S.C. Statehouse Report
Sunday, Aug. 5, 2007
VIEW: http://www.statehousereport.com/columns/07.0805.queen2.htm

Collaborating with Queensland for economic success
By Andy Brack, Publisher

BRISBANE, Queensland, Aug. 5, 2007 - - It's difficult to drive for more than five minutes around this busy metropolis without feeling you are being hit in the face with wave after wave of economic prosperity.

From a public works project on one corner to a new building on another, Brisbane is an upbeat city in the middle of an economic boom years in the making. It feels alive in a way that South Carolina's economic developers probably dream of.

Queensland's economically flush times are built on the back of natural resources - - agriculture and the mining of coal, uranium and other minerals. As the state has invested in physical infrastructure to make it more attractive to business, it also is betting the chips of intellectual and research investments in biotechnology to pay off big in the future.

It is in this area of combining natural resources with technology that Queensland and South Carolina, sister states with about 4 million people each, can collaborate, develop mutually beneficial relationships and, hopefully, create more jobs.

"The efforts in these collaborations help build a stronger science base to build new companies and these companies will have the potential to raise the standard of living for all South Carolinians," said Karl Kelly of SC Bio, a kind of Chamber of Commerce for biotech businesses.

Here's a quick look at some of the collaborations between Queensland and South Carolina that officials from both states hope will pay off:

  • Ethanol production. Scientists with Clemson University, the Savannah River National Lab and Queensland Institute of Technology are working to try to find a way to convert woody biomass into ethanol for energy. They're hoping to discover an efficient process that would take something like leftover sugar cane or sorghum from Queensland or fast-growing switchgrass in South Carolina and turn it into fuel.

  • Nutraceuticals. Rural areas of both states are good at growing things, particularly because of their humid climates. With Clemson's scientists being world leaders in agri-genetics, researchers are probing new ways to grow plants that help pharmaceutical companies create needed new drugs and enzymes.

  • Aquaculture. Scientists in Queensland and South Carolina are looking at improved ways to farm shrimp, which may become more important as fuel costs rise. "By operating this collaboration, we're both getting smarter," Kelly noted.

  • Neuroscience. Earlier this year, the Queensland Brain Institute and the Medical University of South Carolina signed an agreement to work together to develop new treatments for dementia and neurotrauma.

  • Hydrogen. Both states are starting to work together on increasing research into hydrogen as a potential fuel source. South Carolina could expand its already prominent role in this arena by involving sister-state scientists to generate developments quicker than ordinary.


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There are a host of other scientific initiatives between the two states, such as work between them to develop a Rural Technology Village to help rural communities take advantage of technology in agribusinesses in their areas.

For South Carolina, combining agriculture and technology isn't anything new. Three centuries ago, Charleston was richer than Philadelphia, New York and Boston because of innovation in cultivation of rice and indigo. In the early 1800s, a Charleston man, Jonathan Lucas, developed a rice mill that became a standard mill around the world.

Now it's time to get back to our roots - almost literally - and use big brains in both states to use technology in innovative ways to take advantage of natural resources to create more businesses and jobs on both sides of the Pacific. Queensland rightly calls itself the "Smart State" for such initiatives. It's time for South Carolina to be smart too.

Next week: A comparison of living and working in Queensland and South Carolina.

You can reach Andy Brack, publisher of SC Statehouse Report, at brack@statehousereport.com.

Recent commentary

Carolina shrimp: among the world's best

South Carolina shrimp are considered among the best in the world and are part of the foundation of Lowcountry cooking. The Gulf and South Atlantic are renowned for commercially landed brown, pink and white shrimp.

Shrimp in a Lowcountry boil

Although many larger shrimp trawlers that are out of port for a week or more freeze shrimp shortly after being caught -- sometimes even cooking them on the boat -- most commercial boats sell them fresh. Many South Carolinians catch their own shrimp, usually by pulling a seine or by casting a circular net (which takes training as well as strength). Small creek shrimp caught in shallow, brackish waters are thought to be sweeter than those caught further out in the rivers and ocean. It is rare to find any of these commercially caught shrimp very far off the coast in South Carolina.


S.C. Statehouse Report has partnered with USC Press to provide readers with a weekly historical excerpt about the state. Each excerpt, which is used with permission and not for republication, is taken from The South Carolina Encyclopedia, a 1,077-page book published in 2006 with entries by almost 600 contributors and edited by noted historian Walter Edgar. We hope you enjoy this new feature.

Shrimp can be sauteed, fried (without the shell), poached (called "boiled"), grilled, baked or steamed. In the 1800s, shrimp mousses made with butter or cream (also called "shrimp butter") were fashionable. In the late 20th century, shrimp and grits became popular, as did Lowcountry shrimp boil.

-- Entry by Nathalie Dupree, The South Carolina Encyclopedia

lighter side

Another great cartoon by Bill McLemore:

7/30: Queensland has enterprising spirit

To Statehouse Report:

I could not agree with you more concerning your article re our sister state Queensland. Queensland and South Carolina have many similarities. I was in Queensland a year ago visiting my brother and family, and of course Steve Irwin's "Australia Zoo," and I was struck by the strong enterprising spirit displayed there. I shall look forward to your article on the collaborations that are starting to pay off.

-- Sandra Plock, Sumter, SC

7/12: Domestic violence laws may be used wrongly, Marty Hicks, Mount Pleasant, SC
6/26: Brack is inconsistent, Bill Rentiers III, Lexington, SC
6/14: East Edisto would be boon to ACE Basin, Maggie Ridge, Hollywood, SC
6/12: Protect large tracts, Benjamin Lennon, Short Hills, NJ

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SC prepares for bird flu
By Bill Davis, editor
From the paid-subscriber issue of Statehouse Report

AUG. 3, 2007 -- It's ironic to think that the best thing to have happened to the state's emergency readiness, as it pertains to outbreaks of infectious diseases, was the mailing of anthrax-filled envelopes to various federal buildings following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Up to that point, corralling infectious diseases in the Palmetto State could have proven to be a slightly fractious process, with multiple agencies heading up different pieces and comparatively little holistic and systemic planning.

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Excerpts from The South Carolina Encyclopedia are published with permission and copyrighted 2006 by the Humanities Council SC. Excerpts were edited by Walter Edgar and published by the University of South Carolina Press. No republication is allowed.