ATSE announces 2020 award winners


Monday, 03 August, 2020


ATSE announces 2020 award winners

A new way to capture greenhouse gases, treating toxic algal blooms and eradicating a cause of blindness are among the innovations celebrated at the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering’s (ATSE) 2020 Innovation and Excellence Awards.

Announced as part of a ceremony that was streamed online, the award winners came from a range of fields including biotech, agriculture and engineering — and from across small and large private, government and academic organisations. Much of the work recognised through the 2020 ATSE Awards is already being applied across a range of industries, and some is well on its way to being available for commercial use.

The 2020 Clunies Ross Award for Entrepreneurship was presented to Mark Sullivan, founder and Managing Director of Medicines Development for Global Health, for recognising the importance of moxidectin — an intestinal worm treatment for domesticated animals — for treating neglected infectious diseases in humans such as onchocerciasis, or river blindness.

The 2020 Clunies Ross Award for Innovation was awarded to Doctors Alison Todd and Elisa Mokany, Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Technology Officer respectively at SpeeDx, for creating a new molecular ‘Lego’ that is opening the door to personalised clinical diagnostics.

The 2020 Clunies Ross Award for Knowledge Commercialisation went to CSIRO’s Dr Grant Douglas, who has developed and patented a new phosphorus-adsorbent clay, Phoslock, which addresses the source of harmful algae and is now used in more than 20 countries to control and prevent algal blooms.

The 2020 Batterham Medal was won by Associate Professor Pauline Pounds from The University of Queensland, whose contributions to designing unmanned aerial vehicles have been game changing for the last 15 years. Her most recent innovation — aerodynamic motion sensors — is said to offer unprecedented precision measurement and control.

The 2020 ICM Agrifood Award went to Professor Michelle Colgrave from Edith Cowan University and CSIRO. Her research has supported the development of an ultralow-gluten barley, now known as Kebari, which is used in the production of gluten-free cereals, beers and food products with all the nutritional benefits of whole grains and are also safe to be enjoyed by coeliac sufferers.

The 2020 ICM Agrifood Award recognised Dr Greg Falzon, an associate professor at Flinders University, for advancing AI in agriculture. Dr Falzon has developed a surveillance alert camera system to detect feral animals, created sensor networks to manage soil moisture, and written algorithms and software to facilitate drone-based monitoring of livestock.

The 2020 Ezio Rizzardo Polymer Scholarship was won by Charmaine Hee, a PhD candidate at The University of Western Australia who is working on self-assembling polymers that can be programmed to create complex structures. Hee’s work is aimed at developing precision and personalised medical solutions, through improving understanding of molecular recognition within living cells.

The 2020 David & Valerie Solomon Award went to Dr Gang (Kevin) Li, a Senior Lecturer at The University of Melbourne, who has invented a new technique to capture methane and reduce emissions from coalmines and natural gas production. His ionic liquid zeolites — or porous absorbent minerals — have advanced gas separation technologies, and he has worked with industry partners to establish a new company, Gas Capture Technologies, to commercialise this research.

Academy President Professor Hugh Bradlow congratulated all the award winners and said he looked forward to “seeing their work transform Australia’s agriculture, health care and environmental management for years to come”.

For more information about this year’s winners, visit www.atse.org.au/2020atseawards.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/athitat

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