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.
Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA) Research Commercialisation Awards has all three winners from Melbourne, which were announced last night at its annual conference dinner also in Melbourne.
Success lay with the University of Melbourne which won Best Commercial Deal for the largest biotech start-up in 2014; the Melbourne office of the Defence Science and Technology Group which won Best Creative Engagement Strategy for its reducing red tape framework; and Swinburne University for the People’s Choice Award.
“These awards are all about celebrating the achievements of those who are bringing research knowledge to life, and recognising their unique contributions in enabling business and the wider community to benefit from the application of research outputs,” said KCA Executive Officer, Melissa Geue.
Details of the winners are as follows:
The Best Commercial Deal is for any form of commercialisation of knowledge which is innovative in its approach, provides value-add to the research institution and has significant long term social and economic impact:
University of Melbourne – Largest bio tech start-up for 2014
This was for Australia’s largest biotechnology deal in 2014 which was Shire Plc’s purchase of Fibrotech Therapeutics P/L – a University of Melbourne start-up – for US$75 million upfront and up to US$472m in following payments. Fibrotech develops novel drugs to treat scarring prevalent in chronic conditions like diabetic kidney disease and chronic kidney disease. This is based on research by Professor Darren Kelly (Department of Medicine St. Vincent’s Hospital).
Shire are progressing Fibrotech’s lead technology through to clinical stages for Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, which is known to affect children and teenagers with kidney disease. The original Fibrotech team continues to develop the unlicensed IP for eye indications in a new start-up OccuRx P/L.
Best Creative Engagement Strategy showcases some of the creative strategies research organisations are using to engage with industry partner/s to share and create new knowledge:
Defence Science and Technology Group –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 totalling 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.
The People’s Choice Awards is open to the wider public to vote on which commercial deal or creative engagement strategy project deserves to win. The winner this year, who also nabbed last award is:
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 start-up, 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.
Wrays Patent Attorneys were the major sponsor of the 2015 Awards:
Wrays’ CEO Frank Hurley said: “In supporting the KCA Research Commercialisation Awards, we hope to promote an understanding around intellectual property value in the commercialisation process. The two award categories acknowledge both creative business strategy and commercial acumen, which reflects Wrays’ ethos and ties in closely with the services we provide to our clients. Sponsoring KCA is part of an overall vision to nurture relationships with future entrepreneurs by enabling them to protect and generate wealth from their innovations.”
Sharon Kelly (gemaker)
M: +61 414 780 077