Big night for CRCs at PMs Prizes

CEO of the Capital Markets CRC, Professor Michael Aitken AM, was awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation at last week’s event. Professor Aitken received the prize for his work in creating and commercialising tools that are making global markets fair and efficient.

In what was a great night for CRCs, Colin Hall from University SA won the inaugural New Innovator Award for his work on plastic mirrors with the Auto CRC. Professor Rick Shine, from the University of Sydney, won the PM’s Prize for Science for his work on reptiles and cane toads. Rick has strong ties to the Invasive Animals CRC. The full list of winners is here.

It was the first PM’s Prize night since the December 2015 release of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) but there was no sense of the government’s enthusiasm for science and innovation waning. The Prime Minister once again gave a rousing speech, making it clear that science policy will remain at the top of the government’s agenda.

MC Adam Spence wondered if the new Minister, Greg Hunt, had yet released his “inner geek” in Cabinet. Minister Hunt made it clear there was no need as he was very proud to be a geek. His speech demonstrated his passion for his new portfolio as well as his obvious knowledge of the sector.

The awards for the nation’s top science teachers kicked off the evening and, as usual, left the crowd inspired by their dedication and skills.

Colin Hall’s work with the Auto CRC, UniSA and industry partner SMR, has resulted in production of 1.6 million mirrors for a variety of vehicles from the Adelaide factory. The SMR-UniSA work is a prime example of how manufacturers and research institutes can develop new products for global markets.

Australian researchers have developed four of the ten IT systems that run the world’s stock markets. Mike Aitken and his colleagues have developed two of them.

“I’m very thankful that the work we’ve done has been recognised at such a high level,” said Professor Aitken. “To see the positive impact of the research on a global scale has been a wonderful thing, I hope that by helping our financial markets the research has also contributed to the future funding of innovation worldwide.”

The Capital Markets CRC is now moving its focus to the health sector to tackle fraud in Australia’s health system.  The Capital Markets CRC recently won a CRC Association Award for Excellence in Innovation at the 2016 conference for their work on HIBIS Health Analytics Solutions. They also recently released a paper, Flying Blind, calling for consolidation of fragmented sources of data in the health sector.

“Fragmentation Favours Fraud” says Prof Aiken. “Two dozen separate data collections in health mean no one is getting the full picture. Savings in the billions, perhaps tens of billions, are possible if we have the full picture”.

The CRC Association congratulates all the winners and nominees in the 2016 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science.