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Innovation Challenge unearths next great product

28 November 2013

Minister for Industry, Ian Macfarlane, congratulated eight of the country’s best innovators for winning their categories at the third annual The Australian Innovation Challenge, and said the overall winner’s idea will save many lives.

Monash University’s Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences tonight won the Challenge with its inhalant form of a hormone that reduces haemorrhage in women after childbirth.

Currently, the hormone oxytocin is injected, and therefore is limited in developing countries where the lack of refrigeration, needles and syringes and trained medical staff for administration are issues. This aerosol, dry powder form of oxytocin could be the answer.

“This is an outstanding example of Australian innovation at its best.  It’s a new idea translated into a real-world benefit,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“All finalists in the Challenge can be proud of their efforts and many of these ideas have huge export potential. Many will go onto commercialisation and be among industry’s next success stories, creating economic and social benefits for Australia.”

The Innovation Challenge is a national search for great ideas in seven professional categories, and a backyard innovation category. Mr Macfarlane said the ideas, processes and products from all finalists were an inspiration to business and industry.

“Australia has a rich history of invention and technology development. Clever ways to boost national productivity and empower our industries and businesses start with ideas such as those that we see here in The Australian Innovation Challenge. The Challenge is great recognition for some very smart thinkers,” Mr Macfarlane said.

Mr Macfarlane said one key to lifting national productivity is increasing outputs and the Challenge and its competitors are focused on creating new opportunities and markets for the exciting technologies, products and services of the future.

This year’s winners and their ideas are listed on the Challenge website.

The Australian Government is creating the right business environment and conditions to help the nation’s innovators succeed and grow. This includes measures such as the R&D Tax Incentive, Enterprise Connect and Commercialisation Australia, which many of the finalists have accessed.

The seven professional categories are: Environment, Agriculture and Food; Health; Community Services; Minerals and Energy; Manufacturing and Hi-tech Design; Information and Communication Technology; and Education.

Each category winner receives $5000. The Challenge’s overall winner receives $25,000. The Backyard Innovation category winner receives $10,000.

The Challenge is run by The Australian in partnership with Shell Australia with support from the Department of Industry and Innovation Australia.

Mr Macfarlane congratulated Shell Australia for its support of the Challenge and acknowledged the company’s own heavy investment in research and development in order to continually improve its business.

Media contact:   Mr Macfarlane's office 02 6277 7070