The Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development, Kate Jones, awarded Advance Queensland Fellowships to three female researchers from Griffith University’s Australian Rivers Institute (ARI).

This major achievement highlights that the ‘women in STEM’ movement is healthy and powering ahead at Griffith. ARI members Dr Fernanda Adame, Dr Hannah Franklin and Dr Shima Ziajahromi have all received Fellowships to fund their individual projects.

“It’s great to see that Women in STEM are leading the way at Griffith in securing Advance Queensland funding, and it’s even more exciting that all three of us are from the Australian Rivers Institute,” says Dr Fernanda Adame.

“This funding from Advance Queensland will help with some truly unique and innovative projects, we will gain some major insight into how we can better manage our agriculture, water and environments from our individual research projects.

“My project will be investigating how wetlands can improve water quality of the Great Barrier Reef, a critical area of research as we need to understand all health factors relating to the reef and its future viability.”

Dr Hannah Franklin, also one of the three Advance Queensland Fellows, has her eyes set on determining how natural river processes treat water in the Queensland region.

“We rely heavily on healthy waterways for clean drinking water, my collaborative project with Seqwater and Healthy Land and Water will help us understand how natural river processes improve water quality. Once we understand these processes we have the ability to recommend ways to enhance beneficial functions that can sustain healthy waterways in Queensland.”

Dr Shima Ziajahromi’s Advance Queensland Fellowship will help further understand the impact that microplastics in biosolids are having on agricultural land and soil biota. Currently, biosolids, which is treated wastewater that forms a sludge, is sprayed onto agriculture farmland throughout Queensland.

“Trillions of microplastics are sprayed onto farms each day through the application of spraying biosolids to increase soil productivity. We need to further understand what negative effects this is having on agricultural land. I really hope this research will help inform the agricultural industry and governments on cropping land management in Queensland,” says Dr Shima Ziajahromi.

A final awardee of Advance Queensland funding from Griffith was given to Chiara Santomauro (currently an adjunct at University of Queensland), whose project will explore the use of telecommunications to help rural medical staff get access to experts in cities.