The quest for the nation’s best ideas – in fields from health and energy to community services – resumes today through the $70,000 The Australian Innovation Challenge awards.
Entries are now open, and have been extended to close on September 9 2013.
The awards are run by The Australian in association with Shell and are supported by Innovation Australia, the commonwealth government’s leading statutory body supporting industry innovation.
Now in its third year, the challenge is helping to drive breakthroughs to commercialisation or adoption. It has attracted high-calibre entries from scientists, engineers, technologists, educators, entrepreneurs, innovators in community services and creative geniuses inventing in their backyard sheds.
The Australian’s editor, Clive Mathieson, said the newspaper was delighted to bring the third annual Innovation Challenge to life.
“With the support of our partners Shell and Innovation Australia, the challenge goes from strength to strength, with the quality and breadth of entries continuing to grow each year,” he said. “In the past two years, we have unearthed some incredible inventions, most of which are now closer to commercialisation thanks to the profile and prize money offered by The Australian Innovation Challenge. This is what the challenge is all about. This year, we are confident of discovering another batch of hidden gems that could one day change the way we live our lives.”
Innovation policy expert and former CSIRO deputy chairman Dr Terry Cutler is heading a panel of eminent Australians judging the awards. “Innovating and the impulse to innovate is an expression of hope – hope that it is possible to envision a different world, a better place, and to instigate change to make that happen,” he said. “Ingenuity, inventiveness and imagination are the raw materials for innovation that makes a difference.”
Country chair of Shell in Australia Andrew Smith said: “Shell aims to be the most innovative energy company in the world. That’s why at Shell we are thrilled to be partnering with The Australian Innovation Challenge for a third year in a row. We are giving Australians the chance to showcase their innovative ideas and provide a real opportunity to make a real difference. Innovation allows us to start shaping tomorrow today.”
Innovation Australia chair David Miles said innovation was an essential part of the Australian economy. “Innovation is a driver of Australian productivity, business growth and employment.” he said. “With a range of government programs available to support new ideas, new products and new ways of doing things the possibilities are endless. Innovation Australia is proud to support the 2013 The Australian Innovation Challenge helping people with ideas and investors with commitment to move ideas and concepts from the drawing board to market.”
The awards, which are open to individuals and teams, have seven professional categories, each carrying a prize of $5000. The overall winner of the professional categories will receive a further $25,000. An eighth category, Backyard Innovation, is open to the public and has a $10,000 prize.
The categories are:
• minerals and energy
• environment, agriculture and food
• manufacturing and hi-tech design
• community services
• backyard Innovation
Professor Veena Sahajwalla, (pictured above) 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. Click here to meet previous winners.
Click here to enter The Australian Innovation Challenge.
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