Qld Govt invests in open data, startups, STEM


news The Queensland Government made a number of announcements yesterday revealing how the state is investing in a number of areas, including open data, innovative startups and STEM training for teachers.

Firstly, the State Government said it is “tapping into an international network” to realise the potential of open data via a funding agreement with the Open Data Institute Queensland (ODIQ).

Making the announcement, Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch said the two-year, $400,000 funding agreement with ODIQ will “maximise the benefits of having open and transparent access to government data”.

“Nationally, the value of this data has been estimated at up to $25 billion a year and if we can tap into this potential, the benefit to the Queensland economy is obvious,” Enoch said.

“Open data is one of the building blocks to create the knowledge-based jobs of the future,” she added. “It can enable research and innovation, stimulate startups, drive productivity and build on our natural advantages.”

ODIQ is the first Australian arm of the United Kingdom-based Open Data Institute, which aims to “connect, equip and inspire people around the world to innovate with data”.

Enoch said the partnership would provide the Queensland Government with the opportunity to “better tap into the Institute’s local and international open data community”, which includes startups, businesses, researchers and academia.

In its second announcement, the Queensland Government revealed the first two projects to receive funding from the $10 million Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas Fund.

They are: an alarm to help reduce fatalities on Queensland farms from quad bike rollovers and a “world-first” wireless data link for virtual reality technology.

The fund was recently set up to provide grants to small businesses in Queensland to bring innovative new products and services to the market and “create the knowledge-based jobs of the future”.

A total of 39 applicants were successful in the program’s first round, representing a funding commitment of $5.65 million, the State Government said in a statement.

Enoch – who is also Minister for Small Business – said she was “excited” by the first announcements under the program, adding that more will follow in the coming weeks.

Finally, more than 1500 state school teachers this week were provided with courses to help them “upskill” in science and maths.

Queensland’s Education Minister, Kate Jones, said the training was part of the State Government’s $3 million STEM professional development program, which is available to all teachers.

“1502 teachers were accepted in round one to study one of seven online courses with Griffith University and Queensland University of Technology,” Jones said.

She said the courses were “overwhelmed with applications”, with more than 2,500 teachers applying.

“That’s why from today we will open further registrations to give more teachers an opportunity to take part,” she said.

Of the total, 500 teachers signed up to upskill in coding and robotics – a “priority area” in the state’s Advancing Education action plan.

“Teachers are critical to our success in building schools of the future and the STEM professional development program will ultimately benefit students as well,” said Jones.


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