Design your future: community science forum to inspire businesses and young job seekers

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Have you got an idea for a product or business but don’t know how to get it off the ground? Are you considering a career in science, but want more information about what skills will be in high demand in the future?  

CQUniversity and Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt will host a Community Science Forum, titled ‘Design Your Future’, on October 6 to answer these questions and more.

Special guest, Assistant Minister for Science Karen Andrews will talk about the Federal Government’s efforts to bolster science, research and innovation.

“Innovation accounts for around half of total economic growth.  It is estimated that every $100 million invested by business in research and development, returns about $200 million to our economy,” Ms Andrews said.

“Science is critical to our international competitiveness, expanding our economy and creating jobs. That’s why we’re working to inspire young people, by investing $12million to improve the focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in schools.

“We’re establishing Industry Growth Centres and supporting our entrepreneurs through our Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda.”

Mr Pitt, who was an electrical engineer before entering Parliament, said the Forum would include a series of short talks from locals who have turned their skills and innovative ideas into successful businesses.

“Among the list of speakers is a film and television graduate who built bikes as a hobby and went on to invent the bionic runner, and a farmer who is using drones to drive pests away from his crops,” Mr Pitt said.

“An expert panel will invite the audience to participate in an interactive discussion about what opportunities are emerging for people with STEM qualifications and what skills and services will be needed in the future.

“The full list of speakers is available on my website.”

CQUniversity Associate Vice Chancellor Andrew Bridges said the Forum was also an opportunity for locals to learn about some of the exciting projects CQUniversity’s lecturers and researchers have been working on, and how they’re being applied in the community.

DATE: Tuesday, 6 October 2015

TIME: 9.30am for 9.50am start – NOON

LOCATION: Building 1, CQUniversity Bundaberg Campus

*The forum is open to people aged 15 years and older.

If you’re interested in attending, please register your attendance by Wednesday, 30 September by emailing or telephone 07 4152 0744.



Sweet Sensations Farm, Manager Craig Van Rooyen has been working closely with CQUniversity to trial non-lethal methods of pest management on orchards. Craig will talk about the methods they’ve used to reduce the impact birds and bats have on their crops: lighting, netting, high frequency sound, gas guns, smoke and remote-controlled drones. So far, they’ve been able to reduce crop losses from about 30 per cent to 5 per cent.


Run4 owner, Dr Henry Thomas is living the dream. He turned a hobby of designing bicycles into a successful business to invent the Bionic Runner right here in Bundaberg, with the help of local engineering firms. Henry will explain how social media and crowd funding helped him get his business off the ground. Henry believes innovative new ideas for products and services can literally be designed, marketed and created from anywhere, by anyone with the requisite skills.


Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Officer Gary Channells will explain how technological advancements are having a significant impact on how our emergency service personnel manage incidents, with particular focus on remote management, ground to air communications and information dissemination.


Bundaberg Walkers Engineering, mechanical engineer Clyde Garson has worked in a wide variety of roles during his 30-year career in the sugar cane industry, including 17 years in applied research and development. Bundaberg Walkers Engineering started 125 years ago as the Bundaberg Foundry. Today, they service the needs of sugar, power generation, mining, marine and general engineering industries in both the domestic and the international market, exporting to more than 20 countries.


Jack Milbank is a 2006 Nuffield Scholar with a Bachelor in Applied Science. He is the CEO of three Bundaberg-based businesses: Hortus Technical Services, Biofilm Crop Protection, and Bargara Brewing Company. Bargara Brewing Co is a new regional-scale craft brewery with a production capacity of 300,000L/yr. Their five beers are sold online, and at over 30 venues and bottle shops across Queensland. Jack will talk about isolating yeasts locally, social enterprise beer, crowd funding campaigns, and ways to reduce environmental impact.


Best Practice Software, chief relationship officer Lorraine Pyefinch will outline how she and her GP husband created not one, but two highly successful medical software businesses over 25 years. Their current venture, Best Practice Software is now Australian market leader in general practice software with over 12,000 doctor customers. They service approximately one third of Australasian Ophthalmology Specialists and have a growing Allied Health market share in Australia and New Zealand.  The business employs 85 staff across four sites: the Bundaberg Operations Hub BPHQ, Brisbane, Sydney and Hamilton (NZ).    


Agricultural Microbes, industrial hemp breeder David Gillespie will talk about industrial hemp as a rotational crop for cane and vegetable growers. Whole houses can be built from hemp, except for the frame. It can make a wide range of biodegradable and industrial plastics, without the need to modify existing machinery. Hemp is also versatile as an environmentally friendly oil and fibre crop. David has bred six new varieties of hemp over ten years.   




CQUniversity, Wide Bay Burnett Region Associate Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andy Bridges will discuss STEM related programs available at the Bundaberg campus, such as Accident Investigation, Engineering, Health Promotion, Occupational Therapy, Psychology and Physiotherapy. He’ll also talk about the three main areas of research that have grown in strength locally in recent times: Horticulture, Gambling Behaviour and Community Resilience.


CQUniversity, School of Business and Law, Associate Lecturer, Tim Whan teaches management, economics and marketing and is deeply passionate about ensuring students have the skills required in the newly globalised century. Tim will talk about three key ingredients to successfully market your competitive edge in science to your customers, contacts and community.


CQUniversity, Director of the Institute for Future Farming, Professor Phil Brown will talk about the contribution scientists have made and continue to make to Australia’s fruit and vegetable industries, to provide the high quality fruit and vegetable products we all consume today.  Bundaberg is one of the best places on the planet to see science and innovation in horticulture, with the industry producing $500m of fruits, nuts and vegetables each year.


CQUniversity, Engineering Lecturer, Doctor Benjamin Taylor helped establish undergraduate engineering courses at the University in 2013, and has now expanded the courses to include full programs in  Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. Ben’s focus on hydrology and water resource engineering has earned him recognition from the Society for Sustainability and Environment Engineering and Engineers Without Borders Australia. Ben will travel to India with several engineering students for the 2016 Humanitarian Design Summit.   


CQUniversity, Discipline Leader Physiotherapy, Professor Tony Schneiders will talk about his work to-date in developing a global tool for identifying concussion in sports participants. Tony’s expertise lies in the on-field and sideline detection and management of sports-related concussion. Head-injury in sport continues to dominate media coverage of sporting injuries and can have both catastrophic and long-term consequences for athletes.

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