BEL celebrates research rising stars

24 Nov 2015

What do tourist behaviours and disability law have in common?

Both topics are currently being explored by two of the Faculty’s most promising young researchers, Betheli O’Carroll and Dr Richard Robinson, who were recognised last Thursday with BEL research awards.

Professor Iain Watson, BEL Executive Dean, said the awards were introduced in 2015 to celebrate the talented junior researchers and Research Higher Degree (RHD) candidates within the faculty. 

“Our researchers are of the highest calibre and it is important we acknowledge and nurture their talent from the very beginning,” he said.

“We are confident our award recipients will be leaders in research and teaching in the years to come.”

Ms O’Carroll, a PhD candidate from the TC Beirne School of Law, received the BEL Research Higher Degree Award for the quality of her research ideas and outputs around the current lack of ‘fitness for trial’ laws in Australia and Zealand.

Without rigorous laws in place, people with intellectual disabilities are at risk of being unfairly imprisoned – a violation of their human rights.

During her PhD candidature Ms O’Carroll has published three articles in highly-ranked journals, including one on the first study in Australia to examine how legal practitioners approach fitness for trial issues in the Queensland Magistrates Court.

Dr Robinson, from the Tourism Cluster in the Business School, was awarded the BEL Early Career Researcher Excellence in Research Award.

Dr Robinson has made contributions in three areas of research, with highlights including his insights on tourism and hospitality workforces and tourist motivations and behaviours, particularly at events like music festivals.

Since receiving his PhD in 2011, Dr Robinson has published numerous articles in top journals and has received five external research grants totalling almost $500,000 and a UQ teaching award.

Both awardees received $2500 for further research funding as well as a personalised plaque and certificate.

The Award committee consisted of Professor Simon Bronitt from the TC Beirne School of Law, Associate Professor Valentin Zelenyuk from the School of Economics, Professor Robert Faff from the Business School and Professor Victor Callan, Associate Dean of Research from the BEL Faculty.

Professor Callan said the inaugural awards were highly competitive.

“We had a large number of applications for each award, and we are hoping to build on this in 2016 and beyond,” he said.