Media Release

From gluten-free barley to curing river blindness: ATSE Awards honour Aussie inventions

August 3 2020

New ways to capture greenhouse gases, treat toxic algal blooms and eradicate river blindness were celebrated at the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering’s (ATSE) Innovation and Excellence Awards.

At a ceremony streamed out as an online event, 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.

This year’s award winners include innovations and practical solutions to a range of issues, including AI-guided pest and crop management, ultra-low gluten barley, and self-assembling polymers to deliver personalised precision medicine.

Much of the work awarded 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 ATSE Innovation and Excellence Award winners are:

  • Clunies Ross Award for Entrepreneurship – Mr Mark Sullivan, Managing Director of Medicines Development for Global Health: eliminating river blindness
  • Clunies Ross Award for Innovation – Dr Alison Todd, Chief Scientific Officer and Dr Elisa Mokany, Chief Technology Officer of SpeeDx Pty Ltd: molecular lego opening the door to personalised medical diagnosis
  • Clunies Ross Award for Knowledge Commercialisation – Dr Grant Douglas, Senior Principal Research Scientist in Land and Water at CSIRO: environmentally-friendly solution to toxic algae
  • Batterham Medal – Associate Professor Pauline Pounds, Associate Professor in Mechatronics at University of Queensland: new generation of precision drones
  • ICM Agrifood Award – Professor Michelle Colgrave, Professor of Food and Agricultural Proteomics at Edith Cowan University and CSIRO: ultra low-gluten barley
  • ICM Agrifood Awards – Dr Greg Falzon, Associate Professor of Precision Agriculture Systems in the College of Science and Engineering at Flinders University: AI transforming agriculture
  • Ezio Rizzardo Polymer Scholarship – Ms Charmaine Hee, PhD Candidate at University of Western Australia: self-assembling polymers for personalised medicine
  • David & Valerie Solomon Award – Dr Gang (Kevin) Li, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Melbourne: a new technique to capture greenhouse gases

Academy President Professor Hugh Bradlow warmly congratulated all the award winner

“One of the key roles of the Academy is to celebrate excellence and thus our annual Awards night is one of the highlights of ATSE’s calendar,” Professor Bradlow said.

“The 2020 ATSE Awards celebrate Australian success stories, where engineering, applied science and technology are improving existing Australian industries and creating new ones.

“My congratulations to the winners of this year’s Innovation and Excellence awards. I look forward to seeing their work transform Australia’s agriculture, healthcare, and environmental management for years to come.”

The Academy is grateful to the sponsors for this year’s online Awards event

ATSE Awards Sponsor – CSIRO

Gold Sponsor – ANSTO

Gold Sponsor – Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

Venue Sponsor – Cicada Innovations