Wetland conservation,Ross River virus, Antarctic ecosystems and cognitive performance in thermal environments — these diverse topics and the role of women in STEM are what a group of Griffith researchers hope to shine a light on.

Voting for the 2019 Queensland Women in STEM Prize is open, and four researchers from Griffith are hopingtheir individual projects attract the eyes and votes of the stateand beyond.

PhD candidate Eloise Stephenson, Dr FernandaAdameand Dr Jenny Allen from Griffith’s School of Environment and Science, and Dr Fan Zhang from the School of Engineering and Built Environment have submitted entries into thisyearscompetition.

Eloise Stephenson’s research is focused on better understanding the epidemiology of Ross River virus by investigating the ecology of wild animal reservoirs and their role in the amplification of the disease. Her project entry unites experts from veterinary medicine, public health and entomology to sample more than 700animals, andcount over 70,000 mosquitoes to look more closely at the transmission of Ross River virus.

The research of Dr Fan Zhang focuses on architectural science and indoor environmental engineering fields, with a primary focus on thermal comfort, cognitive performance and productivity in learning and office environments, post occupancy evaluation and workspace strategy & design. Her project investigates how various indoor environmental conditions affect occupants’ physical health, mental performance and social well-being.

Dr FernandaAdamefocuses onthe role of wetlands for sequestering carbon and for improving water quality.This informationcan be used to participate in carbon and nitrogen markets where we can “sell” the benefits of wetlands (nitrogen removed, carbon emissions avoided) and get funds that can be reinvested into wetland conservation. DrAdame’sprimary aimis to deliver science that that is useful to improve the protection and management of wetlands.

The research of DrJenny Allen focuses on Antarctic ecosystems and their susceptibility to climate change. Her projectinvestigates the possible use of humpback whale song in monitoring Antarctic ecosystem health.

This state-wide competition is open to early to mid-career women working in STEM careers whose practice benefits Queenslanders.

Three cash prizes of $5,000 are available:

  • Jury Award awarded to the most meritorious applicant, as determined by a panel of esteemed judges
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Jury Award awarded totothe most meritorious Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicant, as determined by a panel of esteemed judges
  • People’s Choice Award awarded to the applicant with the highest number of public votes.

Previous winners are feeding the world throughsustainable livestock production;establishing new manufacturing industriesand advancing medical science throughdrug discoveryand improvedunderstanding of immune responses.

The 2019 Queensland Women in STEM Prize is presented byQueensland Museum,Queensland GovernmentandBHP Foundation.

Finalists will be announced onMarch 18with the overall winner announced on March 24.

Visit the 2019 Queensland Women in STEM Prizewebsite to cast your vote.