07 February 2018

Some of the most innovative and entrepreneurial minds from across the world are this week brainstorming ideas for the sustainability of the natural wonder that is the Great Barrier Reef.

Professor Rowena Barrett (pictured below) is leading a group from the MIT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Bootcamp – Future of Sustainability Bootcamp to Lady Elliot Island, before the event begins at QUT on February 10-16.

The coral cay at the southern tip of the reef is located in the Marine National Park “green zone” that protects the reef’s biodiversity.

Once there, they will be joined by scientists from CSIRO as well as leading innovators and entrepreneurs including:-

  • Ben Southall from the Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur and former winner of the Best Job in the World in 2009
  • Wayne Gerard, CEO of RedEye
  • Peter Gash, Managing Director of Lady Elliot Island
  • Dr Christopher Doropoulos, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow CSIRO      

Professor Rowena Barrett says throughout the trek, participants are encouraged to think about and plan actions that they can do to address the sustainability challenges facing the reef.

“By seeing the beauty of the reef first hand we can find ways to work together to try to ensure it remains a natural wonder for years to come,” Professor Barrett said.

“It is only through innovative thinking, harnessing science, technology and people that the challenges the reef faces can be addressed.”

Professor Barrett said an estimated 69,000 people are employed by industries associated with the Great Barrier Reef.

“Fisheries provide hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue while tourism based on the Great Barrier Reef is estimated to provide $6 billion to the Australian economy,” she said.

The focus of the bootcamp is on technology enabled innovation for mining, agriculture and the environment.

Up to 130 participants will converge on QUT’s Gardens Point campus from Saturday to scale up solutions for sustainability challenges important to the Queensland economy.

It is the second year in a row MIT Bootcamps has chosen Queensland to deliver its entrepreneurship program, in partnership with Advance Queensland.

Media contacts:
Debra Nowland, QUT Media, 07 3138 1150 (Mon/Wed/Thurs) or
After hours: Rose Trapnell, 0407 585 901



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