In a fitting start to the 2018 International Year of the Reef, a $2 million innovation challenge is seeking novel solutions to boost coral abundance on the Great Barrier Reef and restore reefs.
Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg, Acting Queensland Minister for Innovation Shannon Fentiman and Queensland Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch today launched the jointly funded challenge which is being run through the Advance Queensland Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) initiative.
“This is an open invitation to our greatest scientific minds, industry and business leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs to develop innovative solutions which will protect corals and encourage the recovery of damaged reefs,” Minister Frydenberg said.
“The Reef is the planet’s greatest living wonder. The scale of the problem is big and big thinking is needed, but it’s important to remember that solutions can come from anywhere.
“Solutions could focus on anything from reducing the exposure of corals to physical stressors, to boosting coral regeneration rates by cultivating reef-building coral larvae that attract other important marine species.”
The challenge is supported by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland initiative.
“Sometimes the best solution to a problem can be looking at it from a different angle and approaching it in a new way,” Acting Minister Fentiman said.
“This program is a way of encouraging researchers and innovators from different fields around the world to come together to tackle a problem and to seek solutions from a broad range of expertise and experience.
“It’s about giving the best and brightest experts in science and innovation in the world a chance to address the biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef.”
Minister Leeanne Enoch urged those applying to be fearless with their approach, saying the scale of reef recovery demanded progressive methodology that packaged many great ideas into a comprehensive plan for change.
“It also needs to be mindful of the Traditional Owners and multiple users of the Reef, including tourism operators, recreational and commercial fishers and local and international visitors,” Minister Enoch said.
“We’re looking for concepts that will ultimately reverse the trajectory of coral decline and strengthen the health of the Reef – a turnaround which is critical for the survival of this globally-recognised natural wonder.”
Applications are now open and invited from across Australia and around the world for the Advance Queensland Small Business Innovation Research challenge: Boosting coral abundance on the Great Barrier Reef. For more information, please visit: http://advance.qld.gov.au