Christopher Tallentire MLA

Innovator of the Year Awards help Outstanding Innovators to Scale

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Innovator of the Year 2018 (IOTY) opened for Applications last week. Applications were formally by Christopher Tallentire MLA, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Water; Fisheries; Forestry; Innovation and ICT; Science.

I was fortunate to moderate a wonderful panel for the launch which included leaders from Medical Science, Mineral Resources, Energy, AgriTech, Research, Government and Technology. Joining me on the WA IOTY Launch Panel discussion were;

Professor Lyn Beazley, 2015 W.A. Australian of the Year and former WA Chief Scientist, who kicked off the discussion with examples of the significant economic and social impact that innovation can bring across the State. The IOTY program promotes job creation, economic diversification and future skills development in Western Australia. As part of the State's New Industries it strengthens in areas such as innovation in the resources sector, human health, automation, energy, agriculture, education and the environment.

The Joondalup Innovation Hub brings together Edith Cowan University as is a world leader in research and education, innovation expertise, the Australian Security Growth Network, AustCyber, and the Cyber Security CRC. Steve Marmion (Economic Development Advisor, City of Joondalup) discussed how the Hub is building global leadership and jobs in the sector. He also pointed out some of the many advantages of being an innovator focused on high growth sectors with significant underlying demand.

Woodside Energy proactively works with energy sector researchers, startups, SMEs and young innovators to provide demand for future skills. Neil Kavanagh, Chief Scientist & Technology Manager of Woodside Energy, pointed out the power of innovation to engage communities throughout Western Australian regions. He then expanded on the positive outcomes for communities that come from innovation and collaboration, providing excellent examples of outcomes in the Pilbara of innovators working across the value chain. 

Innovation in the Agricultural sector is important to improving the efficiency of food production and distribution. Dr Natasha Ayers, MD and CoFounder of agri-business experts AgriStart, has helped many companies grow through collaboration and innovation. She shared her experiences of where and how companies are leveraging new technologies focused on innovations in agriculture and regional development. Tash also touched on growing the food industry through skills development, engagement and innovation

Mitsubishi is in its tenth year as the Principal Sponsor of the Awards. David Lake, General Manager of Mitsubishi Australia Ltd and IOTY Judge, highlighted the importance of the IOTY Awards to promote and acknowledge the success of Western Australian innovators. In addition, the many outcomes that come from bringing innovative people together to contribute to success across all sectors.

The IOTY Awards have a history of activating and strengthening industry-university research collaborations. Steve Durkin (Safescape) added his company’s experience of leveraging Universities and how researchers helped strengthen their high growth business. He then expanded on the benefits the company gained from being part of the 2017 IOTY Awards and how winning the Emerging Category with Safescape Edge Protector has helped them further scale. 

The IOTY program is an initiative of the State Government's New Industries Fund, which aims to enable SMEs to develop greater opportunities to commercialise their innovations and expand to create new jobs. 

The initiative has supported and showcased innovative businesses since 2006. Some of the many high growth companies that have benefited include FastBrick Robotics, iCetana, SEQTA, TrackEm, Tap into Safety, ScanCam, Group and Fusion Books.

Canva CoFounder, Melanie Griffiths, has previously commented that being part of the W.A. Innovator of the Year Awards as CoFounder of Fusion Books had "opened more doors than she could have dreamed of. Getting great advice in the early stages of our business had a huge impact on our strategies and success. It’s a fantastic program that’s had a huge impact on us.”

In a survey of prior IOTY participants, the firms had reported that being involved in the awards later led to them employing more staff and that the awards led to increased investment from business angels and venture capitalists. The companies also reported they were now focusing on domestic plus international markets with more than 45% of those survey respondents now successfully exporting their products or services overseas.

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Apply for Innovator of the Year 2018 HERE

High Impact Innovation from Industry and Research Collaboration

By Peter Rossdeutscher | 8 Apr 2018

iPREP WA Marshall Institute team with Christopher Tallentire MLA

iPREP WA Marshall Institute team with Christopher Tallentire MLA

Researchers strengthening their broad collaboration skills tackling the innovation demands of workplaces. The H1 2018 iPREP cohort presented their recommendations after six weeks of concentrated work. Multidisciplinary teams of PhD researchers from five different Universities with a number of commercial supervisors tackling on real corporate problems for paying clients.

Each of the teams showed entrepreneurial thinking of the challenges and presented strong recommendations to their corporate project sponsor. The presentations were supported by a report and presentation.

Focused on projects solving real workplace challenges. Four of the projects were innovating in the sector; optimizing wetland performance of future treatment technologies; environmentally sustainable solutions for sequester carbon using hemp, using data science to increase the efficiency of fertiliser use efficiency, optimizing the sniper precision agriculture system for grain growers.

The final team of the night had been working on Nobel Prize Barry Marshall's Noisy Gut initiative. Their work included recruiting study participants for data recordings using the Noisy Guts intelligent acoustic belt. The belt will provide doctors with a non-invasive way of screening for physical diseases with irritable bowel syndrome and other guts disorders.

For the third consecutive year, Atomic Sky was a key supporter of iPREP providing commercial solution delivery coaching.  It always amazes me how quickly researchers adapt to workplace challenges and the exceptional input to the commercialisation of projects they deliver in such a short time.

What do the University PhD students most get out of this type of diverse engagement with industry partners?

- Increased business acumen

- Demonstrated problem solving

- Project management skills

- Cross-discipline teamwork

- Workplace skills translation

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Christopher Tallentire MLA, Parliamentary Secretary to the Western Australia Minister for Water, Fisheries, Forestry, Innovation and ICT, Science closed the formalities. Minister Tallentire highlighted the quality of the outputs as well as commenting on the value of research working with industry as well as collaboration across sectors for growing economies.

Vicki Hodgson MC'd the evening and iPREP Coordinator, Narelle Jones, concluded the event noting that the key theme for the success of all of the projects was optimisation and applying cross-discipline thinking to innovative commercial projects.