August 15, 2013

Deadline Extended For The Australian Innovation Challenge


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Please distribute throughout your organization

The deadline for entries in the $70,000 The Australian Innovation Challenge awards – aimed at finding the nation’s best ideas in fields including minerals and energy, ICT and community services – has been extended until Monday, September 9, 2013.

Run by The Australian in association with Shell and supported by the federal government statutory body, Innovation Australia, the awards are helping to drive breakthroughs to commercialization or execution.

The online entry form and details of the awards, including category definitions, the judging criteria, the judging panel, supplementary material requirements, the entry procedure, rules and past winners, are on the awards website:

The seven professional categories open to specialists (including scientists, engineers, technologists, educators and innovators in community services) are:

• environment, agriculture and food
• minerals and energy
• health
• education
• manufacturing and hi-tech design (designs either taken up in Australia or exported)
• community services.

Many of these categories also cover enabling technology, such as nanotechnology, advanced materials and biotechnology.

The professional category winners will receive prizes of $5000. The overall winner will receive a further $25,000.

An eighth category, backyard innovation, is open to the public and has a $10,000 prize.

The judging criteria are:

• scientific or technological excellence and novelty
• potential benefit and impact
• sustainability and end-user benefit
• commercialization, adoption or take-up, including plans for paths to market for early-stage development work.

The awards are open to individuals and teams, and you can enter more than one project. International collaborative projects are eligible as long as the work was driven from Australia. The awards recognize innovation purely for the public good as well as breakthroughs with a direct commercial focus.

Innovation policy expert Dr Terry Cutler is chairing the judging panel. Australian chief scientist Professor Ian Chubb and CSIRO chief executive Dr Megan Clark are among other leaders drawn from academe, industry, government and the science agencies to judge the awards.

The Australian, Shell and the federal government will champion your innovation if you get a high score. To get the message out, the best entries will be featured in a prominent position in The Australian and The Weekend Australian over several weeks and showcased on the awards website and in a dedicated magazine.

Now in their third year, the awards have been a resounding success. Some entrants are already reaping the benefits – prestige and ongoing publicity as well as much-needed prize money.

Professor Veena Sahajwalla, of the University of NSW, won the overall prize in the professional categories last year for “green” steelmaking – a process that transforms old tyres into a raw material for use in electric arc furnace steelmaking. The method diverts waste from landfill while boosting the efficiency of mini-mills.

Victorian inventor Frank Will won the backyard innovation prize for OVER7, a system to cut fuel consumption in cars.

Winners in the 2011 and 2012 awards who wish to enter this year must enter different projects. Entrants, including finalists, in the 2011 and 2012 awards who did not win a prize may enter the same projects in 2013 but must explain how the work has developed in the meantime.


On the Net: