Finalists unveiled: Paul Shetler Disrupter of the Year 2023

James Riley
Editorial Director

A global leader in brain-computer neural interfaces, an electric airplane manufacturer, and a data trust by design expert are our three finalists for the 2023 Paul Shetler Disrupter of the Year category of the 2023 InnovationAus Awards for Excellence.

It is a huge pleasure to announce these finalists in a category named for the former chief executive of the original Digital Transformation Office (DTO), Paul Shetler. Paul had been recruited by then-Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2015 to drive the Australian Government’s digital delivery ambitions.

Paul was an archetypal disrupter and ultimately proved too much for the Australian Public Service to cope with. While the APS closed ranks and ultimately expelled Paul, the early work and energy and of the DTO left a lasting impression.

The Paul Shetler Disrupter of the Year celebrates individuals who have made a significant impact on the sectors in which they work. The winner will be announced at the industry’s biggest celebratory event, a black-tie gala dinner held at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on the evening of November 1.

These are people that have demonstrated an exceptional vision for what is possible in their industry, including predicting future trends, identifying opportunities and taking damn-the-torpedoes risks.

It is a massive honour to name the finalists for the Paul Shetler Disrupter of the Year Award. Paul became a close friend to me and to my family, and we were shocked and saddened when he passed away suddenly in 2020. We want to remember him and his contribution through this award.

The 2023 finalists in this category are:

  • Professor Nicholas Opie – founding director at Synchron; Head of Vascular Bionic Laboratory at University of Melbourne
  • Andrew Moore – co-founder and chief executive of AMSL Aero; Inventor of Vertiia
  • Mathew Mytka – co-founder and chief vision shaper at Tethix; regional council chair at Financial Data and Technology Association (FData)

Each of these finalists in this first-time award are recognised leaders in their field and have pushed the boundaries of their chosen professions.

Professor Opie is recognised as global leader in neural interfaces. He has taken two medical devices from concept through clinical trial to market including a bionic eye to help the blind to see and the Stentrode brain-computer interface that gives communications and improved independence to those with paralysis.

Professor Opie founded the deep tech startup Synchron in Melbourne in 2012 which now employs 70 people in Australia and the US, raising more than $200 million, including funding support from Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.

Through a successfully completed Australian clinical trial and ongoing FDA-approved US clinical trial, he has demonstrated this novel technology can enable people with severe paralysis to control computers and digital technology with their minds.

Andrew Moore served as an aeronautical engineering officer in the Royal Australian Navy and graduated from the Australian Defence Force Academy with First Class Honours. He founded AMSL Aero in 2017 to develop and manufacture a revolutionary aircraft called the Vertiia, the world’s most efficient and long range zero emissions electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) vehicle.

The Ventiia achieves its long-range through a unique combination of aerodynamic efficiency, structural design and the use of a hybrid battery and hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system. The aircraft is the only eVTOL in the world designed from start to be powered by hydrogen fuel cells and will use less energy per seat that a high-speed train.

While some US based competitors are operating with exceptional levels of investment, well above $1 billion after up to nine rounds of fund-raising, AMSL Aero is operating like a lean, mean Aussie machine on the $40 million investment to date after two rounds of fundraising.

Mathew Mytka has been a leading voice in the design and development of data sharing schemes, including Australia’s Consumer Data Right. He co-developed the Data Trust by Design framework, influencing the work of thousands of practitioners and helped to shape digital policy, regulations and standards.

Mr Mytka has led research with the Data Standards Body and behavioural science research work with the Trust Project at the Kellogg School of Management. He co-authored the ‘Designing a Humanity Centric Digital Economy’ paper in his work at Greater Than X, an influential piece of work across the public and private sector.

He also led research work with the Consumer Policy Research Centre on the ‘Day in the Life of Data’ report that demonstrated the extent of data collection and use in Australia and provided and insight the mental models shaping consumer behaviour in the digital context.

The InnovationAus 2023 Awards for Excellence are proudly supported by Investment NSW, AusIndustry, Australian Computer Society, Technology Council of Australia, Agile Digital, CSIRO, TechnologyOne, IP Australia, METS Ignited and Q-CTRL.

Protecting your great ideas with intellectual property (IP) rights can lead to lasting benefits for your growing business. IP refers to creations of the mind, such as a brand, logo, invention, design or artistic work. Head to the IP Australia website to find out more about IP, and how it might help your business.

You can reserve your seat or book your table here.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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