Deadline extended for The Australian Innovation Challenge

Winners share in prizes totalling $65,000

Monday, August 3, 2015 Please distribute throughout your organisation

The deadline for entry in The Australian Innovation Challenge, honouring excellence in fields from minerals and energy to environmental science and community services, has been extended until September 7.

Now is your chance to showcase your bright idea by entering the awards, which are run by The Australian in association with Shell with the support of the federal Department of Industry and Science.

As previous winners and finalists attest, the Challenge, now in its fifth year, is helping to drive breakthroughs through to commercialisation or adoption.

Innovation policy expert Terry Cutler is chairing a panel of leaders from the science community, industry and government who will judge the awards.

Past entrants are already reaping the benefits of the awards – prestige and ongoing publicity in Australia’s national daily newspaper as well as much-needed prize money.

Antony Schinckel and his team at the CSIRO won the Manufacturing, Construction and Infrastructure prize, as well as the overall prize, last year for revolutionary technology at the centre of the world’s most powerful radio telescope – the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder in outback Western Australia.

Sydney inventor Chris Wilkins won the Backyard Innovation category with PodPlants – an aeroponic system to grow “greenwalls” in office blocks by suspending plants in nutrient-laden mist.

And Brisbane school student Taj Pabari won the Young Innovators category with ImaginTech an educational tablet kit, since rebranded as the Fiftysix tablet kit, designed to teach children about computer hardware and software.

The Australian and Shell will champion the top entries, featuring them prominently in The Weekend Australian over several weeks and showcasing them on the Challenge website.

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 stories on past winners, are available at www.theaustralian.com.au/innovationchallenge

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

  • Environment, Agriculture and Food • Minerals and Energy • Manufacturing, Construction and Infrastructure • Health • Education and Community Services

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

A sixth category, Backyard Innovation, is open to the public and has a $10,000 prize.

The Young Innovators category, which is open to students aged 21 years or under, has a $5000 prize.

Entries in all categories will be judged against the following equally weighted criteria.

  • science or technological excellence and novelty • potential impact • end user benefit and sustainability • adoption and 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 recognise innovation purely for the public good as well as breakthroughs with a direct commercial focus.

Previous winners who wish to enter this year must enter different projects. Entrants, including finalists, in previous years who did not win a prize, may enter the same projects this year but must explain how the work has developed.

Entries close at 2359 AEST Monday, September 7, 2015. For entry details visit: www.theaustralian.com.au/innovationchallenge

Information: Jade Hobson T +61 2 9288 2947 M +61 431 511 985 E [email protected]

Distributed by SciNews.com.au

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