$3.9 million bequest helps attract best and brightest to QBI

12 Feb 2016
A new research Fellowship focused on attracting the best and brightest neuroscientists from around the world to QBI will become a reality thanks to a bequest from a generous benefactor and contributions from UQ and QBI senior leaders and donors.

The late Maureen Gilmartin, who passed away in May 2014, bequeathed $3.9 million towards QBI’s research into brain function.

QBI will focus the bequest on research fellowships, including the establishment of the perpetual Bartlett Fellowship.

The Bartlett Fellowship, named in honour of QBI’s Founding Director, Professor Perry F Bartlett, will support world class neuroscientists to conduct vital research, continuing to position QBI at the forefront of brain research globally.

Maureen’s philosophy in life was to be aware of the needs of others, assist and serve, whilst maintaining a respect for human life.

It was this philosophy, along with her interest in science and understanding the need for research into the function of the brain, which motivated her to make this bequest.

Born in Dalby, Maureen completed her secondary education at All Hallows’ School in Brisbane and after working for two years as a cadet laboratory technician for Red Cross in Brisbane, she studied for a Bachelor of Science majoring in biochemistry at the University of Queensland.

Maureen worked in Brisbane and London in her scientific field before returning to Australia where she spent the next 40 years managing the family cattle property.

She was active in industry and community groups, holding many executive positions including National Treasurer of the Catholic Women’s League, an organisation to which she dedicated much of her life.

In 1985, Maureen was awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice for distinguished works and service in Catholic women’s organisations and in 1990 became a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

Maureen was a long time supporter of QBI and Professor Perry Bartlett’s vision for a world class brain research institute through regular attendance at QBI events, contributing to robust scientific discussion and spreading a positive message within the community of QBI’s valuable work.

“Maureen was a wonderful friend and supporter of QBI,” said Professor Bartlett, QBI’s Professor of Molecular Neuroscience and the Founding Director of QBI from 2003 - 2015.

“I am absolutely delighted to have this Fellowship named in my honour and I believe it will highlight the importance of philanthropy to the success of science and showcase the personal commitment UQ’s leaders have to philanthropy now and in the future.”

Maureen’s philanthropic leadership encouraged a number of UQ staff to generously donate also to the Bartlett Fellowship.

“Generosity, such as Maureen Gilmartin’s, will allow QBI to maintain its world class reputation through supporting the careers of the best and the brightest young scientists.

“At QBI, we remain committed to attracting and supporting talented early career neuroscientists who will lead the nation in research into the brain and disease, and accelerating discovery,” Professor Bartlett said.

“The Bartlett Fellowship provides the opportunity for talented scientists to join QBI’s 450 strong team, conducting priority research, which will benefit the community now and into the future.”

“As a former alumnus, Maureen was very passionate about UQ and science, and her involvement with QBI allowed her to contribute and connect with these two important anchors in her life,” Professor Bartlett said. 


QBI’s vital research into the brain and disease is only possible through the generosity of donors and benefactors.

A bequest leaves a lasting legacy that will potentially make a world of difference to people affected by neurological disease and disorders in the future.

If you would like to know more about making a bequest to QBI, or information on how to make a donation, please contact Kate Heffernan k.heffernan@uq.edu.au.

For information on bequests generally, please click here.