Engineering science

A longitudinal section of a dormant seed. Bio inspiration by Binodhya Wijerathne. Photo credit: Binodhya Wijerathne—QUT Centre for Materials Science

  • Over 100 engineering research centres
  • Over 15,000 publications in 5 years
  • 3 times global average cited for chemical and environmental engineering
  • 15,000+ professional engineers

Queensland is known for leading multidisciplinary engineering research projects to address global challenges in the fields of mining, materials, medical, biotechnical, chemical and environmental engineering.

Queensland engineering researchers published more than 15,000 publications between 2017 and 2021, with chemical and environmental engineering topics cited over three times the global average (citation rate of attributable publications). Most Queensland engineering research publications are in materials engineering followed by civil and chemical engineering; and Queensland collaborates most frequently in engineering research with China, the USA, the UK, Japan and Germany. Queensland engineering publications were linked with 451 patent publications during this five-year period.

Queensland has a particularly strong record for developing collaborations between industry and universities to fast track the application of research into the real world. Queensland’s ARM Hub (Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Hub), for example, combines expertise from research institutions with in-house engineering, data science and design technical expertise to deliver world-first innovations for their commercial partners.

Queensland has been successful in the translation of engineering research into significant technological advances in environment, health, and agricultural sciences. Key discoveries and applications range from novel nanotechnologies to innovations in robotics. Some recent significant research has focused on decarbonisation and in developing cleaner and greener energy sources and management of energy systems.

Queensland boasts a critical mass of leading engineering research centres and facilities and over 100 research organisations involved in engineering science.

Leading engineering research centres

Engineering science research centres

Industry–research collaboration and commercialisation

Support for the engineering industry in Queensland

Photo of Prof Ryan Ko and students in the UQ Seimens Energy Test Lab.Open larger image

Prof Ryan Ko in the UQ Seimens Energy Test Lab.

Photo credit: Photo: Judit Losh

Advance Queensland is the key Queensland Government initiative to foster innovation and build a more diversified economy (A$755 million invested as of July 2022). The initiative is comprised of a diverse suite of programs, including universities and researchers, is designed to develop entrepreneurial and research talent, and to support start-ups and businesses. The Ignite Ideas Fund supports Queensland-based small to medium businesses, which have high-growth potential to undertake commercialisation projects involving highly innovative new products or services that are at minimum viable product stage or beyond. The Industry Research Fellowships program supports PhD qualified researchers to undertake original research that will positively impact the translation of research outcomes into practical application.

Queensland Government is also investing A$350 million through the Industry Partnership Program (2021–2025) in several priority industry sectors including advanced manufacturing, hydrogen, biofutures, biomedical, defence, aerospace, space, resource recovery and METS (Mining Equipment, Technology and Services).

Photo Prof Polly Burey and colleagues at the UniSQ NO WASTE precinct pilot.Open larger image

Prof Polly Burey and colleagues at the UniSQ NO WASTE precinct pilot .

Photo credit: Photo: Staff photographer.

Queensland is known for providing opportunities for key stakeholders to come together to foster strategic relationships. An excellent example is the 2022 Bioeconomy Forum organised by Life Sciences Queensland in association with the Bioenergy Australia, Greater Whitsunday Alliance, Mackay Regional Council, QUT, UQ and the Queensland Government. The forum provided a platform for Queensland’s key players across industrial, agricultural and environmental biotechnology to discuss approaches and technologies that support our growing local bio-based economy to meet global demand for more sustainable energy, processes and products.

Queensland has world-class engineering research that supports the state’s major industry development programs:

Several of these roadmaps are supported by targeted industry grant programs such as:

  • The Defence and Aerospace Industry Development Fund that provides targeted financial assistance to eligible small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating in the defence, aerospace or space sectors.
  • The Manufacturing Hubs Grant Program assists eligible regional businesses to become more productive, build advanced manufacturing capabilities and create the jobs of the future through: technology adoption; skills and training; business development; and advanced robotic manufacturing hub services.

Talent pipeline for engineering

Photo of samples of the crude oils converted from plastic diverted land fill by CQUniversity researchers in the Fuel and energy research group.Open larger image

Samples of the crude oils converted from plastic diverted land fill by CQUniversity researchers in the Fuel and energy research group.

Photo credit: CQUniversity Australia

All of Queensland’s universities offer under- and post-graduate courses in various disciplines of engineering (e.g. CQUniversity, UniSQ, and The University of Queensland). Many of these programs include internships with key industry partners within Queensland (e.g. internship programs at CQU and QUT) . Many of Queensland’s universities host major research institutes and specialised research centres supporting doctoral students and dedicated researchers who often work on projects involving industry collaborations.

School students in Queensland engage with STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) under the strategy for STEM in Queensland state schools and teachers access resources via the STEM hub and the Queensland STEM Education Network provided by Queensland universities. The Peter Doherty Awards for Excellence in STEM Education recognise people who demonstrate an outstanding and innovative contribution to STEM education in Queensland.

School-based programs, such as the Gateway to Industry Schools program run by the Queensland Government, and those run by industry, such as Rio Tinto’s Pioneer Portal, are designed for students and workers to learn about new career options available in knowledge-intensive industries and to address outdated career planning.

  • 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 engineering 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 engineering research.

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