Innovation awards deadline extended

Tuesday, 27 September, 2011

The deadline for entries for The Australian Innovation Challenge awards has now been extended to 12 October.  The $70,000 awards are aimed at finding Australia’s next big breakthroughs in fields ranging from clean energy technology through agriculture to astronomy.

Run by The Australian in association with Shell and supported by the Commonwealth Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, 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 are: agriculture and food; minerals and energy; health; environment; ICT; education and manufacturing; and high-tech design (designs either taken up in Australia or exported). Many of the categories also cover enabling technology, such as nanotechnology, advanced materials and biotechnology.

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 direct commercial potential. 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 or the agriculture and food category.

The winners of the professional categories will receive prizes of $5000. The overall winner will receive a further $25,000. An eighth category, Backyard Innovation, is open to the general public and has a $10,000 prize.

The Australian, Shell and the federal government will champion the innovations of the highest scoring entrants. 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 Australian Innovation Challenge magazine.

The judging criteria are: excellence in science, technology or engineering; likely positive economic, public good or environmental impact; originality and environmental sustainability. (Entrants in the health and education categories are asked to explain how their innovation will not give rise to any negative environmental impacts.)

CSIRO deputy chairman Terry Cutler, who led the federal government’s 2008 review of the national innovation system, is chairing the judging panel. Australian Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb is among leaders drawn from academe, industry, government and the science agencies to judge the awards.

Entries close at midnight (AEDT) on Wednesday 12 October 2011.

For entry details, visit: www.theaustralian.com.au/innovationchallenge.

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