UC academics get a jumpstart on their innovations

Enhanced hearing tech, a speech analysis app and high-speed additive manufacturing technology were among the five project winners announced at the annual UC Innovation Jumpstart awards on 6 November.

The Innovation Jumpstart competition gives UC academic staff a chance to transform their innovative ideas into a reality and learn more about commercialisation of ideas in the process. The competition has grown steadily since its inception in 2010 and this year had a 50% increase in the number of applications compared to 2018.

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UC Commercial Director Liz Hopkins is pleased to see the transformation of the competition and the work that has gone into showing innovation and commercialisation is possible in all areas of academia.

“This year, for the first time, we received applications from every College of the highest calibre. It’s made the task of selecting the award-winners extremely difficult and we’d like to commend all those who entered,” she said.

The Research and Innovation team have transformed the competition in recent years to encourage applications for ideas beyond highly commercial products to include those targeting social enterprise and community service offerings. This year a new prize category was introduced to celebrate ideas with a social or environmental angle.

Each prize winner received $20,000 funding to help with experimentation, proof-of concept, technology or service development.

Congratulations to all the participants and the prize winners:

WNT Venture prize: Dr Stefanie Gutschmidt, Engineering and Professor Greg O’Beirne, Science 
Project: Enhanced hearing technology inspired by Human Cochlea Amplifier

Astrolab prize: Dr Yilei Zhang, Engineering
Project: High-speed additive manufacturing technology

Jumpstart prize: Associate Professor Mark Staiger, Engineering
Project: Monolithic biodegradable plate system for bone fracture fixation

Jumpstart prize: Dr Toby Macrae, Science
Project: Developing a speech analysis app.

Social / environmental prize: Dr Aisling O’Sullivan, Professor Tom Cochrane, Dr Frances Charters, Engineering
Project: Nitrate treatment and waste shell valorisation from an innovative filter system.