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Thu Jul 19 00:21:50 CEST 2012

:: The Australian
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Thursday, July 19, 2012 - Please distribute throughout your organisation.

Entries for the $70,000 The Australian Innovation Challenge awards – aimed at finding game-changing ideas in fields including minerals and energy, community services and environment, agriculture and food – close on Sunday, August 12.

Run by The Australian in association with Shell and supported by the federal Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, the awards will help drive some of the nation’s best ideas to commercialisation or execution. 

The online entry form and details of the awards, including category definitions, the judging criteria, the judging panel, supplementary material requirements, the entry procedure and rules, are on the awards website www.theaustralian.com.au/innovationchallenge. 

The seven professional categories open to specialists (including scientists, engineers, technologists and educators) are:

•	environment, agriculture and food
•	minerals and energy
•	health
•	education
•	manufacturing and hi-tech design (designs either taken up in Australia or exported)
•	community services.

Many of these categories also cover enabling technology, such as nanotechnology, advanced materials and biotechnology. 

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

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

The judging criteria are:

•	scientific or technological excellence and novelty
•	potential benefit and impact
•	sustainability and lack of negative environmental impact
•	commercialisation, adoption or 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. For example, a new land management system that locked up more carbon dioxide in the soil or vegetation could be eligible for entry in the environment, agriculture and food category.
CSIRO deputy chairman Dr Terry Cutler is chairing the judging panel. Australian Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb and CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Megan Clark are among other leaders drawn from academe, industry, government and the science agencies to judge the awards.

The Australian, Shell and the Federal Government will champion your innovation if you get a high score. To get the message out, the best entries will be featured in a prominent position in The Weekend Australian over several weeks and showcased on the awards website and in a dedicated magazine.

The inaugural awards last year were a resounding success. Some entrants are already reaping the benefits – prestige and ongoing publicity as well as much-needed prize money. 

The University of Queensland’s Professor Mark Kendall and his team won the overall prize in the professional categories for a patch to replace needles and syringes in vaccination. Nanopatch could save millions of lives and is expected to revolutionise vaccination in developing countries. Inventor Jeremy Woodhill won the Backyard Innovation prize for his energy-saving smart powerpoint. View the awards website to meet last year’s winners.

Winners in the 2011 awards who wish to enter this year must enter different projects. Entrants, including finalists, in the 2011 awards who did not win a prize may enter the same projects in 2012 but must explain how the work has developed in the meantime.

Entries close at midnight (AEST) Sunday, August 12, 2012. 
For entry details visit: www.theaustralian.com.au/innovationchallenge 

Lisa Panarello Mobile: 0407 837 182 Phone: +61 02 9288 3679
Email panarellol at theaustralian.com.au

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