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Queensland’s Prof. Prasad Yarlagadda awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to engineering and the Indian community
When the Queen’s Birthday Honours were announced, Prof Prasad Yarlagadda was travelling in the US as part of the Queensland Premier’s trade mission.
“I’ve just attended the BIO 2016 Convention, an important part of this mission, and sought out opportunities in the broad field of biotechnology, biomedical instrumentation and similar fields,” he told Indian Link from the US. “I am taking advantage of this trip to visit high quality research institutes and universities to strengthen my research partnerships.”
His commitment to his lifelong passion for engineering, for which he was awarded the OAM this year (along with services to Queensland’s Indian community), was immediately apparent.
Prof. Yarlagadda has been Professor in Smart Systems at the Queensland University of Technology’s Science and Engineering Faculty since 2005, and Project Director, Airports of the Future. He has also held positions at the Centre for Built Environment Engineering and Research, and at the Manufacturing Systems Engineering Research Concentration.
As a scientist, he has been passionate about increasing the stature of STEM in this country.
“Over the past decade a number of universities and research organisations across Australia are putting in much effort in STEM. There have been good outcomes in encouraging students to take up science and mathematics at school, leading to increase in enrolments in STEM related programs. A classic example has been my own university. QUT has invested substantial resources; the establishment of a state-of-the-art Engineering Precinct, an Institute for Future Environments, and a huge digital displace facility (CUBE) are some of the initiatives that are advancing STEM considerably.”
Prof. Yarlagadda’s career is decorated with many awards and recognitions from global organisations of manufacturing and material engineering.
Within Queensland’s Indian community, Prof Yarlagadda is well known as a leading member of the Federation of Indian Communities of Queensland (FICQ), of which he was President (2013-2015) and Vice President (2010-2013).
He was involved in the establishment of the Tri Sister City Relationship between Brisbane, Hyderabad and Ipswich, in 2010.
He has served on executive positions with GOPIO Queensland, Vedanta Centre and India Australia Society of Queensland. Currently, he is a member of the Queensland Government’s Interim Multicultural Community Reference Group.
He is indebted to his employer for encouraging his community-related activities.
“It is absolutely important for me to acknowledge the support and encouragement that I receive from QUT and its senior management to engage in various community service and leadership activities,” he said.
Prof. Yarlagadda came to Australia in 1996, having worked in India, Hong Kong, Singapore and Papua New Guinea before.
His daughter Tejasri was only one when he and his wife Ragamayi moved to Brisbane.
“Brisbane is a wonderful place to raise a family,” Prof Yarlagadda reflected on his twenty years in the city. “Australia is a great country with wonderful opportunities and welcoming nature with great acceptance for people of different cultural backgrounds. Indeed, it is a great multicultural nation – I myself have friends from more than 60 countries who now call Australia home!”
About his OAM honour, Prof Yarlagadda said, “I am thrilled to note that my years of service are recognised at both professional and community level.”
He added, “It motivates me to work harder for the wider benefit of the community. I believe this will motivate other community leaders and leaders in science and technology too.”
He hopes to continue doing his best both at professional and community levels.
“At a professional level, I am aspiring to establish a National Centre of Excellence for Digital Manufacturing, which will meet the future needs of the Australian manufacturing industry, biomedical industry and also the defence sector. I’ve already had some initial success very recently in receiving funding of $5 million from the Australian Research Council and other related industries, with a strong team of researchers from various universities. At the community level, I am working with the wider Indian diaspora to establish a significant infrastructure namely India House. I have taken a leadership role here and am working with other Indian community organisations under the leadership of the FICQ. We are about to establish the Queensland India Community Charitable Trust, which will host Indian art and culture events, and also provide opportunity to Queenslanders and Australians to learn about India.”