Regional High School Lecture Series

Closing the gap between the health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Australians requires an approach that empowers young people with the resources to shape a healthy future. To this end, QIMR Berghofer takes its popular student seminar program on the road with the Regional High School Lecture Series (RHSLS).

The RHSLS is an outreach program for the benefit of both Indigenous and non-indigenous students and involves several of the Institute’s top scientists visiting a number of regional and remote Queensland locations that have a higher proportion of Indigenous students. Presentations on the ground-breaking work underway at QIMR Berghofer, along with discussions around career opportunities in health science and medical research, make for an interesting and engaging day.


The Regional High School Lecture Series visits the following locations:

  • May – Central Queensland – Rockhampton, Gladstone and Tannum Sands
  • July- South West Queensland – Toowoomba and Roma
  • August – Far North Queensland – Cairns and Thursday Island
  • October – North Queensland – Townsville


Each individual school program runs for approximately 2 hours, either via a morning session between 9am and 11am or an afternoon session between 1pm and 3pm.

The 2 hour program is generally broken up as follows:

  • 1 x 10 minute introduction/overview presentation
  • 4 x 20 minute health science and medical research presentations with Q&A throughout; focused on the areas of:
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
    • Cancer
    • Infectious Diseases
    • Mental Health
    • Chronic Disorders
  • 1 x 30 minute morning/afternoon tea with the scientists

The 30 minute morning/afternoon tea allows students the opportunity to interact with the scientists in a more relaxed face to face setting. Here, they can ask further questions and obtain more detailed information and guidance on their science-based interests and aspirations. All catering costs are covered by the program.



QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute has pledged to work towards closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage and reduce the burden of illness for Indigenous Australians.

A community consultation forum attended by QIMR Berghofer staff highlighted the need for more education and promotion of Health Science to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school leavers. Already established programs within the institute targeted mostly urban based Indigenous Australians, however, a higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in regional and remote localities. This key detail shaped the development of the Regional High School Lecture Series; allowing the program to target and engage larger proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students by delivering the program in regional and remote localities.


The Queensland Government and the Department of Education and Training have implemented a STEM strategy in schools across the state. Part of the government’s strategy is to promote targeted initiatives to lift student performance in STEM fields, including scientific literacy.  Additionally, the strategy seeks to increase opportunities and participation rates of students in STEM subjects, particularly girls and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

The RHSLS compliments this STEM strategy by stimulating learning and discussion around relevant health topics while promoting the importance of scientific health and medical research and health science career pathways.  Additionally, the series targets regional and remote Qld areas where a higher proportion of indigenous students can be reached per engagement.