$1 million boost for QUT biotech research

Wednesday, 12 April, 2006

Scientists from Queensland University of Technology have been awarded more than $1 million in new Smart State grants.

The funding is to boost research into wound healing, turning sugarcane waste into commercial products and improving the viability of ethanol production. The largest funding of the grants is $600,000 from Queensland's State Government's Innovation Projects Fund to help QUT researchers develop a sugarcane biorefinery pilot plant.

QUT's Professor James Dale said scientists wanted to use the pilot plant to determine the commercial viability of turning sugarcane waste into lignin - an ingredient of resins and adhesives - and extracting glucose fermentables that could be used in ethanol production.

He said the grant covered the development of the pilot plant project, with the university seeking more funding for its construction at a later date in Mackay. Two other leading researchers from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation have also been awarded prestigious Smart State Fellowships this week.

Professor Zee Upton will receive a $300,000 Smart State Senior Fellowship for her research into wound repair and skin tissue regeneration.

Dr Mark Harrison will receive a $150,000 Smart State Fellowship for his work on transforming sugarcane waste into a sustainable, renewable and efficient bioethanol energy source.

Both projects are currently being commercialised through industry partners.

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