The Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (DESI) boosts Queensland’s research capability with more than $14M in funding announced for new innovative projects

From next-gen renewable energy research to habitat loss mitigation; the Queensland Government has unveiled the recipients of this year’s Research Infrastructure Co-Investment Fund (RICF), which celebrates some of the state’s most forward-thinking and important projects in the areas of health, renewable energies, science, and technology.

In the 2024 round, the Research Infrastructure Co-investment Fund sees the government award close to $15,000,000 (excluding GST) over three years to 8 research facilities to maintain and grow leading-edge science and innovation capabilities and optimise world-class research infrastructure to support a thriving innovation ecosystem in Queensland that drives ideas through to commercialisation, adoption and diffusion.

Designed to support existing or establish new Queensland research capability of national significance, the RICF sees the government partner with universities, research facilities and industry to help deliver research infrastructure projects that maintain and grow research capabilities across the state.

In 2024, funding through the RICF will be allocated to important projects, including, the National Drone Research Platform at The University of Queensland which aims to build the state’s resilience against habitat loss, climate change and geohazards; the National Imaging Facility’s work on supercharging our understanding of the human brain; and the Australian National Fabrication Facility’s research on world-class cutting-edge micro and nano fabrication which is essential to Queensland’s scientific and economic future and plays an important role in the states long-term vision for the state to remain at the forefront of quantum and advanced technology research in Australia.

From growing expertise and the workforce in biomedical imaging – which has the potential to assist thousands of doctors and scientists across Queensland – to the latest in renewable energy and infrastructure, advanced batteries, resource recovery and recycling, the RICF will once again support a thriving research ecosystem in Queensland to drive innovative ideas.

Since 2019, the RICF has been responsible for providing crucial funding support for innovative projects that have played an important role in advancing Queensland and ensuring the state remains at the forefront of innovation, science, health and technology.

Previous recipients of the fund include the National Imaging Facility which was able to upgrade Ultra High Field MRI technology, enabling the mapping of iron deposits in the brain, potentially unlocking the key to understanding what causes dementia and motor neuron disease. The upgraded imaging facilities have supported the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic drugs in Queensland that support critical research in the understanding and treatment of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.

Queensland biotechnology company Vaxxas expects to manufacture millions of needle-free vaccine patches at its newly completed plant at Northshore Hamilton in the next three to five years and support up to 200 local and skilled jobs in a fast-growing global industry. Previous recipient Australian National Fabrication Facility (Queensland) upgraded equipment, enabling the provision of advanced fabrication techniques and nanoscience cleanroom capabilities crucial to helping Vaxxas to develop needle-free vaccine technology.

Queensland Chief Scientist Professor Kerrie Wilson said these are projects with an eye on the nation’s future.

“This funding further boosts Queensland’s key areas of research, ensuring our scientists have leading edge translational research infrastructure in which to do their work.

“Their cutting-edge research with industry opens the doors to future opportunities and help drive the development of new impactful and innovative products for the benefit of Queensland,” she said.

To date, through the Research Infrastructure Co-investment Fund the Queensland Government has invested $26.1 million in critical co-investment across nine national research infrastructure facilities based in Queensland.

The Queensland Government is continuing its investment in critical research infrastructure and will provide new support for the following 8 facilities on projects that are aligned with Queensland research priorities:



Project Description

Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis

Enabling research and innovation for quantum materials and devices.

Establish the Natural Resources Innovation & Characterisation Hub (NRICH) to address challenges, such as the increase in metal demand, higher sensitivity and mixed ore bodies for advanced batteries, renewable energy and quantum technologies, and recovery and recycling of mining waste and more demanding exploration and extraction opportunities for a circular economy.

Australian National Fabrication Facility – Queensland Node


Upgrade and enhance equipment capabilities to advance Queensland’s priority investment areas, including research and commercialisation in next-generation renewable energy and infrastructure, advanced batteries, resource recovery and recycling, biomedical devices and technology platforms, and defence and quantum technologies.

National Imaging Facility – Queensland Node


Bring together Queensland’s leading biomedical imaging partners to grow an expert imaging workforce in future-critical areas such as data pipelines, medical image artificial intelligence, and accessible MRI to translate research into health discoveries and commercialisation.

Therapeutic Innovation Australia Ltd


Establish a Queensland Drug Discovery Alliance to supercharge translation of Queensland’s drug discovery pipeline, train Queensland’s workforce and position the state at the forefront of Asia-Pacific innovation in therapeutic drug discovery development, and translation.

Bioplatforms Australia – Queensland Node



Empowering Queensland Biodiversity and Biomedicine Research with State-of-the-Art ‘Omics Tools and Platforms to underpin biodiversity research and conservation management, and translational biomedical research.

Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network

Natural Capital Markets


Deploy flux and ecohydrology sensors and machine-to-machine data access to meet industry’s need for faster access to near real-time research data and models on the State’s natural and managed (agricultural) ecosystems and the natural capital services they provide, to more effectively address long term pressures such as climate and land use change, introduced species and episodic events such as bush fires and storms.

Australian Plant Phenomics Facility – Queensland Node

Bioeconomy including biofuels and sustainable aviation fuel


Provide new high-throughput phenotyping (imaging and sensing) of growing plants and crops with data processing to develop new plant and crop variety pipelines and management solutions to mitigate climate change effects on farm productivity, including addressing the preservation of nature capital, the development of novel crops and accelerate the goal of carbon-neutral agriculture.

The UQ National Drone Research Platform

Critical mineral processing, manufacturing and product development


Expand the footprint of field deployment sites and repeat surveys within Queensland, to build the State’s resilience against habitat loss, climate change and geohazards. Extend the capability of the infrastructure to supply valuable geoscience data needed by Queensland’s industry to help locate and define resources for the energy transition.

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