Excellence in Innovation Awards 2013

The Awards for Excellence in Innovation 2013 were presented at Collaborate | Innovate | 2013 on Thursday 16 May in Melbourne.

The CRC Association Awards for Excellence in Innovation were initiated in 1999 to recognise outstanding examples of the transfer of CRC research results, knowledge and technologies that have been developed for a wide range of users of research, including the community, companies and government agencies.

The judges were impressed by the high quality of entries for this year’s Awards and were delighted at the breadth of innovation that continues to be delivered by the CRC Program.

Entries were shortlisted in two categories:

  • Innovation arising from the application and use of research (3 winners)
  • Innovation in education and training and/or public outreach activities (2 winners)


WinnerGame-changing dairy industry technology

Dairy farmers
Maffra dairy farmers Iain and Louise Stewart, who contributed 75 tail hair samples from their herd to Dairy Futures CRC’s 10,000 Holstein Cow Genomes project.

Dairy Futures CRC has delivered game-changing genomic technology to the dairy industry through a massive collaboration involving the entire dairy industry supply chain. Genomic information is now included in published Australian Breeding Values (ABVs) for Holstein and Jersey breeds, giving farmers much more powerful tools to bring forward genetic gains through earlier and more precise selection decisions. Farmers can assess bulls for critical traits such as fertility and longevity and select younger bulls even before they have sired progeny. Based on rapid take-up so far, the projected economic value of this innovation of $100 million over 12 years is likely to be exceeded.

Media contact

Jen Bladon-Clark
Mobile 0421 708 309

WinnerMallee harvester – innovative and sustainable agriculture

Biosystems Engineering CEO Richard Sulman with harvested wood chips from the prototype mallee harvester.

Integrating trees into farms can generate new profits, while providing environmental benefits and helping farmers adapt to climate change. Future Farm Industries CRC recognised that the cost of harvesting trees was a major impediment to developing a viable industry based on farm trees, so the CRC and Biosystems Engineering developed a mallee harvester to overcome this impediment.

In 2012 Future Farm Industries CRC sold the IP to co-developer Biosystems Engineering and a consortium of Australian shareholders. The harvester has been crucial in catalysing a sustainable biofuels industry, with the CRC now partnering the aviation industry to pursue a shared vision of aviation fuel sourced from sustainable farm-grown tree crops.

Media contact

Peter Zurzolo
Mobile 0458 099 040


HEARLab in use in a clinical paediatric setting. Three small electrodes attach to the child’s head with surgical tape and paste or gel. The electrodes do not cause any discomfort and during data acquisition, the child can play with toys and games.

Based on evidence from the HEARing CRC’s long-term outcomes studies, HEARLab® has been developed to deliver new tools for detection and better remediation of hearing loss in infants, young children and in the elderly. In children, earlier diagnosis of hearing impairment, coupled with accurate fitting of technology is critical for achieving the best language and social development outcomes. For the elderly, hearing and communication assessment is an important, if challenging task, in particular for patients in the early stages of dementia. HEARLab provides reliable non-verbal, automated assessment of hearing thresholds, it is accurate, saves both patient and practitioner time and its modular design means it can be implemented and expanded without ongoing capital investment in new testing equipment.

Media contact

Jane Sewell
Phone 03 9035 5351

Bushfire community safety

Bushfire community safety
Bushfire CRC researchers accessed a range of community information resources and threat warnings to see how effective they were in developing awareness and preparation.

After decades of basing bushfire community safety policies on anecdotal evidence, the first major Australian Research project specifically focussed on this area started with the Bushfire CRC in 2003. The findings and recommendations from this research in recent years have directly influenced and changed government policies across Australia and around the world.

In Australia, the research has provided a strong evidence base that governments use to shape and support their bushfire prevention and management policies and procedures including those on sharing responsibility, vulnerabilities and the new fire index and warnings systems. It led to the national public information campaign “Prepare. Act. Survive.”

Media contact

David Bruce
Mobile 0414 223 281

PHOENIX RapidFire: modelling bushfire movement

The Bushfire CRC Phoenix RapidFire bushfire simulator accurately predicted the growth and direction of the 2009 Black Saturday fires in Victoria.

PHOENIX RapidFire is a bushfire simulator that models the movement of bushfires and helps determine within just minutes of a fire being discovered which communities need to be warned and where to send resources to minimise the impact. It generates a map of the bushfire moving across the landscape using data such as height and slope of the land, vegetation type and density, local weather and fire history. The fire’s impact is then estimated based on the fire’s characteristics and values and assets such as houses and agricultural areas. It is used operationally by fire and land management agencies over summer fire seasons and for planned burning programs throughout the year.

Media contact

David Bruce
Mobile 0414 223 281

Automation technology for armoured vehicle manufacture

weld seam
Joseph Polden commissioning a weld seam programmed using AOLP at Thales, Bendigo.

