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Student Innovation Awards

Accelerate your idea, career or research
The Student Innovation Awards, hosted by the Innovation Hub, recognise University of Sydney students' innovative solutions for real-world impact.

These awards recognise student-led projects that offer solutions and drive positive impact by addressing current social, developmental, economic or environmental challenges through innovative ideas, transformative research and interdisciplinary collaborations.

This is a great opportunity to showcase and receive recognition for innovative solutions to real-world challenges. 

2021 categories include:

Student Innovation Award for Social Impact: $5,000 prize
This award recognises innovative student projects that have the potential to drive a positive social impact in the wider community.

Student Innovation Award for Planetary Impact: $5,000 prize
This award recognises innovative student projects that have the potential to creative positive environmental impact.

Student Innovation Award for Interdisciplinary Impact: $5,000 prize 
This award recognises interdisciplinary student projects that have the potential to lead to innovative real-world applications.

Student Innovation Award for Research Impact: $5,000 prize
This award recognises  research projects that have the potential to lead to innovative real-world applications.

The Award for Research Impact is sponsored by the Sydney Knowledge Hub and includes a three month membership to the University's coworking space for innovative businesses seeking to collaborate with the University.

People’s Choice Prize: $1,000 1st prize and $500 2nd prize
Shortlisted teams in each category will have the chance to win the People’s Choice Prize which is decided by an online public vote. 

Thank you to our 2021 judges:
Sharon Melamed, Founder & Managing Director, Matchboard; Xueying Yang, Co-Founder of iCare & Interdisciplinary Innovation Prize winner 2020; Andrew Black, Director Westmead Living Lab, University of Sydney; Julian Guinane, Founder CROSS – A new Generation Start Tracker & Research Innovation Prize winner 2020; Viji Venkataramani, Manager - Digital Innovation & Strategy, University of Sydney; Emily Bobis, Co-Founder Compass IOT & Start-up Innovation Prize winner 2020; MaryAnne Large, Inventing the Future, University of Sydney; Peter Lead, Head of Programs, BlueChilli; Jonathon Chak, Startup Coach and Consultant; Rupal Ismin, Director, Sydney Knowledge Hub; Shane Cox, Research Engineering & Design Lead at Scimita Ventures; Andrew Dowling, Founder & CEO at Stitch.net / Wipeoutloneliness.org; Susanna Scarparo, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Life), University of Sydney; Jestin George, Academic Innovation Coordinator, Innovation Hub, University of Sydney; Adam Bridgeman, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Educational Innovation, University of Sydney; Kate Glazebrook, Co-Founder and Chair at Applied; Joanne Howarth, Founder & CEO, Planet Protector Packaging; Markus Kahlbetzer, Founder & CEO Bridge Lane Group; Philippa Pattison, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Education), University of Sydney; Christopher Writer, Professor of Organisational Studies, Discipline of Strategy, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, University of Sydney

2021 Winners and shortlisted finalists

WINNER: Kids Learning Assistance Program (KLAP)
KLAP is Australia’s first online platform aiming to help close the big reading gap by directly connecting urban high schools with primary schools that have disadvantaged students struggling in learning/reading, especially in rural, remote areas.

Research shows one of the best ways to help kids’ reading is to get them reading buddies near their own age. Our city high school mentors, who have time and enthusiasm to inspire their young mentees to read, fit the criteria perfectly. In helping mentees, mentors also get skilled, become more confident, and attain a stronger sense of community.
Lucy Fang, Teresa Su, Therese Lee, Michelle Xu, Julia Kousparis

View the project

RCOVR
RCOVR is a digital healthcare service that seeks to alleviate some of the key pain points experienced by those with long-COVID. This service incorporates symptom tracking, informative content and a community of health experts to help redirect the narratives of these “long-haulers” and guide them in their journey back to health. Some of the key advantages include data analytics and integrated telehealth consultations, the experience of which is designed specifically for the complexities of long-COVID. The platform may also be used to further human knowledge about this emerging condition by contributing to ongoing research through improving data collection and quality.
Sarah Ellice-Flint, Samantha Holley, Kal Glanznig, Jarrod Chisholm

Deploying autonomous mobile lockers in logistics networks
Autonomous Mobile Lockers (AMLs) are introduced into current city logistics networks to reduce traffic congestion and save cost. The proposed system consists of couriers working with AMLs that visit the couriers in the field and transfer parcels between the couriers and the depot. Couriers can continue their tours without having to make repeated returns to the depot. At the same time, the AMLs can enlarge the coverage of each depot and allow a reduction in the number of depots, saving on rent.
Jun Li

WINNER: WasteLess App
Alarmingly, one third of the world's food is wasted, placing a large resource strain on the planet. Consumer households are the biggest driver of food waste in Australia, largely due to people forgetting to eat their foods before spoilage occurs.

