Five Griffith University academics have been recognised for their role in boosting the Gold Coast economy by attracting conferences to the city.

Professor Ljubo Vlacic (School of Engineering), Professor Peter Milburn (School of Allied Health Sciences), Professor Paul Burton (Urban Research Program), Professor Mark von Itzstein (Institute for Glycomics) and Professor Michael Blumenstein (School of ICT) have each received a City of Gold Coast Business Ambassador Award, presented by Mayor Tom Tate.

The award recognises influential leaders in the community who have continued to secure major conferences for the city, thereby injecting millions of dollars into the local economy and exposing the city to fresh ideas, research and innovation courtesy of thousands of visiting delegates.

The award officially acknowledges the Griffith academics as Gold Coast Tourism Business Events Ambassadors. The Ambassador program aims to unite influential leaders from key local industries to proactively promote the Gold Coast to the rest of the world through their industry networks.

Head of the School of ICT, Professor Blumenstein said he was honoured to receive the award as it was important to profile the research strengths of Griffith University while at the same time showcasing the Gold Coast as a world-class destination.

“I involve myself in organising these conferences because as an academic it is important to profile our research and facilitate meaningful connections between researchers,” he said.

“Conferences also serve the important purpose of enabling top international researchers to visit the Gold Coast, which facilitates ongoing collaborations.”

Griffith University academics with City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate after receiving the Gold Coast Ambassador Award.

Griffith University academics with City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate after receiving the Gold Coast Ambassador Award.

In 2014, Professor Blumenstein helped organise the Pacific Rim Artificial Intelligence Conference and the 17th International Conference on Principles and Practice of Multi Agent Systems. He was also involved in bringing the 7th Asian Biological Inorganic Chemistry Conference to the city, which was organised by Professor Sue Berners-Price, of the Institute for Glycomics.

Professor von Itzstein, Executive Director for the Institute for Glycomics, recently hosted Sialoglyco 2014, an international conference on sialic acid research.

Gold Coast Tourism Director of Business Events, Ms Anna Case, said ambassadors were an integral part of achieving increased business events for the city.

“Ambassadors volunteer their time and expertise when they step forward to bid for a conference. The events they help to deliver not only contribute to the economy, they enrich our city with opportunities to host world leaders and industry experts as delegates attending conferences on the Gold Coast.”

About Griffith’s new Gold Coast Business Ambassadors

Professor Ljubo Vlacic

Professor Vlacic is a member ofGriffith’s School of Engineeringand Director of its Intelligent Control Systems Laboratory. His career has included a number of positions with both industry and academia. This experience includes the design, development, field-testing and deployment of a variety of sophisticated electronic devices for industrial control applications.

Professor Peter Milburn

Professor Milburn is a member of the Griffith School of Allied Health Sciences with research expertise in:

  • Cervical and lumbar spine degeneration in recreational and occupational activities
  • Forensic and occupational biomechanics
  • Gait analysis
  • Surface contour measurement using stereophotogrammetry
  • Assessment of shock absorbing properties of protective wear

Professor Paul Burton

Professor Burton is the Acting Director (Gold Coast) of the Urban Research Program. His research interests span a number of fields including:

  • Professional identities and performance among Australian planners — current ethnographic research among planners in South East Queensland;
  • Public participation and community engagement in theory and practice;
  • Urbanisation of the Gold Coast;
  • Urban agriculture and food security

Professor Mark von Itzstein

Professor von Itzstein is the Director and Principal Research Leader for the Institute for Glycomics. His research interests include:

  • Biology and Chemistry of Carbohydrates
  • Rational Drug Design
  • Enzymes in Organic Synthesis
  • Enzyme Mechanisms
  • New Synthetic Methods
  • Organic Synthesis
  • Biochemistry of Carbohydrate Recognising Proteins

Professor Michael Blumenstein

Professor Blumenstein is the Head of the School of Information and Communication Technology. He has many achievements in the field of artificial intelligence and was also named as one of Australia’s Top 10 Emerging Leaders in Innovation in The Australian newspaper’s Top 100 Emerging Leaders Series. His research expertise includes pattern recognition, automated handwriting recognition, video analysis and object detection, image processing and artificial intelligence.