Automated Offline Programming (AOLP) is an innovative new technique used to program industrial robots. Developed through the Defence Material Technology Centre with a collaborative partnership between Thales and University of Wollongong, the AOLP system generates weld paths in a fraction of time required using conventional programming methods. AOLP uses sophisticated robot motion planning algorithms to generate collision-free robot paths. This new technique has been applied to the robotic manufacturing cell at Thales Land Vehicles in Bendigo. The implementation of AOLP has significantly improved the capability of the robotic welding system resulting in substantial cost and time savings through the minimisation of manual welding and weld repair.

Media contact

Dr Zenxi Pan
Mobile 0433 799 324

EverGraze – innovation transforming Australian agriculture

protection for lambs
EverGraze principles at work, with strategically planted grass hedge rows providing shelter and survival benefits for lambs.

Future Farm Industries CRC’s EverGraze project has demonstrated practice change on 200,000 hectares across southern Australia.

Agricultural landscapes are being transformed by incorporating perennial plants into livestock systems and implementing the EverGraze principles of Right Plant, Right Place, Right Purpose, Right Management. EverGraze has proven that its whole-of-farm system approach improves agricultural productivity and sustainability. Through the project, farmers, advisers and researchers have worked together to increase knowledge of feed-base, livestock systems, fertiliser use, soil management and grazing strategies. EverGraze has also demonstrated significant natural resource management benefits, with improved pasture persistence and ground cover reducing soil loss and groundwater recharge, further minimising the risk of salinity.

Media contact

Peter Zurzolo
Mobile 0458 099 040

Genetic detection of foxes

A mainland fox.

The fox in Tasmania poses the most dramatic new threat to agriculture and wildlife for over a century. The sparse distribution of foxes through often rugged terrain makes eradication problematic. The Invasive Animals CRC (IA CRC) through the University of Canberra developed DNA technologies for detecting minute traces of DNA left by foxes and, with the Tasmanian Government, led a massive and systematic fox survey. The DNA test provides the ability to rapidly assess fox presence and is and is less resource-intensive and more reliable than other monitoring techniques. The work led directly to a refined fox eradication strategy adopted recently by the Tasmanian Government to protect as many as 78 species at risk of extinction through an established fox population.

Media contact

Glenn Conroy
Mobile 0406 376 648

A new tool to fight tooth decay

MI Varnish
MI Varnish, a new oral health professional product that will help prevent the social and economic burden of tooth decay.

MI Varnish is a new oral health professional product that strengthens and repairs teeth and prevents tooth decay. It is unique among dental varnishes by incorporating RECALDENT™ (CPP-ACP) technology, a special milk-derived protein that strengthens teeth by delivering calcium, phosphate, and fluoride to the tooth surface. This product enhances enamel acid resistance, boosts salivary fluoride and calcium levels and remains on the teeth longer than other varnishes allowing a higher concentration of fluoride. In Australia, poor dental health is estimated to cost the economy at least $660 million in lost productivity each year. MI Varnish is another important tool to prevent poor oral health and the social and economic burden of tooth decay.

Media contact

Prof Eric Reynolds
Mobile 0421 956 036

Supply chain collaboration delivers improved lean meat yield and lamb quality

Getting the genetics right – Collecting blood card samples for DNA analysis at weaning.

Delivering value at each point in the supply chain is the key to delivering innovation. The Sheep CRC’s discovery and synthesis of new principles in the discipline of meat science has defined the genetic resources and management options required to deliver the dual goals of improved gains in lean meat yield and improved eating quality. The innovation also involved the development of collaboration throughout the meat supply chain from breeders to retailers. Better choice of genetics, best practice management and improved feedback has improved new levels of efficiency that deliver value and quality to consumers. The net benefit is estimated to be $65 million over 15 years.

Media contact

Janelle Holzberger
Phone 02 6773 2927




WinnerPestSmart – toolkit and roadshow

Pest Smart Roadshow Toowoomba
Pest Smart Roadshow Toowoomba.

The PestSmart project comprised three parts, including the initial end user research into what form the final package should take, the development of the PestSmart Toolkit and the organisation and delivery of the National PestSmart Roadshow comprising 20 regional events plus two national pest fish forums. The PestSmart project has since delivered over 100 factsheets, case studies, guides, videos and technical reports with over 50 more publications in the pipeline. It has organised events that have attracted more than 1,500 people and it has participated in other state and national events with audiences totalling several hundred thousand.

Media contact

Glenn Conroy
Mobile 0406 376 648

WinnerFeral camel management

camel book
Under the AFCMP, a ‘Camel Book’ was produced as a supporting material to train Aboriginal people in handling feral camels for commercial use. (Quentin Hart)

Ninti One Limited – managing company for the Desert Knowledge CRC and the CRC for Remote Economic Participation
The Australian Feral Camel Management Project was established to reduce the environmental damage being caused by 750,000 feral camels across central Australia. This project aims to reduce feral camel density in and around 18 identified sites of particular environmental significance. The project created skills, jobs and services in Aboriginal communities in two key areas: the supply of camel meat to niche markets and the environmental monitoring of remote waterholes critical to sustaining localised flora and fauna. Over three operational years, over 130,000 camels have been humanely removed across 3.3 million square kilometres of remote and inaccessible country. Landholder consent was obtained promptly for access to Aboriginal and pastoral lands, a tribute to the collaboration by all landowners.

