Westpac Scholars Trust Aids Sustainable Future

University of Queensland

Two University of Queensland (UQ) researchers have shared more than $500,000 in funding from the Westpac Scholars Trust to tackle major sustainability challenges facing Australia.

Environmental economist, Dr Andrea La Nauze is the recipient of the prestigious 2023 Westpac Research Fellowship.

Dr La Nauze will use her Fellowship funding to measure the costs of poor air quality to better inform policy makers, communities and researchers as they consider monitoring guidelines and environmental standards.

“More than 3,000 Australians are dying every year because of air pollution, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, and climate change is exacerbating poor air quality through events such as bushfires,” Dr La Nauze said.

“My research will look at the benefits of using low-cost home monitors to measure people’s exposure to pollution, improve estimates of the costs, and explore ways to address air quality.”

Dr La Nauze, from UQ’s School of Economics, said insights from her research would inform the debate about how Australia thinks – and acts – for the environment.

UQ PhD student Tori Millsteed has been named a 2023 Westpac Future Leader for research on increasing crop yields through genetics.

“To feed Australia’s growing population and keep pace with climate change, agricultural production must intensify, but many current farming practices are harmful to the environment,” Ms Millsteed said.

“Growing up as a country kid in regional Western Australia made me acutely aware of sustainability issues in agriculture. This Westpac award has enabled me to pursue research I’m passionate about and help create greater resilience in food security.”

Tori has also received a scholarship from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Success in Nature and Agriculture.

Meanwhile, UQ Maths and Economics undergraduate student, Sara Watson, has received a Westpac Asian Exchange Scholarship.

“I am eager to use my Japanese language skills to bridge the gap between Australia’s great offerings in data analytics and Japan’s exciting future in data and contribute to growth in both economies,” Ms Watson said.

“This scholarship will allow me to build on my passion for cross-cultural communication and look for growth opportunities in technology industries.”

More information is available from the Westpac Scholars Trust website.

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