Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has appointed an engineering expert to drive the Government’s plan to make Queensland a world centre of engineering excellence.


Materials engineer, Professor Graham Schaffer has agree to take the position as Special Advisor for the new Smart Engineering State initiative.


Professor Schaffer will be appointed to the position for a period of three months on secondment from his substantive role as Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture & Information Technology at The University of Queensland.


“I believe it is now time for our State to seek to grow its reputation as a world centre of engineering excellence and if we build it they will come,” said the Premier.


“Capturing the benefits of the minerals and energy driven boom will require access to high quality engineers and engineering solutions.


“This in turn will require investment in enhancing Queensland as a leader in innovation in engineering and greater collaboration between the engineering industry, engineering researchers and engineering educators. I have long held the view that the 21st Century will be defined as the Asia Pacific Century. The opportunities this presents for Queensland’s industries, particularly the resources sector, will be of critical importance, not just for the future growth and prosperity of our own economy, but for the developing world. Queensland’s natural resources have the potential to help lift millions of people in countries like China and India out of poverty.


“The challenge for Government, however, is to ensure Queensland maximises this opportunity and moves beyond the stark, inescapable truth that our finite mineral and energy resources can only ever be developed once.


“If Queensland is to continue growing as the Smart State, we need to continue developing our human capital. The Asia Pacific Century will need our intellectual property and technical capability in fields like high-end engineering and mining services just as much as our physical resources.”


Professor Schaffer’s role as Special Advisor will be to craft a vision and develop a plan for positioning Queensland as a Smart Engineering State, in consultation with the minerals, energy, services, education and research communities.


Professor Schaffer will commence his role as Special Advisor on 6 February 2012. Over the course of early 2012 he will seek to meet with stakeholders and industry representatives to discuss ideas and perspectives on positioning Queensland as a Smart Engineering State.

At the end of Professor Schaffer’s appointment, a series of recommendations will be provided to Government, via the Smart State Council chaired by Queensland Chief Scientist, Dr Geoff Garrett.