To address this issue, we have designed WasteLess, a mobile app that digitises your food inventory. This features smart expiry date
approximations to help people remember and prioritise what to eat first. Consumption and wastage insights are also shown to help people make better decisions, while badges, progress achievements and the ability to connect with friends make wasting less fun.
Vivian Yu, Christina Liu, David Young, James Macintyre
View the project

Space-Pot
Space-Pots is a micro hybrid composter and aeroponic system, that is aimed at absorbing waste, and producing edible micro-greens. Space-Pots is a simple, portable compact grower, that can breaks down organic matter into liquid fertiliser to aeroponically deliver to plant roots. Space-Pots is a system that aims to provide a food for continuously evolving cities, and new frontiers.
James Stokes

Grounds for Change
Our project aims to develop a large-scale commercially viable process for converting spent coffee grounds (SCG) into a methane capture and storage medium. Research has shown that an activated carbon (AC) material derived from SCGs is an effective and stable agent for methane storage. However, no attempts have been made to apply this for real-world impact. We propose a three-fold process: (1) collect SCGs from cafes; (2) convert SCGs into ACs; (3) sell the methane storage product. By recycling SCGs, we can maximise the lifecycle of a coffee bean, turning Australia’s love for coffee into a sustainable one.
Jessica Zhan, Simon Lin, Sissy Qin

WINNER: Hydrogic
Hydrogic offers a scalable and decentralised method of producing Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2). H2O2 acts as a disinfectant and is used across a number of applications, including water treatment, textile bleaching, surface cleaning and hand sanitiser, all of which could be transformed by localised production. Our new electrochemical synthesis production system allows H2O2 to be produced anywhere, overcoming key challenges associated with storage, transportation and most prominently, cost. Currently, our focus is on water treatment where our potential early adopters are looking to service homes, hospitals and nursing homes across Australia.
Alyssa Wong, Li Wei, Douglas Chu, Emma Glendinning, Katherine Coffey, Margaret Huo

View the project 

Cybersecurity for utilities - solving a smart cities problem
We address the evolution of smart cities through cybersecurity concerns at utilities. We feel this is an issue after studying the impacts of cyberattacks like those on the Colonial Pipeline, a Florida water supply, the Ukranian power grid among others. It is really a question of when, not if a similar hack could wreak havoc in Australia so we promote a sensor-based system with an app allowing utility operators to have real time alerts about cyber threats. Just imagine the devastation if the Warragamba dam's floodgates were to be remotely opened without warning? The damage would be beyond belief.
Naosheyrvaan Nasir, Dominique Shina, Kaicheng Li, Tsz Wing Choi  

LOX – The Local Box
How many of you want a better quarantine and isolation experience? How many small businesses have shut down during the revenue lost? We are passionate in tackling those two questions with our design. LOX don’t just want to boost the recovery of businesses but also provide entertainment for the ‘isolaters’. We understand that isolation won’t be permanent and we need to expand our horizon. LOX also provides a new way for tourism by giving potential travellers a taste of what their potential destination has to offer in a box while allowing businesses opportunities for the local small businesses.
Coran Ho, Grace Suprapto, Raian Best, Nabil Hasan

WINNER: Sight for the Future
This project aims to save patients with corneal disease from a life of blindness. Keratoconus is the leading cause of corneal transplants worldwide, with the most vital improvement needed in early detection and predicting progression. Using machine learning we are working to improve surgical outcomes through the development of a progression index. We can take a set of clinical patient variables, run them through our developed Deep Machine Learning models and track patients from visit to visit, providing important progression information. This will assist ophthalmic surgeons in optimising surgical intervention and ultimately improve patient outcomes and avoid blindness.
Nicole Hallett

View the project

Could we print organs?
3D printing has begun to revolutionise manufacturing. However, the majority of biomedical applications are still not ready to enter the market. One of the major challenges is the control of biocompatibility on material surfaces to mimic and direct biological systems. I am developing a plasma-based tool that works in 3D printers to make precise surface modifications that are clean, fast, and can direct cell growth and differentiation. This plasma tool could allow a new generation of 3D printers capable of a range of healthcare solutions for patients that have poor treatment options. For example, printing replacement organs ‘good as new.’
Oliver Lotz

2021 People's Choice Award winners

Hydrogic offers a scalable and decentralised method of producing Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2). H2O2 acts as a disinfectant and is used across a number of applications, including water treatment, textile bleaching, surface cleaning and hand sanitiser, all of which could be transformed by localised production. Our new electrochemical synthesis production system allows H2O2 to be produced anywhere, overcoming key challenges associated with storage, transportation and most prominently, cost. Currently, our focus is on water treatment where our potential early adopters are looking to service homes, hospitals and nursing homes across Australia.

Alyssa Wong, Li Wei, Douglas Chu, Emma Glendinning, Katherine Coffey, Margaret Hu

View the project here

We address the evolution of smart cities through cybersecurity concerns at utilities. We feel this is an issue after studying the impacts of cyberattacks like those on the Colonial Pipeline, a Florida water supply, the Ukranian power grid among others. It is really a question of when, not if a similar hack could wreak havoc in Australia so we promote a sensor-based system with an app allowing utility operators to have real time alerts about cyber threats. Just imagine the devastation if the Warragamba dam's floodgates were to be remotely opened without warning? The damage would be beyond belief.

Naosheyrvaan Nasir, Dominique Shina, Kaicheng Li, Tsz Wing Choi  

View the project here