For the past decade, the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC) has partnered with Queensland’s elite scientific community to deliver benefits and create new legacies for the city. During this time, the BCEC Convention Advocates Partnership has seen 84 people become advocates, 127 conferences be secured for Brisbane and $171.9 million in direct expenditure be delivered to the state.

Against the backdrop of COVID-19, the BCEC advocates have been busily continuing their work in leading research and development. For instance, Professor Hugh Possingham – a mathematician, environmentalist and conservationist – has been appointed Queensland chief scientist, advising government on all scientific matters.

He will continue his career solving nature conservation problems, while engaging Queenslanders to take greater community interest in science through citizen science programs and inspiring young Queenslanders to consider science careers.

Professor Possingham was most recently chief scientist at The Nature Conservancy, a global conservation organisation with 400 scientists and 4000 staff that has protected more than 40 million hectares of land and thousands of kilometres of rivers worldwide.

Recognised as a world leader in cancer control, Advocate Professor Jeff Dunn AO, has been voted President-Elect of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), to assume the role of President for the period 2022 – 2024.  Professor Dunn, CEO of Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia, is an internationally recognised researcher, widely acclaimed for his work across the social and behavioural aspects of cancer and promotion of innovative and integrated cancer care programs. 

Professor Matt Cooper is a scientific entrepreneur who spends his time in industry within companies he has founded, and in academia where he generates original ideas with potential to be translated into new medicines and diagnostics.

Announced as this year’s EY Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year for Ireland, professor Cooper and business partner, Trinity immunologist Professor Luke O’Neill recently sold Inflazome, the drug development company they founded, to Swiss pharma giant Roche.

When he is not treading the boards of international big business, professor Cooper can be found at The University of Queensland where he is director, Community for Open Antibiotic Drug Discovery at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, working to improve the way we understand, diagnose and treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria that cause sepsis and other infections.  He hopes to help prevent the arrival of a ‘superbug crisis’, which he refers to as the perfect storm.

BCEC Advocate Mario Pennisi AM, a giant in Queensland’s Life Sciences sector and on the boards of a number of life sciences entities, including as a director of the Queensland Eye Institute Foundation was recently awarded an Order of Australia for his significant service to the biomedical sector.

He continues to support and nurture the industry, involved with the Queensland Government Biofutures Industry Advisory Group, sitting on the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Council and other engagements and committees for both Griffith University and The University of Queensland.