University gets cash to turn dirt into aviation fuel

TWENTY four potentially game-changing projects have been awarded funding grants as part of the government's push for innovative new ideas that will help shape the agriculture, aviation, mining and beef industries across the state.

Projects include a study into how unmanned drones could boost crop yields, research to identify the genetic composition of cattle, a project that will look at developing a cost effective way to combat acid mine drainage and ways of converting waste into aviation fuel.

Science and Innovation Minister Ian Walker, talking exclusively to APN Newsdesk, said $8.75 million in research grants would be distributed under the new accelerate funding program.

"We want to turn great ideas into great opportunities that can deliver results and jobs for Queenslanders," he said.

"All the research projects we are supporting will deliver economic, social and environmental benefits through the creation of innovative products and technologies."

Mr Walker said one of the most promising projects was the University of Southern Queensland's research into the potential for drones to provide real-time information to farmers on the health and condition of their crops.

"This information would be of enormous value to Queensland's cotton and grain farmers as well as pastoralists," he said.

Mr Walker said a Central Queensland University project looking at ways to converting commercial poultry waste into an organic fertilizer was another idea that showed real potential.

"This project has the potential for economic and environmental benefits and it is vital the government substantially supports this research," he said.

Mr Walker said the government would also support 10 early-career and four mid-career Queensland scientists through its accelerate fellowships program which forms part of the overall accelerate funding program.

FUNDING TOWARDS REGIONAL PROJECTS

The University of Queensland - $498,146 - to investigate the potential of BioClay to protect crops from pests.

CSIRO - $482,000 - to identify the genetic composition of cattle that will deliver the best productivity for Queensland beef enterprises.

Central Queensland University - $272,000 - to research ways at converting commercial poultry waste into an organic fertilizer.

Central Queensland University - $203,273 - to develop a mental health resilience program for early secondary school children across regional Queensland.

University of Southern Queensland - $300,000 - to investigate the potential for drones to provide real-time information about crop conditions.

University of Southern Queensland - $180,000 - to evaluate a proof-of-concept control system for horticulture that controls site-specific irrigation and fertilizer application.

Queensland University of Technology - $180,000 - to investigate drone technology in conducting tasks such as surveillance, search and rescue and fire monitoring.

Queensland University of Technology - $180,000 - to address how regional airspace can routinely accommodate drones operating in regional areas.

University of Queensland - $180,000 - to investigate using microbes to turn solid and green wastes into aviation fuel.

Hear and Say - $180,000 - to investigate the effectiveness of delivering specialised listening and spoken language early intervention for children with hearing loss in regional areas via telemedicine.



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