According to the landmark State of the Tropics report coordinated by James Cook University, most of the world’s population will live in the tropics by 2050. While great progress has been made in key areas, there are increasing pressures particularly on the environment and in health – challenges that Queensland’s tropical research sector is helping to address both at home and globally.

The tropics account for approximately 50 per cent of Queensland’s land mass, and tropical science, not surprisingly, is one of Queensland key strengths, encompassing health and medicine, food, agriculture and biocommodities.

Tropical North Queensland boasts incredible natural biodiversity and World Heritage sites that include the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics of Queensland. The Great Barrier Reef—the world’s largest and most complex reef system—is one of Queensland’s and the world’s most treasured natural wonders.

The Queensland Government is committed to understanding and addressing the ongoing impacts to the reef from climate change, ocean acidification, coastal development and water quality.

The region also supports a significant agricultural sector and a growing aquaculture industry.

The Australian Government’s Office of Northern Australia is coordinating the implementation of the Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia and established the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility in Cairns to encourage and complement private sector investment in infrastructure that benefits Northern Australia.

The Australian Government has announced a new Cooperative Research Centre on Developing Northern Australia is to be established in Townsville, Queensland that will direct at least $150 million into commercialising research in tropical health, food and agriculture.

Queensland has nine universities including three of Australia’s largest, a number of which undertake tropical research. For example research at the Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities is focused on global solutions for food security including the effects of changing climatic conditions on agricultural productivity. Details of 200 plus research centres in Queensland are available by searching the Queensland science capability directory.

Key infrastructure

Tropical Queensland is home to a number of internationally renowned tropical research facilities including: James Cook University; The Australian Institute of Marine Science; and parts of CSIRO. The Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine is focused on solutions to global and local health threats that include TB, dengue fever, streptococcal infections and bacterial sepsis.

Leading tropical research

Watch our Queensland Science making a difference video to find out why top researchers and industry leaders are saying Queensland is one of the best places in the world for tropical and other research.

Tropical research centres

Queensland has more than 80 institutes, facilities, precincts, laboratories and other research organisations involved in the tropical science sector including: