Innovation wins

7 November 2016

Postgraduate and research students completed a unique pilot program to drive innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration on campus.

“The program is a must-do for anyone with a keen interest in entrepreneurship but also a willingness to venture out in solving real world problems whilst pushing themselves to reach their full potential”, says Christopher Chan (Bachelor of Design Computing), who was part of the team that won the $5000 first prize (donated by AJ Park) in the inaugural Inventing the Future program for their product ‘FluroSat’, a unique crop health imaging system.

Belinda Hutchinson (AM), Chancellor of University of Sydney, who was on the judging panel commented, “The quality of presentations was extremely high across all the groups and confirmed my initial excitement on hearing of this project some time ago. I was impressed by the creative thinking and careful planning that had been contributed by team members to each of the new product initiatives.  I congratulate all the teams who participated.”

Christopher was one of 20 students, divided into 4 teams, selected from the faculties of Science, Architecture, Design and Planning, Engineering and IT and the University of Sydney Business School to participate in the unique pilot program.

"I was really impressed with the program and the pitches that all show the power of a multidisciplinary approach to problem solving! " says judging panel member Petra Andren.

With teammates Xanthe Croot (PhD Physics, Experimental Quantum Computing), Malcolm Ramsay (PhD, Computational Chemistry), Anastasia Volkova (PhD Aeronautical Engineering), Brandon Cabanilla (Master of Commerce), Chan developed the winning project that utilises remotely sensed data captured by nanosatellites to provide farmers with early notification of crop stress and enabling them to respond quickly to protect crop yields.

For Xanthe Croot who drew on childhood farming experiences to develop ‘FluroSat’, “the course presented many opportunities for us to network with investors, accelerators and to tap into relevant industry expertise. It was a pleasure to work alongside talented, driven, motivated and incredibly intelligent people from a variety of faculties - definitely one of the best things about this course”

 “Our vision is to make innovation and interfaculty teamwork an essential part of the student experience at all levels,” says Associate Professor Maryanne Large who led the initiative. “This approach will prepare students for a future that is yet to be invented”

Judges included Belinda Hutchinson, Chancellor, University of Sydney; Petra Andren, CEO, Cicada Innovations, a leading advanced technology incubator; Dr Tim Parsons from Delta V Space Alliance; Joe Seisdedos, IP, Innovation and Commercialisation strategist at AJ Park; Dr Christhina Candido, an architect and researcher in Indoor Environment Quality at the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney.

Inventing the Future was funded from an Educational Innovation Grant (2015).

Academics involved- Associate Professor Maryanne Large (Innovation and Commercialisation, Faculty of Science), Associate Professor Martin Tomitsch (Head of Design, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning), Bronwyn Darlington (Lecturer International Business, University of Sydney Business School), Professor Zdenka Kuncic (School of Physics), Professor Ron Johnston, Executive Director of the Australian Centre for Innovation (Faculty of Engineering & IT).