Bundy scholars: Bundaberg brewer funding QUT scholarship


Tuesday, 18 June, 2024

Bundy scholars: Bundaberg brewer funding QUT scholarship

QUT continues to expand its close relationship with Bundaberg, with the Bundy Ginger Beer brewer now funding a new Budding Entrepreneur Scholarship in 2025 for an incoming QUT student from the Bundaberg region. 

QUT Pro Vice-Chancellor (Entrepreneurship) Professor Rowena Barrett will be in the Queensland city of Bundaberg, from Monday 17–19 June, to cheer on students and schools for the Mayor’s Innovation Challenge where QUT supports high school student participation.

QUT's Professor Rowena Barrett (pictured) and QUT Foundry Coordinator Angela Young. Angela will join new entrepreneurial top talent with QUT and MIT working together aiming to boost business skills. Image credit: QUT.

Professor Barrett said entrepreneurial opportunities abounded in Bundaberg, particularly related to agriculture and AgTech as well as community development and environmental management.

“Entrepreneurial role models across the region — like Bundaberg Brewed Drinks — have been on an expansion path but have led with robotics and automation in their business,” Barrett said.

“The Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Challenge is a great opportunity for teams of students in the region to develop their entrepreneurial muscle.

“One hundred and forty students from the Bundaberg postcode are currently enrolled at QUT, with many more hailing from across the Bundaberg region.

“A significant number of placement students head to the Bundaberg region and on graduation choose to grow their careers in Bundaberg and the surrounding Wide Bay-Burnett region.

“QUT is proud to support regional innovation and this memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Bundaberg Regional Council shows how we can work together to create value for community, environment and economy.”

Bundaberg Regional Council Mayor Helen Blackburn said the council was proud to support young minds through the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards.

“As locals we know that great things happen in Bundaberg,” Blackburn said.

“From leading manufacturing and agricultural technology to one of our original innovators Bert Hinkler, the Bundaberg Region has become world renowned on many fronts.

“The Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards is a fantastic opportunity to encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

Local students are already hard at work developing their concepts for the 2024 innovation awards and working with local mentors and industry experts ahead of the final pitch of their presentations to judges on 18 June.

Bundaberg Brewed Drinks CEO John McLean said the collaboration with QUT was an exciting opportunity to support the next generation of entrepreneurs.

“Bundaberg Brewed Drinks have been the beneficiaries of the advice, services and support of so many people across our region over the past 55 years,” McLean said.

“This Entrepreneurship Scholarship is a chance for our family to continue to invest and give back to our community.”

QUT has also funded two Masters scholarships to work on AgTech projects in the Bundy region.

Associate Professor Caroline Hauxwell and Dr Brett Williams from the QUT School of Biology and Environmental Science will supervise master’s student Edward Bryans on a project in which he will collaborate directly on research around Bundaberg and Central Queensland with the companies Applied Horticultural Research (AHR) and DFL Seeds.

Hauxwell said the project would address the multibillion-dollar problem of pasture mealybugs and ‘pasture dieback’ as part of a major research project co-funded by QUT and Meat and Livestock Australia.

“Edward’s work will investigate the benefits of legumes in pasture mixtures in reducing the severity of the pasture dieback mealybug and in improving beneficial soil microbiota in replicated field trials established by AHR and DLF Seeds,” Hauxwell said.

“Master’s student Edward Bryans grew up and was educated in Bundaberg before completing his Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biology, at QUT.

“His family still lives in Bundaberg.”

Dr James Strong from the QUT School of Biology & Environmental Science will supervise master’s student Hashini Jayathunga Wahalathanthrige on a study that will assess the growth of various fungal strains in liquid media and on agricultural residues.

Strong said following mushroom and mycelia production, their protein content, antioxidants, phenolics and beta-glucans will be extracted, analysed and assessed for their technical feasibility for use in health supplements or ready-made foods.

“This project overlaps with our regional industry partner research for both Kenon Mushrooms and AustChilli,” Strong said.

Image credit: Bundaberg.

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