Celebrating Australian Success – Translating Knowledge & Research into Business

Release date: Thursday, 25 August 2016

From cancer detection to mining maintenance algorithms and supporting student entrepreneurship – commercialising research finalists announced

Commercialising research and supporting student entrepreneurship – from improved cancer detection to mathematical algorithms to manage mine maintenance – will be honoured next week at Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA) Annual Conference in Brisbane (1-2 September) with finalists now revealed for the KCA Awards.

The KCA Awards recognise research organisations’ successes in expertly facilitating the transfer of knowledge to the broader community and research into products or services where companies grow new industries in Australia.  This year they have also expanded to recognise the great work that research organisations are doing teaching high-impact entrepreneurship and immersing stakeholders in a diverse range of hands on business training.

This year’s Awards include Best Commercial Deal, Best Creative Engagement Strategy and Best Entrepreneurial Initiative. The winners will be announced at the conference Awards Dinner on Thursday, 1 September.

The finalists are as follows:

Best Commercial Deal

Mine Maintenance Scheduling via Mathematical Optimisation – Curtin University, Western Australia
This unique innovation involves a series of cutting-edge mathematical algorithms that underpin a novel software package for optimising mine shutdown maintenance. The algorithms produce optimal shutdown schedules that minimise duration and therefore cost of lost production, plus rapidly reorganise the schedule in response to unexpected changes. This is the result of research collaboration between Curtin University and Linkforce Engineering, the leading engineering services group in Western Australia. The resulting software package is currently undergoing further development and refinement prior to deployment into Australia’s multi-billion dollar mine shutdown maintenance market.

Zhejian Hangdian Graphene Tech Co (ZHGT) – University of New South Wales (UNSW)
This is an initiative to fund and conduct research on cutting-edge higher efficiency voltage power cables, known as graphene, and on super-capacitors. With $20M capital investment by the Chinese corporation Hangzhou Cable Co., Ltd (HCCL), and UNSW contributing intellectual property as a 20% partner, the objectives are to execute the deal through research and development; manufacturing of research outcomes in Hangzhou; and finally commercialisation.

Launch of Ferronova Pty Ltd – University of South Australia (UniSA)
Researchers at the UniSA’s Future Industries Institute have joined forces with New Zealand based nanoparticle specialist, Boutiq Science, and major IP investor, Powerhouse Ventures, to develop an improved system for cancer detection that relies on magnetic rather than radioactive tracers. Research to develop the new technology – an ultrasensitive magnetometer probe designed to be about the size of a ball-point pen – evolved from the doctoral work of young UniSA researcher, Dr Aidan Cousins, who is now overseeing the technology’s development in collaboration with Associate Prof Benjamin Thierry. This work is part this new company – Ferranova Pty Ltd – established to take this innovation into the clinic.                                               

Best Creative Engagement Strategy

Lab 22 – CSIRO
CSIRO established the Lab22 Innovation Centre to demystify metallic additive manufacturing (‘3D printing’), making this science and engineering breakthrough accessible to Australian industry. Lab 22 is a multi-faceted engagement strategy, underpinned by ongoing research that enables industrial partners to test, experience, up-skill, and build business cases that take advantage of these cutting-edge technologies. Industry partners have co-developed commercial applications, licensed technologies and co-located with Lab22. Thousands of individuals have engaged in site visits. The engagement strategy continues to generate collaborations and innovation, build industrial capability, inform the public and push the boundaries of accessible metallic additive manufacturing.

Swinburne Bioreactor – Swinburne University of Technology
The Swinburne Bioreactor represents a new model for creative collaboration that is suited to SME’s, and includes nine industry partners and 10 PhD candidates. Together they identify and pursue the most promising opportunities for translational research to produce industry-ready PhD graduates with the confidence to look for opportunities in the private sector. Multidisciplinary groups of students and are spending time in hospitals, clinics, aged-care facilities and on the factory floor, talking to end-users and industry partners and looking for gaps in the market. Supported by mentors from industry and academia, the students are seeking to identify key insights into problems that open up potential for innovative solutions.

Cisco Internet of Everything Innovation Centre – Curtin University
The Cisco Internet of Everything Innovation Centre, co-founded by Cisco, Curtin University and Woodside Energy Ltd, is a new industry and research collaboration centre designed to foster co-innovation. With a foundation in radioastronomy, supercomputing and software expertise, it is growing a state-of-the-art connected community focused on leveraging data analytics, cybersecurity and digital transformation network platforms to solve industry problems. The Centre combines start-ups, small–medium enterprises, industry experts, developers and researchers in a collaborative open environment to encourage experimentation, innovation and development through brainstorming, workshops, proof-of-concept and rapid prototyping. By accelerating innovation in next-generation technologies, it aims to help Australian businesses thrive in this age of digital disruption.

Best Entrepreneurial Initiative

Venture Catalyst Program – UniSA
Venture Catalyst supports student led start-ups by providing up to $50k to the new enterprise as a grant. The scheme targets current and recent graduates who have a high tolerance for risk and an idea for a new business venture that is both novel and scalable. The scheme takes an ‘IP and equity free’ approach and encourages students to collaborate with different disciplines and externals to encourage a diverse skill set for the benefit of the new venture. Venture Catalyst is a collaboration between the UniSA and the South Australian Government, and is supported through UniSA Ventures as well as representatives from industry and experienced entrepreneurs.

Curtin Accelerate – Curtin University
Curtin Accelerate enables motivated individuals and teams to kick-start or accelerate their business ideas. Over a ten-week period experienced mentors work with selected teams to improve and grow their business into an investible proposition. The program is open to students, staff and alumni of Curtin, with any innovation or new business idea. This provides access to global industry and investment contacts, one-on-one and group mentoring sessions, non- diluting seed funding ($5,000), local and national promotional opportunities and assists teams to bring ideas and businesses closer to commercial success.

The Swinburne Innovation Precinct – Swinburne University of Technology
Swinburne University of Technology has created an Innovation Precinct at its Hawthorn Campus which will position Swinburne as a centre of entrepreneurial activity, integrating research, new business development and commercialisation. Focusing broadly on tech innovation, including novel technologies, services and businesses, the Precinct will drive design thinking across the University and lead research and development that results in new products such as digital health technologies, smart homes and virtual reality training. The precinct will also utilise design and digital technologies to address manufacturing challenges and pilot production and fabrication processes in collaboration with industry.

This year’s awards are judged by commercial leaders of innovation:  Erol Harvey, CEO, MiniFab, Dan Grant, PVC Industry Engagement, LaTrobe University and Anna Rooke, CEO, QUT Creative Enterprise Australia.

Media Contact: Sharon Kelly (gemaker), E: s.kelly@gemaker.com.au M: +61 414 780 077


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