A migrant who came to Queensland under the business and skilled migration program is now working on research that could contribute to the global fight against COVID-19.

Dr Adeshina Adekunle came to Australia on a student visa from Nigeria in 2013 to undertake his PhD, and is now an infectious diseases modeller at James Cook University (JCU), Townsville.

Earlier this year Dr Adekunle led a study that assessed the impact of Australia’s international travel bans on the spread of COVID-19 in Australia.

He said Australia’s response to the pandemic had been effective.

‘Our study found Australia’s bans on international travel reduced the initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by nearly 80%,’ Dr Adekunle said.

‘Compared to other countries, Australia did well in controlling the number of COVID-19 cases and for now, modified travel bans are important to prevent the importation of new cases.’

Dr Adekunle holds a PhD in Mathematical Biology from the University of New South Wales and is currently contributing to a number of other COVID-19 modelling research projects.

‘We want to know the effect of lockdowns on the control of COVID-19, the contribution of different age groups to the pandemic numbers and the impact of that on COVID-19 control,’ he said.

This is not the first time Dr Adekunle’s work has been important during a crisis response.

His research previously helped shaped policy during the 2019 Townsville floods, and he hopes to continue to contribute in this field.

‘During the floods, I was able to use my modelling skills to show that mosquito-borne diseases would not increase significantly,’ he said.

‘My greatest achievement so far has been the ability to use my skills to shape policy-making on the spread of infectious diseases in Australia and overseas.

‘These achievements are giant strides for me and I plan to continue to use my career to positively impact and contribute to the body of research knowledge on disease modelling.’

Now an Australian citizen, Dr Adekunle moved to Queensland to join the Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine at JCU and decided to make Queensland home after receiving a Skilled Nominated (Permanent) visa (subclass 190).

He considers working in regional north Queensland a perfect fit for him.

‘Queensland is called the Sunshine State and the state of Ondo where I was living in Nigeria is also called the Sunshine State,’ he said.

‘The tropical nature of Townsville is what I am used to and the simplicity of life, reduced traffic and easy access to fresh foods just melts my soul.

‘Also the fact that there’s this assumption that everyone is given a fair go at opportunities will make anyone want to stay and call here home.’

TIQ’s Business and Skilled Migration Queensland (BSMQ) team is responsible for state nomination of business and skilled migrants.

More information about business migration to Queensland is available on the BSMQ website.

Attracting global talent to Queensland is one of the goals of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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