Media contact

Linda Cooper
Mobile 0419 331 119

Molecules to Medicine

WEHI’s Head of Business Development (C) talks about the importance of maintaining high quality lab notebooks for IP protection.

Cancer Therapeutics CRC (CTx) has developed a bold on-the-job training and mentoring program in research translation and commercialisation for Australian biomedical researchers. The program, Molecules to Medicine, involves post-doctoral researchers as interns learning how to translate and commercialise the biomedical innovations of their respective institutions. The program, trialled at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, is helping to attract and keep a skilled workforce in biomedical translation while accelerating a change in Australia’s research culture. More than thirty interns have graduated from the trial program and it is now rolled out to nine major Victorian biomedical institutions and two biomedical companies.

Media contact

Cathy Sage
Mobile 0400 714 603

Art, science and schizophrenia

Image kindly provided by Graeme Doyle, Untitled, undated. This image is part of the Dax Centre collection.

“Not just one thing: art science and schizophrenia” brought public attention to this complex mental illness through events which featured insights from the lived experience, schizophrenia researchers, clinicians and mental health educators. The project featured the latest scientific research from the CRC for Mental Health and insights from The Dax Centre’s collection of artwork made by people with an experience of mental illness. The combination of art and science provided an innovative way to engage with audiences. The event was podcast on ABC Radio National, part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, shared across traditional and social media and has been made into educational videos for use by the CRC and the Dax Centre.

Media contact

Melanie Carew
Mobile 0411 286 081

Asset Management Toolkit

Prof Kerry Brown and AAMCoG Chairman Des Pearson officially launching The Guide to Integrated Strategic Asset Management at the CIEAM Annual Conference 2011.

The AAMCoG Guide to Integrated Strategic Asset Management brought together industry and researchers to develop a new toolkit for professional asset managers to ensure that major infrastructure assets remain viable and effective throughout their operating lifecycles. The lifetime management of a major asset includes maintenance, repair, renovation, renewal and in some cases planned decommission. The Guide shifts the way infrastructure projects are developed by addressing whole-of-lifecycle management of public infrastructure assets. The Guide has been adopted in Australia and is being rolled out by the project team internationally with a focus on developing nations.

Media contact

Prof Kerry Brown
Mobile 0407 731 939

PhD 3.0: People.Innovate.

Dairy Futures CRC mentors and mentees on a tour of western Victoria dairy businesses. (L-r: Luke Pembleton, Lisa Owens, Paul Ford, Sarah Saxton, Dr Aaron Gosling, Lesley Gray, Dr Karensa Delany.)

The Dairy Futures CRC education program is innovative in channelling the passion and commitment of industry leaders through a well-structured program that complements research training and creates more confident, capable young bioscience researchers, equipped for tomorrow’s dairy industry challenges. The centrepiece is a mentoring program characterised by genuine partnerships between a dairy industry mentor and a student mentee. This is complemented by a series of professional development workshops covering topics as diverse as finance, marketing, intellectual property and communications, delivering intensive skills transfer in areas valued by dairy industry employers and agricultural researchers.

Media contact

Jen Bladon-Clark
Mobile 0421 708 309

Balanced Scientist Program

Balanced Scientist Workshop
Balanced Scientist Workshop.

The Invasive Animals CRC (IA CRC) developed the Balanced Scientist Program, a thematically based model for PhD training that recognises the additional skills required by scientists if their work is to have broad significance and find solutions to large problems. The program created a network of collaborators across universities, government and industry around the theme of invasive animals, an issue that cannot be solved through conventional laboratory or intra-institutional based approaches alone. The program drew together students from multiple institutions and built skills in research leadership, team building, research management as well as science. The program resulted in a high rate of completion and employment post-submission, producing PhD graduates with well-developed professional and vocational skills.

Media contact

Glenn Conroy
Mobile 0406 376 648

The Young and Well Network

Young and Well Network
Recognising the connective power of technology in young people’s lives, the Young and Well CRC embraces technology in its work.

The Young and Well Network brings together young people, researchers, policy-makers and practitioners to share knowledge and build their capacity to use technologies to improve young people’s mental health and wellbeing. In just over 18 months, the Young and Well Network has engaged tens of thousands of people in the work of the Young and Well CRC through continuous and purposeful online and social media communications. The Young and Well CRC connects fortnightly with the Network via an online newsletter as well as through extensive promotion of partner activities, events and resources via its social media channels. The Network reaches the primary end-users, young people and those who care for and work with young people, increasing their awareness of and access to resources for improved mental health and wellbeing.

Media contact

Dr Michelle Blanchard
Mobile 0403 171 989