Seven Brisbane researchers share $30k Trailblazer Grant

Seven talented Brisbane researchers will share in $30,000 funding from Brisbane’s Lord Mayor to help lure significant international conferences to the city for the first time.

Making the announcement ahead of Global Meetings Industry Day on 4 April, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the Convention Trailblazer Grant funds early career researchers and professionals to attend an international conference in their field. In return, they work with economic development board Brisbane Marketing and partners to attract the conference to Brisbane.

“The 2019 recipients are considered trailblazers because they are undertaking work in fields that have an important social impact and raise awareness of Brisbane as a home of world-class research,” Quirk said.

“Now in its second year, this grant program is an outcome of the Brisbane 2022 New World City Action Plan, which details our commitment to winning more business events, and to earning a top 50 global International Congress and Convention Association ranking.”

Brisbane Marketing’s general manager of Business Events, Juliet Alabaster, said the grant program had already resulted in a confirmed win for Brisbane.

“Two 2018 recipients, Dr Christina Schroeder and Dr Johan Rosengren of the University of Queensland helped secure the International Peptide Symposium, to be held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre in 2021,” Alabaster said.

“This conference will deliver an economic impact of $2 million and attract over 800 experts from the United Kingdom, Europe, America, Asia and Australia to Brisbane for the first time.”

The 2019 Lord Mayor’s Convention Trailblazer Grant recipients are:

Mathilde Desselle is Project Manager at the Herston Biofabrication Institute (opening late 2019) – the first of its kind in Australia. She works with surgeons, scientists and industry partners on the creation of the institute and integration of 3D technology, including augmented and virtual reality in clinical practice.

Bronwyn Clark is a Research Fellow at the Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland. Her research looks at the public health risks of inactivity and is conducting research to identify the best ways of measuring sedentary behaviour and physical activity for effective public health interventions.

Arutha Kulasinghe is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Queensland University of Technology. He is focused on the development of non-invasive diagnostic tools for the early detection of metastatic cancers – the major cause of cancer-related deaths. His research has led to significant knowledge advances in head and neck cancers, and lung cancers.

Arosha Weerakoon is a Research Higher Degree Student and Lecturer at The University of Queensland. Her research relates to restorative dentistry and she is passionate about communicating science to educate, inform and engage the dental and broader community.

Sue McAvoy is a Senior Research Fellow with the University of Queensland Business School. She applies Systems Dynamics (SD) modelling to complex problems in areas including healthcare and climate change and is passionate about its potential to inform policy.

Shivashankar Hiriyur Nagaraj is an Advance Queensland Research Fellow at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at the Queensland University of Technology. His research group focuses on using large amounts of data to solve biological problems, including the genetic basis of chronic kidney disease in Indigenous Australians.

Gareth Price is Head of Computational Biology at the Queensland Facility for Advanced Bioinformatics, where he supports member universities staff and students with their complex biological data analyses across all areas of the life sciences.