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Medical engineering researcher awarded STEM Travel Grant

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Naomi Paxton

The successful recipient of Campus Travel and Virgin Australia’s Travel Grant: Recognising women in STEM is a PhD student working in a research field that interfaces medical engineering, biology and tissue engineering.

Queensland University of Technology PhD student Naomi Paxton was awarded the travel grant this year, which attracted 1068 submissions during the two month application period.

Female academics, researchers and PhD students working in any of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) fields were invited to apply for the $6,000 travel grant.

Applicants were asked to submit 500 words on their project or research and share with the judges how they would further their work with help from the travel grant. All of the applications were then evaluated using a standardised judging criteria.

General Manager of Campus Travel, Cathryn Cole said Campus’ Travel Grant Committee was delighted to see so many applications flood in.

“The interest and engagement we’ve had with this year’s travel grant has far exceeded any of the travel grants we have run before, which is a delight to see and amazing to be a part of,” Ms Cole said.

“Australia has extremely intelligent women working in these fields. There were so many inspiring and worthwhile applications that were submitted, it was challenging to narrow the applications down to one per state and then to the final recipient.

“That’s why this year, we asked academics – who are leaders in their fields, to be part of the judging process in each state and also for the finalist judging event that was held here at the Flight Centre Travel Group head office in Brisbane. With so many applications across a broad array of STEM fields, it helped this year to have the professional input from people who are experts in those fields.”

The three academics who participated in the final judging panel included:

  • Professor Stuart Crozier – Associate Dean of Research, Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology, The University of Queensland
  • Professor Hilary Bambrick – Head of School, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology
  • Professor John Bartlett – Executive Dean, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast


Professor Hilary Bambrick said it was an ‘outstanding field of applicants from all over the country’.

“Each one of the finalists is at the forefront of their field, helping to create the future through their work in STEM. They are inspirational and deserving ambassadors for girls and women interested in research,” Professor Bambrick said.

Virgin Australia also had two representatives attend the final judging event including Karen Balfe, VA’s QLD’s Government and Universities Account Manager and Adam Humphries – VA’s National Universities and Government Manager.

The 2017 travel grant recipient is six months into her PhD and is completing the course as part of QUT’s ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre in Additive Biomanufacturing. Her research is being championed through collaborations with medical device company, Anatomics and Professor Molly Stevens at Imperial College London.

Naomi said she was very grateful to have received the grant, which would make it possible for her to further her research and work with a leader in the field, Professor Molly Stevens at the Imperial College London.

She said the trip would enable her to work alongside Professor Stevens in the UK to advance her work on novel bioactive scaffolds, following which she would return to Australia to share her findings with the team at QUT.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for a PhD student like myself,” Naomi said. “It can be quite difficult for younger researchers to secure funding. This trip is vital for my PhD project and also an amazing opportunity to collaborate with our partner labs internationally. I am so fortunate to have Prof Mia Woodruff and Prof Molly Stevens as such inspirational female role models supervising my research.”

For more information on Naomi and more about her research please visit the Campus Travel website.

Campus Travel
Marketing and Media Manager
Sally Gordon
Mb: 0412 492 433


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