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Research Partnership Unlocks Vital Information
AN INNOVATIVE partnership to further understand Gladstone harbour is underway with Gladstone Ports Corporation’s (GPC) environment specialist Dr Megan Ellis, joining CQUniversity’s research team.
For the past four months, Dr Ellis has been working with the CQUniversity’s researchers at the Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC) to develop a research strategy to address some of the key environmental challenges facing the harbour.
Dr Ellis said so far the unique experience has been rewarding for both GPC and CQU as well as herself.
“It’s been great to meet with CMERC researchers and discover more about the research they are undertaking, both by talking with them and getting involved in the research,” she said.
“Last month I kayaked adjacent to Fisherman’s Landing to collect sensor data with PhD student Rory Mulloy, whose scholarship is co-funded by GPC and CQU. Rory’s project is all about using ‘working with nature’ approaches to increase biodiversity on and adjacent to the seawalls.”
Chief Operating Officer Craig Walker said GPC and CQU share a geographical footprint in Rockhampton, Bundaberg and Gladstone and are key contributors to the community, with a combined expertise.
“Connecting industry with a research and education partner means that young people from Central Queensland don’t need to leave the region to study, especially when we have excellent facilities,” he said.
“The secondment of our environmental specialist Megan, is an ideal collaboration between GPC and CQU’s CMERC research team to identify and address challenges,”
“This would not be possible without a strong relationship between our organisations that has been built on a willingness for excellence in this region.”
CQUniversity’s CMERC Director Emma Jackson said having a local research organisation with the knowledge and capabilities to support sustainable port operations is a win-win for industry, community and the environment.
“The number one reason people leave regional areas is for education, and once they’re gone it’s incredibly hard to lure back the skilled workers we need,” Associate Professor Jackson said.
“Our common goal is ensuring sustainable and healthy Port operations through economic, environmental and social research that’s focussed on delivering practical solutions,” she said.
The research aligns with the partnership’s strategy of taking a holistic view beyond purely environmental research, and connecting it with other aspects of GPC’s business and CQU’s economics and social science research.
The research partnership follows after CQUniversity and GPC signed a Memorandum of Understanding
(MoU) last June, to work together in becoming world leaders in port research and operations.