in Brisbane. The facility will be equipped to produce promising drugs and vaccines for clinical trials.

Illustration of blood clotting processOpen larger image

UQ Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology – Illustration of blood clotting process

Photo credit: Dr Alexandr Kakinen

Biomedical industry

Queensland biomedical enterprises include biopharmaceuticals; generic pharmaceuticals; medical devices and point-of-care diagnostics; several multinational biomedical manufacturing businesses; and a thriving complementary medicines industry. The Queensland Biomedical 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan released in June 2017 supports the continuing development the Queensland biomedical sector in the global value chain. The roadmap is supported by the Queensland Industry Partnership Program (2021–2025) that is investing A$350 million in several priority industry sectors including biomedical.

stinging nettles of the world’s most venomous plants - the gympie-gympie tree Open larger image

Institute for Molecular Bioscience investigates the stinging nettles of the world’s most venomous plants - the gympie-gympie tree

Photo credit: Darren Brown

Clinical trials

Queensland is a destination of choice for clinical trials, where it is far cheaper than the USA for early-phase clinical trials (28% cheaper before tax incentives and 60% after). Registered on the Queensland Clinical Trials Portal, one in five Australian clinical trials take place in Queensland across over 130 clinical trial sites.

Photo of CQUniversity Centre studentsOpen larger image

CQUniversity Centre for Indigenous Health Equity Research co-design research projects with First Nations organisations

Research and innovation support

Advance Queensland is the key Queensland Government initiative (A$755 million allocated as of July 2022) delivered by nine government agencies, to develop entrepreneurial and research talent and to support start-ups and businesses. There are several funding programs, including the Industry Research Fellowships program that is.

The Department of Health’s Queensland Advancing Health Research 2026 strategy promotes partnerships between industry, research organisations and government to invest in innovative research. The searchable Database of Research Activity covers all human research undertaken in the Department of Health and includes research funded under the Advancing Clinical Research Fellowships, the Nursing and Midwifery Research Fellowships and other funding programs.

The majority of health and medical research in Australia is funded by two independent statutory agencies, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Talent pipeline for health and medical R&D

All of Queensland’s universities offer under and postgraduate courses and units in health and medicine and partner with Queensland’s research hospitals. Most of the universities host major research institutes and specialised research centres supporting post-graduate and dedicated researcher.

From their earliest years students in Queensland engage with STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) under the strategy for STEM in Queensland state schools and teachers access resources via the STEM Hub and the Queensland STEM Education Network provided by Queensland universities.

High school students can be industry-ready under the Gateway to Industry Schools Health (external link) program. This is long-term program to support the development of a highly-skilled workforce is delivered by CheckUP.

  • Find out why top researchers and industry leaders are saying Queensland is one of the best places in the world for life science research.

    Find out why top researchers and industry leaders are saying Queensland is one of the best places in the world for life science research.

View Queensland life sciences video with Chinese subtitles
昆士兰生命科学 – 全球领先”视频(附中文字幕)

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