The Start Something Commercialisation winners for 2016 have been announced. The prizes were awarded after a competitive process including pitch events, lean business plans and progress during the ‘Start Something from Research’ commercialisation programs in Perth.
Dr Josephine Muir of the Marshall Centre for infectious diseases represented The Noisy Gut research which is leveraging technology to deliver improved methods of tackling irritable bowel syndrome. The team includes Nobel Laureate Professor Barry Marshall (University of Western Australia) as well as Adam Osseiran (Edith Cowan University). Josephine said, “Start Something gave me time, creative space, skills and inspiration! It was a great introduction to the innovation space and helped my team to rethink how we approach commercialising our research.
Judges on the program included former West Australian of the Year David Flanagan and 2016 Finalist Lynne Bradshaw, Australian of the Year Finalist Professor Yogesan Kanagasingham, Adjunct Professor of Innovation Peter Rossdeutscher, CSIRO Innovation Director David Burt, Bloom COO Shannon Zieglaar, Accelerating Commercialisation Advisor Peter Clarke and Andy Lamb from Atomic Sky and TechHub.
Kirsten Rose, BHP Billiton Principal of Low Emissions Strategy & Innovation said after judging one of the researcher pitch nights, “The quality of the business ideas have real potential for impact. To see such brilliant research beginning to be translated into entrepreneurial ventures is exciting. I’m looking forward to seeing these companies grow and flourish.”
In the past year alone Start Something has engaged and educated 308 University researchers in commercialisation skills with 43 industry experts providing start up thinking, tools and mentoring.
Acknowledging the outstanding potential of their research to deliver outcomes for economic or social benefit the awards were shared amongst researchers from multiple sectors including agri-business, minerals, robotics, health and education.
Murdoch University agricultural science researcher Dr Sofie De Meyer won the SpringTech Innovation Prize from CSA Global, for her MALDIID root nodule identifier for farmers and institutes. She said “it’s absolutely important to continue to translate our research or ideas into industry fundable projects, the increasing difficulty to get research funding from state government grants makes this even more compelling. We have officially started the MALDIID commercial service a couple of weeks ago and already have commercial clients. With MALDIID we can’t change the climate but it does provide the ability to accurately inform clients whether the best rhizobia strain is housed within the legume root nodule.”
UWA computer sciences researcher Dr Syed Afaq Shah won a Start Something for Enterprise Impact Prize commented on the program; “With my pure research background I had absolutely no clue of how to share my idea with a business world and explore commercialization opportunities. Start Something turned out to be a game changer for me. It gave me the confidence and capabilities to pitch my research idea in the best possible manner.”
Nucleic acid theranostics research group leader at Murdoch University Dr Rakesh Veedu is focused on developing novel therapeutics and diagnostics for tackling solid cancers and neuromuscular diseases. He said on winning the CSIRO Commercialisation Award “Developing an innovative research idea into a successful business requires mentorship and guidance from experts. What a thrill to be recognised for the translational nature of this research and its potential to make a real difference.”
Start Something in Minerals Prize winner for the use of catalytic anodes for oxygen evolution Dr Aleks Nikoloski commented that “The program really helped me to shape my entrepreneurial skills and business model and to meet industry experts. I am excited to receive this award as it will further help translate our high impact research into real world outcomes.” Dr Niloloski is an expert in Extractive Metallurgy as well as an Academic Chair of Chemical & Metallurgical Engineering, Mineral Science.
The Start Something from Research initiative was founded in 2014 by Innovation Cluster and is delivered by commercial innovation specialists Atomic Sky, together with the innovation team of each research organisation. It is avenue for researchers to engage researchers with industry, learn startup skills, leverage expert entrepreneurs and action the commercialisation of their research.