UWA’s dynamic innovation community joined forces last Thursday at the annual IQ Awards held in the refurbished Nedlands Masonic Hall, known as Innovation Quarter Exchange or IQX, to celebrate four winners and creative inventions to improve our world.
Finalist entries included the detection of resistance to weeds, a new surgical treatment for glaucoma, effective Asset Management for engineers, the UWA O-tube facility that tests cyclonic conditions for offshore pipelines, student-led innovation through the UWA Makers and students volunteering to assist the homeless by facilitating art groups and selling their art work.
UWA Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Community and Engagement) Professor Kent Anderson congratulated the finalists saying that innovation was about taking risks and not knowing where they might end up.
“Our staff, researchers and students are developing cutting-edge solutions and inventing new technologies to make the world a better place for us all.
“At UWA we are creating an emerging innovation corridor along Stirling Highway – we have the Bloom Labs for students at St Catherine’s College, Centre for Entrepreneurial Research and Innovation (CERI) for established researchers, Woodside OceanWorks , EZONE engineering hub and the new co-working space at IQX to help support you to share ideas and creativity.
“It’s an exciting time and demonstrates the University’s commitment to fostering a culture of innovation,” he said.
Professor Wendy Erber, Dr Kathy Fuller and PhD student Henry Hui from UWA’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences won the Research Innovation and Enterprise Award for developing Immuno-flowFISH, a device that will significantly improve the ability to identify genetic changes in leukaemia cancer cells. More than 20,000 cells can be studied in one test, a vast improvement on current methods which only assess a few hundred cells and are much slower.
Team member Mr Hui said the award was a validation of hard work in the lab.
“When we get these eureka moments it is truly satisfying, but I think the best thing is knowing we will help so many people through our research,” Mr Hui said.
Professor Kevin Pfleger, Head of Molecular Endocrinology and Pharmocology at UWA Centre for Medical Research and researcher for Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research won the Innovation Champion Award for his work driving research translation and commercialisation, and strengthening links between medical research and its application in clinics.
An all-star judging panel of innovation and commercialisation experts – Sheryl Frame, Kath Giles and Kate Griffiths evaluated three student pitches and made a difficult decision on this year’s winner for the Student Start-up of the Year.
This went to UWA Science Student, Conor McLaughlin who has developed the Futuristic Skills platform, which addresses the gap between skills learnt at school, and skills required for the workforce of the future. Ten skills were identified and the app is available to High School teachers and students.
“Winning the award will help us to impact more students outside of the metropolitan area. I joined Bloom in 2017 – my experience with them has been amazing, they helped guide us through the start-up process which has led to this exciting success,” Conor said.
The Peoples’ Choice Award, awarded to Kishaini Baskararao, a student from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, for the I Can and I Will project, providing quality curriculum subjects to disadvantaged rural students overseas, helping to lift them out of poverty and empower them through education and employment.
UWA’s IQX, a new co-working space for innovators was unveiled for the first time at the ceremony, if you missed it you can book a tour here.