InnovationAus 2021 Awards: Research Translation finalists

Staff Writers

Australia’s universities are under pressure to translate their world-leading research into commercial outcomes after the loss of international students and growing scrutiny of translation by the federal government.

It’s a challenge the sector is embracing but is more complex than may first appear.

Deep tech commercialisation in particular can take years and substantial capital, all while multiple stakeholders are negotiating thorny issues like intellectual property (IP) rights.

In Australia, the success stories are too few relative to the world leading fundamental research being completed in publicly funded research institutions, with consequences eventually felt across society and the economy.

On December 1, InnovationAus will announce the first winner of its Research Translation Award and celebrate the four finalists getting over the translation hump.

The category finalists are:

The Research Translation Award is sponsored by CSIRO, the national science agency, which has already helped create more than 100 new companies since 2015, all based on great Australian science.

“It can be a long and lonely road from lab bench to business, but it’s one that more of us need to travel,” said CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall.

“That’s why it’s so important to celebrate the latest Australian commercialisation success stories in this Research Translation category.

“Australia has a world-class research sector, and I’m looking forward to toasting the winners of this award and many more as CSIRO continues to catalyse, support, and grow Australia’s research translation capability.”

The InnovationAus 2021 Awards for Excellence will be presented at a gala black-tie dinner held on Wednesday, December 1, at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Sydney. You can book your tickets at the Awards website. For further enquiries, please email

Behind the finalists

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) is the largest child health research institute in Australia and one of the top three worldwide for research quality and impact.

Its team of more than 1200 researchers is dedicated to making discoveries to prevent and treat childhood conditions. The institute’s research is directly informed by patient problems and translated into treatment for children in hospital as soon as possible.

The UNSW SMaRT Centre – the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) – works with industry, global research partners, not-for-profits, local, state and federal governments on the development of innovative environmental solutions for the world’s biggest waste challenges.

The Sydney university’s centre is renowned for pioneering the transformation of waste and its founder Professor Veena Sahajwalla is the inventor of polymer injection technology, known as green steel.

The UNSW SMaRT Centre actively promotes collaboration with industry and end-users to ensure scientific advances are readily translated into commercially viable solutions.

Last year, the Advanced Mobility Analytics Group (AMAG) released the world’s first advanced software-as-a-service tool to significantly reduce fatalities and injuries on transport systems.

The analytical tool uses AI, behavioural economics and video analytics to identify and mitigate transport risks. It was developed under a partnership between Queensland and Canadian universities. The tool has now been tested and validated in 23 city customers across 8 countries over the past decade.

AKQA is a global design and communication company that partnered with Monash University and Tennis Australia for a world first broadcast augmentation service for visually impaired fans.

The APAC arm of AKQA helped develop the sports broadcast accessibility service, known as Action Audio, which launched during this year’s Australian Open finals. It uses existing ball monitoring systems to emphasise key moments of play with 3D sound.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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