Institute for Future


09 December 2016

Industrial biotech expert QUT Professor Ian O’Hara is to be Queensland’s biofutures ambassador, spearheading the growth industry’s drive into the Asia-Pacific.

State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said Professor O’Hara would bring vital technical and commercial experience to the Palaszczuk Government’s campaign to turn biofutures into a $1 billion industry.

“Prof O’Hara has a national and international reputation in both industry and the research sector,” Dr Lynham said.

“He understands how our agricultural and waste industries run and how to unlock more value from them using industrial biotech.

 “His knowledge and networks will be instrumental in attracting and securing domestic and international investment in Queensland’s biofutures industry.”

“Professor O’Hara will also provide strategic technical advice to government on this new industry, which is adding value to Queensland’s world-class agricultural and research sectors and creating jobs, particularly in our regions.”

The Palaszczuk Government is investing almost $20 million over three years to expand the biofutures industry into an Asia-Pacific biofutures hub.

“Biofutures is the obvious growth industry for Queensland with its natural advantages - climate, energy-dense and productive feedstocks and world-leading agricultural and industrial biotechnology expertise,” Dr Lynham said.

Prof O’Hara’s appointment follows this week’s two-day US Navy Biofutures Forum in Brisbane.

Dr Lynham said Professor O’Hara’s skills and experience that spans scientific and engineering research through to business strategy and commercial operations in both the agricultural and industrial biotechnology sectors.

QUT Deputy Vice-Chancellor (research and Commercialisation) Professor Arun Sharma said Professor O’Hara’s appointment reflected QUT’s strong industry focussed research agenda. He said Professor O’Hara had established national and international research partnerships to advance the development of bioproduct technologies and industries.

“Professor O’Hara is an international leader in research to convert agricultural waste into valuable products such as plastics, chemicals and fuels,” Professor Sharma said.

 Professor O’Hara said developments in technologies in biofuels and bioproducts were creating new industries around the world and that by working together, Queensland's government, research and industry sectors had the expertise necessary to capture these opportunities for Queensland.

“Queensland has much to gain from the strategic development of biofutures industries which will create revenue and jobs by making valuable products from wastes,” Professor O’Hara said.

Media contact: Rose Trapnell, QUT media team leader, 07 3138 2361 or 0407 585 901

Professor Ian O'Hara (left) has been appointed as a biofutures industry envoy by Queensland Government Minister for State Development Anthony Lynham.


Institute for Future Environments

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    Institute for Future Environments
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