Economics competition winners persevere through the pandemic

19 Oct 2020

Reflecting the zeitgeist of 2020, this year’s Student Economics Competition was unlike any other in recent history, with eight budding economists from high schools across Queensland sharing in first place.

The annual competition is coordinated by the Queensland Economics Teachers’ Association (QETA) and sponsored by The University of Queensland School of Economics.

Rising to the top from a pool of more than 1600 students from 33 schools, each first-place winner not only completed the multiple-choice questionnaire in the allotted 45 minutes, they each demonstrated impressive talent and poise in what was a competitive landscape.

Collectively the 2020 competition saw over 40 students in years 11 and 12 hailed as the top performers, tying for either first, second or third place. 

This competition brings together the brightest students.

 - Professor Rodney Strachan, UQ School of Economics

UQ School of Economics’ Head of School Professor Daniel Zizzo applauded the competition winners.

“The 2020 cohort of winners demonstrated a strong understanding of economics and the importance it has for business and government,” Professor Zizzo said.

Year 12 joint first-place winner and Brisbane Grammar School student Tim Rainbird recommended that all students give the competition a go in the years to come.

“The competition was a great way to consolidate and challenge my understanding of economics,” Mr Rainbird said.

“In complementing and extending my knowledge, the competition was highly valuable as it helped me prepare for the external exam.”

QETA competition winners Pat Trappett and Tim Rainbird
Two of the UQ-QETA economics winners, from Brisbane Grammar School Pat Trappett (left) and Tim Rainbird (right).

Year 12 Corinda State High School student and one of two female first-place recipients Jemima Noller said winning was a highlight of her year.

“I felt an immense feeling of pride for not only myself but for my school,” Miss Noller said.

“It’s a great feeling to know that I represent Corinda State High School among over 1600 participants.

“This competition is important because it sets a level playing field for all students studying economics across Queensland, no matter their educational setting.

“It’s especially important that the competition can be done in the comfort of a classroom because it is easily accessible to students who may not have the resources or confidence to demonstrate their skill set in this subject.

“Through my success, I hope that I can inspire other female economics students to go after what they want as well. Economics – or any other subject – is for everyone.”

Professor of Econometrics and highly regarded researcher Rodney Strachan said that each year the QETA competition continued to celebrate and lift up the economists of tomorrow.

“This competition brings together the brightest students and gives them the opportunity to build their confidence in their ability to study economics,” Professor Strachan said.

“Besides learning something of what economics is about, participation helps prepare them for careers that will impact on our country’s future.

 “When they study economics, they start to consider big questions.

“There remains incredible levels of uncertainty about the future – we do not yet know when we can open international borders, whether we will see another wave or how business will operate in a post-COVID world.

“In a complex and constantly changing world, students like our competition winners will help us find solutions for these challenges for years to come.”

 - Professor Strachan

Professor Zizzo and Professor Strachan congratulated the eight competition winners on their achievement.

The eight first-place winners (year 11 and 12) received cash prizes and acknowledgement from UQ, and all second- and third-place holders received a certificate for their hard work.

Competition winners

The University of Queensland School of Economics Student Economics Competition winners were as follows:

Year 11

First Place

Pat Trappett – Brisbane Grammar School

Sam Bizzell – Brisbane Grammar School

William Staib – Brisbane Grammar School

Naveen Hingorani – Cannon Hill Anglican College

Luke Palmer – Villanova College

Year 12

First Place

Tim Rainbird – Brisbane Grammar School

Jemima Noller – Corinda State High School

Maggie Ding – IES College

View the full list of competition winners (PDF, 105.2 KB). 

Are you interested in studying economics at UQ? Explore your curiosities at our Economics Explored online resource.

Contact: BEL Communications Team,