Advance Queensland News: June 2020 edition

Welcome to Advance Queensland News: June 2020 edition

A message from Deputy-Director General, Dr Sarah Pearson


Another big month under our belts. Thank you all for your continued efforts as we work together to assist the Queensland innovation sector during these challenging times, and build opportunities that will shape this new world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had unprecedented impact in communities across Queensland – on our businesses, our jobs, our health system, and our way of life. Through all of this, Advance Queensland has been engaging with innovation stakeholders across the state, to effectively advocate and respond to the needs of Queensland’s innovation ecosystem in addressing the impacts of COVID-19.

Conversations with our innovation community have continued this month, including with Indigenous entrepreneurs, universities, startups and business leaders, and regional communities.

It’s important that we hear what you have to say and do what we can to address the issues. We’re working with our colleagues across government to respond where we can, to feed in to recovery planning based on your input, and we’re working with you to help you support each other.

There’s also been plenty of good news to share this month.

Things just keep looking up for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine at the University of Queensland. In June, it was announced that recruitment was beginning in Queensland for the Phase 1 human clinical trial. We’re extremely excited by this new development and while there are no guarantees, this brings us one step closer to the goal of a COVID-19 vaccine, not just for all Queenslanders, but the world.

On 16 June, the Premier announced the second phase of the Queensland Economic Recovery Strategy: Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs. The announcement includes an additional $100 million in funding for the Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant Program, with grants of up to $10,000 to be divided equally amongst regional Queensland and South East Queensland.

Last week, I travelled to Toowoomba for Minister Jones’ announcement of a $3.3 million investment in establishing an Agtech and Logistics Hub in the region. The hub will help to connect agribusinesses, startups, SMEs, universities, and corporates, creating new opportunities and new jobs in the region. The visit also gave me an opportunity to connect with and hear directly from local businesses, agricultural researchers, entrepreneurs and the University of Southern Queensland.

The AI Hub has been going from strength to strength, kicking off with a Medical Datathon over two weekends, attracting over 250 registrations including over 35 clinicians, 13 teams pitching at the end. We also had exciting news with Gilmour Space achieving a 45-second milestone in their latest hybrid rocket engine test fire.

There is a lot going on, but despite all this, I know many of you are still doing it tough. Keep visiting the Queensland Government COVID-19 website for official information and advice about COVID-19 and to keep abreast of the latest announcements, state and federal government support.

As we move into July, Queensland has tackled COVID-19 head on and thanks to the brilliant response from Queenslanders we’re on the road to recovery.

We are still navigating our way through these difficult times, but we also need to recognise and celebrate our success.

July is a chance for us to reflect on what we have achieved and get excited about the future, as we approach the fifth anniversary of the launch of the Advance Queensland initiative on 13 July. It’s that commitment to Advance Queensland and your commitment to building and shaping the ecosystem in the state that makes innovation in Queensland so fabulous.

I look forward to navigating the next stage of this journey with you. Until next time, stay safe, reach out for support and continue to innovate.

Dr Sarah Pearson

Deputy Director-General, Department of State Development, Tourism and Innovation.

Darling Downs benefits from QCN Fibre partnership

QCN Fibre has signed an agreement with Toowoomba’s Pulse Data Centre and Queensland internet service provider Over The Wire to provide better internet for businesses on the Darling Downs.

QCN Fibre is a Queensland Government telecommunications company jointly owned by Powerlink Queensland and Energy Queensland, with a mission to improve regional connectivity through leveraging spare telecommunication capacity in Government-owned fibre networks.

Queensland has more than 10,000 kilometres of fibre optic cabling that is owned by the State and isn’t being used to its capacity.

This is being made available to carry business and residential internet and data services at capacities of up to 100 gigabits per second – in Toowoomba, that is about 10 times faster than current speeds.

The improved access will aid Queensland’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

QCN Fibre partners with local ISPs, as well as the major carriers, in regional Queensland to enable them to offer their customers much better backhaul capacity and internet speeds at very competitive pricing equivalent to established city-based data centres.

Toowoomba’s Pulse Data Centre was established in 2018 and built by engineering company FKG Group. It houses telecommunications and data storage systems in a high-security setting.

A significant investment in the region, the centre is attracting businesses which can now base their technology infrastructure locally.

For more information see QCN Fibre.

New milestone for Queensland COVID-19 vaccine

Advance Queensland provided $10 million in funding in March 2020 to fast-track a COVID-19 vaccine being developed at the University of Queensland (UQ).

Our support was aimed at helping them to develop and manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine six months early. We are proud to announce that we are on track and our UQ vaccine will start human clinical trials in July.

Earlier this month, a partnership with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and CSL, one of Australia’s largest health companies, along with the University of Queensland was announced to progress the Queensland COVID-19 vaccine to human clinical trials.

This deal also involves substantial support to manufacture 100 million doses of the vaccine right here in Australia as well as other global locations.

This makes the UQ vaccine one of only a few in the world to secure a manufacturing deal of this kind, which shows it has real promise to help the world to tackle this pandemic.

And better yet, if this vaccine is successful, Australia and our neighbouring countries will have guaranteed access to the vaccine.

We are incredibly proud of this innovation coming from Queensland and ask you to share this information and give new hope to millions of people around the world – including our own friends and families. Learn More

For more information visit Advance Queensland