Talented Local Trailblazers Selected To Boost Brisbane’s Calendar Of Business Events

7 MAY 2024

Industry leaders across MedTech, hypersonics, food science and aviation management will spearhead efforts to attract new business events to Brisbane under the 2023/24 Lord Mayor’s Convention Trailblazer Grant program.

Five high-performing Brisbane-based business and research pioneers will be granted up to $5,000 each to attend a leading international conference in their field of expertise.

The grants enable recipients to expand their professional networks and promote Brisbane as a hub of knowledge and innovation to an international audience, before working with Brisbane Economic Development Agency (BEDA), the city’s official Convention Bureau, to bid for future conferences to be hosted in the city.

The business event industry injects millions of dollars into the city’s economy annually.

In 2023, BEDA, working with key stakeholders, secured 85 new business events to be held in the city between 2023 and 2026, contributing more than $95 million and delivering over 160,000 delegate days.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said Brisbane’s global reputation as a world-class host destination continues to flourish.

“Brisbane is a renowned innovation hub, especially in the fast-growing sectors of science, technology, medtech, tourism and sustainability, making it the perfect destination to host major conferences in these fields,” Cr Schrinner said.

“Our city offers a robust business and technology ecosystem, premium infrastructure and facilities, vibrant lifestyle and bustling entertainment precincts that keep event attendees engaged throughout their stay.

“Attracting business events to Brisbane shines a spotlight on our industries, areas of expertise and homegrown talent while creating significant economic impact for the city.

“I look forward to seeing this year’s outstanding Lord Mayor’s Convention Trailblazer Grant recipients promote Brisbane on an international stage as they attract new events to our wonderful city.”

Leading bioinformatician and genomics scientist Dr Gareth Price received a grant in 2018/19 and led the bid supported by BEDA to successfully secure the Galaxy Community Conference for Brisbane in 2023, the first time it was held in Australia.

The prestigious annual conference, hosted at the Queensland University of Technology, brought together scientists, software developers and trainers from a variety of disciplines across the globe to share their experiences, knowledge and skills.

“As part of winning the grant, I was fortunate to (have the opportunity) to talk about the science our service enables for Queensland and Australian researchers,” Dr Price said.

“Being named as the primary driver for the winning bid for the 2023 Galaxy Community Conference has provided me with national recognition and reputational gain for securing the hosting rights for such an important conference to Australian life science researchers.”

An initiative of BEDA, the Lord Mayor’s Convention Trailblazer Grant was launched in 2017 and has directly resulted in at least six bid wins over four funding rounds, generating more than $9 million for Brisbane’s local economy, and a pipeline of bids in progress for future years.

BEDA CEO Anthony Ryan said the grant program engaged talented local trailblazers as ambassadors to promote Brisbane’s economic, technological and sustainability credentials and attract business events and major conferences in their fields.

“Brisbane’s business events industry has a well-deserved global reputation for delivering exceptional services and unforgettable experiences for delegates,” Mr Ryan said.

“Fuelling this momentum is a $25 billion infrastructure pipeline to cement Brisbane’s standing as the ultimate conference city including new five-star venues, a seamlessly integrated transport network and a beautiful, walkable city.”

Successful recipients of the 2023/24 Lord Mayor’s Convention Trailblazer Grant are:

Professor John Fraser is dedicated to creating technology and devices to revolutionise emergency treatment for life-threatening conditions. He is, Founder and Director of the Critical Care Research Group, Founder and Chief Medical Officer of De Motu Cordis (Australia) and Director of the Intensive Care Unit at St Andrew's War Memorial Hospital.

Dr Chris James is an Amplify Senior Lecturer in the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering at the University of Queensland and a distinguished researcher in the field of hypersonics. His work aims to push the boundaries of hypersonics research and make significant contributions to the field.

Dr Raisa Rudge is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) at The University of Queensland, dedicated to advancing plant-based protein sciences. Specialising in the physics of soft matter, she pioneers innovative concepts in food research.

Dr Tamara Sopek is the Vice Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellow for Women in STEMM at the University of Southern Queensland (Brisbane City campus). Her overarching research goal is to propel advancements in hypersonics and rocketry research on both national and international scales.

Dr Bojana Spasojevic is an interdisciplinary researcher in tourism and air transport management, and lecturer in aviation management, at Griffith University. Her research is dedicated to advancing air transport and tourism to improve the travel experience and benefit businesses and tourists alike.

Recipients receive grants of up to $5,000 to attend their nominated international conference between 1 July 2024 and 30 June 2025.

Lord Mayor's Trailblazer Grant