Year to Become More at USQ

USQ Vice-Chancellor reflects on a busy year for the University and looks ahead to the next 12 months

USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie said the New Year opened up a myriad of new opportunities.

“Our message in 2019 is – Become More,” Professor Mackenzie said.

“USQ has a strong history in delivering industry-relevant educational programs.

“This year we will have even more great degree programs for students to choose from, more exciting research to make new discoveries, and more partnerships with the community to help business and industry.”

Continuing its commitment to research, USQ will launch its new Agricultural Science and Engineering Precinct (ASEP) early this year.

“This will support our world class agricultural and environmental science research, so that we remain a national leader in cropping and biotechnology research,” she said.  

“This will help farmers with more accurate information for improved cropping.”

In partnership with the Grains Research and Development Corporation, USQ will also unveil the new glasshouses which will enrich research projects for the agriculture industry. 

Professor Mackenzie said USQ was renowned for its online programs and flexibility, and in 2019 this would continue.

“We are introducing a range of flexible business programs, so that you can dip in and out of study, whether it’s a mini course or a full degree,” she said.

And as always, employability of graduates will be the top of our agenda, Professor Mackenzie said.

“USQ is rated best in Queensland for employability. We lead the way in graduate employment rates and median starting salary according to The Good Universities Guide,” she said.

The 2019 guide revealed the median salary for USQ graduates was $63,800, the highest in Australia.

“Our graduates have Australia’s highest starting salary because we produce practical, job-ready graduates, ready to step straight out into the workplace. 

“Industries are changing rapidly and the challenges people face are more complex.

“These results demonstrate that our graduates are more employable, more skilled and more relevant.”

2019 initiatives and research projects:

  • The Agricultural Science and Engineering Precinct (ASEP) opening in early 2019 will help supplement current USQ research into crop production, harvesting, and yield outputs and will provide farmers with more accurate information for improved crop returns on their farming methods.
  • ARC projects commencing in 2019: Researchers at USQ were successful in sharing in over $1.8M of research grants from the Australian research Council in late 2018. A total of five USQ-led projects will commence in 2019, as well as three projects led by other institutions involving USQ staff. 
  • Discovering new worlds – TESS: USQ researchers have expanded their role in the discovery and characterisation of worlds beyond Earth, following the successful launch of NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission in early 2018. USQ is host to the only Southern Hemisphere site fully dedicated to this work at the University’s Mount Kent Observatory. This collection of six telescopes at Mount Kent Observatory is dedicated to nothing but the search for and characterisation of planets around other stars. USQ astronomers will continue working closely with the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExSci) collecting and analysing ground-based observations in 2019.
  • Composite rail technology: USQ, Austrak and Laing O’Rourke will continue their partnership to develop composite technology in a $10 million project. The initiative aims to increase innovation and develop new technologies for industries in Australia. The fibre reinforced polymer composites will replace timber rail bridge transoms, which are subject to warping and rotting, proving costly and disruptive due to constant repair. 
  • USQ and World Meteorological Organisation project to aid farmers and agribusiness in South East Asia: USQ researchers will work with the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Vietnam on a major aid project to benefit farmers and agribusiness in South East Asia. The $12 million International Klimat Initiative (IKI) will encompass seasonal climate forecasting and especially innovative insurance solutions to manage climate risk for both the short and longer term horizons.
  • Research Giants program and Eminent Visiting Scholar Scheme (EViSS): USQ will once again host world-leading researchers in 2019 funded by the Research Giants program and Eminent Visiting Scholar Scheme (EViSS).
  • Graduate Research School: Effective from late 2018, the Graduate Research School (GRS), led by the Dean, Professor Peter Terry has responsibility for all researcher development and training initiatives (ReDTrain), recruitment and admissions, and coordination of industry internships. The GRS also provides support structures for all Higher Degree by Research (HDR) programs, prospective and current candidates and supervisory teams, affiliated organisational units and thesis examiners.
  • Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) 2018: ERA 2018 results are expected in early 2019 and USQ will be assessed in more research fields than ever before, including Chemical Sciences, Engineering, Agricultural Sciences and Biological Sciences. ERA identifies excellence in research, by comparing Australia's university research effort against international benchmarks, creating incentives to improve the quality of research and identifying emerging research areas and opportunities for further development.
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USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie says the New Year opens up a myriad of new opportunities.