From nuclear to knowledge – finalists announced for the 2015 KCA Research Commercialisation Awards
Cutting edge nuclear software; 1,000 terabyte DVD technology; a $US75 million up-front payment for biotech start-up; reducing red tape management systems; and open access libraries online are finalists for this year’s Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA) Awards.
The KCA Awards recognise research organisations’ successes in creatively transferring knowledge to the broader community and research into products or services where companies grow new industries in Australia.
This year’s Awards include Best Commercial Deal and Best Creative Engagement Strategy. The winners will be announced at the 2015 KCA Annual Conference, “Raising the Bar” Awards dinner on Thursday, 10 September, in Melbourne.
Bringing Australian research and industry is high on the government’s agenda to improve the commercialisation of innovation and research. This is reflected in the recent prong of industry growth centres, national research priorities and research funding allocation. Australian industry uptake is a big focus.
The finalists are as follows:
Best Commercial Deal
Australian Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) – RemLife
RemLife is an ANSTO developed software package used to predict and assess damage caused by operation and cycling of conventional and nuclear power plant assets. It allows quick in-house assessment of component damage dependent on their chosen operating conditions and provides power stations with the ability to optimise their operations, reduce downtime and reduce their carbon emissions. RemLife has been developed through continued engagement with the power industry and ongoing support from the Welding Technology Institute of Australia. ALS Global acquired RemLife from ANSTO in 2015 with ANSTO retaining commercial rights in the nuclear asset field of use.
Swinburne University of Technology – Optical data storage breakthrough leads the way to next generation DVD technology
Using nanotechnology, Swinburne Laureate Fellowship project researchers Professor Min Gu, Dr Xiangping Li and Dr Yaoyu Cao achieved a breakthrough in data storage technology and increased the capacity of a DVD from a measly 4.7GB to 1,000TB. This discovery established the cornerstone of a patent pending technique providing solutions to the big data era. In 2014, start-up company, Optical Archive Inc. licensed this technology. In May 2015, Sony Corporation of America purchased the startup, with knowledge of them not having any public customers or a final product in the market. This achievement was due to the people, the current state of development and the intellectual property within the company.
University of Melbourne – Largest bio tech deal for 2014
Australia’s largest biotechnology deal in 2014 was the Shire Plc purchase of Fibrotech Therapeutics P/L for US$75 million upfront and up to US$472m in contingent payments. Fibrotech, a University of Melbourne start-up, develops novel drugs to treat scarring which is prevalent in chronic conditions like diabetic kidney disease. It’s based on research by Professor Darren Kelly (Dept. Medicine St. Vincent’s Hospital).
Shire are progressing Fibrotech’s lead drug candidate through to clinical trials for Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, which is known to affect children and teenagers with kidney disease as well as adults. The original Fibrotech team continues to develop unlicensed IP for diseases of the eye in a new start-up OccuRx P/L.
Best Creative Engagement Strategy
Defence Science and Technology Organisation – Defence Science Partnerships (DSP) reducing red tape with a standardised framework
The DSP has reduced transaction times from months to weeks with over 300 agreements signed totaling over $16m in 2014-15. The DSP is a partnering framework between the Defence Science Technology Group of the Department of Defence and more than 65% of Australian universities. The framework includes standard agreement templates for collaborative research, sharing of infrastructure, scholarships and staff exchanges, simplified Intellectual Property regimes and a common framework for costing research. The DSP was developed with the university sector in a novel collaborative consultative approach.
Curtin University – Unlatching books many libraries at a time
International Award winning Knowledge Unlatched (KU) gives libraries a cost effective and diverse access to open access license books. The online platform has created a community for publishers and libraries to connect, by playing on the power of quantity to reduce publishing costs, a book goes to print when a minimum number of libraries make a request. A proven innovative model through a pilot project of nearly 300 libraries from 24 countries, successfully “unlatching” and making available 28 new Humanities and Social Sciences research titles. This initiative is being driven by researchers at Curtin in conjunction with the KU consortium of libraries and publishers across Australia.
This year’s awards are judged by commercial leaders of innovation; Chris Farquhar, Founding Partner of Aureae Portae; Topaz Conway, Accelerating Commercialisation; Erol Harvey, CEO, MiniFab; and Susan Oliver, Chair of Scale Investors
Wrays is the major sponsor of the 2015 Awards.
About Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA)
Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA) is the peak body for organisations and individuals associated with knowledge commercialisation and exchange between public sector research organisations and business and government entities. We seek to link, enable and inspire our members, and provide the necessary tools and opportunities to spur on greater translation of research for economic and community benefit, and create a more vibrant and productive Australian economy.
About the KCA 2015 Annual Conference: Raising the Bar
There is an increasing expectation from government entities for Australia to improve on the conversion of research to commercialisation with shown in much of the recent press and highlighted in report by one KCA’s members, CSIRO (2015 to 2020, Australia’s Innovation Catalyst, CSIRO ). Australia is criticised for not translating research as effectively as it could, yet increasing expectations are being placed on knowledge transfer offices from internal stakeholders who want to see more performance with less resource. On top of this, there is a lack of profile and a lack of perceived value for commercialisation and knowledge transfer. This years’ conference is ‘Raising the Bar’ working to provide solutions and provide the industry with the tools on how to raise their position and better advocate the profession as a collective. The conference will be held on the 10 – 11 September at St Kilda Baths.
Sharon Kelly (gemaker)
M: +61 414 780 077