New biotech hub

THINK Queensland and most people would think of beautiful pristine beaches and holiday fun.  

However, Queensland is fast gaining a reputation for education and excellence in research, particularly in the field of biotechnology. The state currently attracts international students from over 120 countries around the world. 

Australia’s “smart state” is active in research in major biotechnology-related disciplines such as genomics, molecular biology, microbiology, recombinant DNA technologies, drug discovery, biomedical engineering and bioinformatics.  

Since 1998, the state government has invested more than AUD$2.4 bil (RM6.35 bil) in science, research, education and innovation initiatives. This has paved the way for the development of world-class facilities which offer students unrivalled opportunities in the field.  

Students also get to study in some of Australia’s largest research facilities, mix with academics and students from diverse cultures and backgrounds, and participate in leading edge research in fields ranging from medicine to agribusiness. 

The state is also involved in various major research projects. This includes a bio-prospecting project by the University of Queensland to develop an environmentally-sustainable drug discovery process, the cultivation and harvesting of nerve cells for spinal cord regeneration by Griffith University, and research into insect-transmitted diseases such as dengue fever which resulted in the successful mapping of the complete genome of the Wolbachia bacteria.  

Besides being home to one of the largest medical research facilities in Australia, Queensland also has one of the largest concentrations of tropical marine scientists in the world as well as a creative industries precinct renowned for education in film, arts, design and e-commerce.  

A leader in telemedicine, distance education and e-learning, it also has more than 30 research centres driving innovation in fisheries, forestry, satellite communications, environmental management and sustainable tourism education. 

Another feather in its cap is its electronic games industry. It has one of the largest electronic games industry clusters in Australia and the second largest e-security cluster in the world, after North America.  

Given Malaysia’s interest in biotechnology and recent forays into the field, and the fact that both Malaysia and Queensland share unique biodiversity and common economic goals, there is indeed tremendous potential for cooperation between Malaysian students and the university in the near future.  

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