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Meet the finalists of the 2022 Student Innovation Awards

19 September 2022

Student entrepreneures tackle real-world issues

The Student Innovation Awards celebrate student ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit, showcasing ideas from students and their solutions to real-world issues.

This year, the Student Innovation Awards recognised student-led projects that offered solutions to social, developmental, economic or environmental challenges through innovative ideas, transformative research and interdisciplinary collaborations. 

A clinical trial on Muscle Dysmorphia, musical mushrooms, an app that minimises food waste, and an improvised theatre show are just some of the ideas students have developed as part of the 2022 Student Innovation Awards. 

Check out the finalists for each category below and vote for your favourite to win the People's Choice Prize.

Musical Mushrooms

Musical Mushrooms are an interactive light and sound system, which utilises the naturally occurring frequencies conducted by mushrooms, which changes in response to human touch

Lines of Best Fit

Lines of Best Fit is an improvised theatre show that brings together scientists and improvisors to communicate science in a creative and innovative way.

Summary of award finalists

This award recognises innovative student projects with the potential to drive a positive social impact in the wider community. 

Lines of Best Fit - Olivia McRae 

'Lines of Best Fit' is an improvised theatre show that brings together scientists and improvisors to communicate science in a creative and innovative way. Through combining science talks with improv comedy, these performances aim to engage audiences with science and provide them with an enjoyable experience. Each performance features a talk by a scientist which the improvisors have never seen, followed by a set of improvised scenes inspired by the science. The improv aspect entices people to engage with science in a new and fun way and also helps to solidify the concepts introduced in the talks.

EDhance Learning - Franco De Joya, Adam Taras, Adam Parslow, Lydia Fagan, Angela Tran, Annaliese McGuirk, Harrison Armour, Fiona Dieu, Peter Savignano, Matthew McGuire 

EDhance Learning asks the question: “what if we made education design collaborative and accessible?” We at EDhance Learning, aim to build community collaboration platforms that empower educators, industry stakeholders and the broader learning community to take ownership of reimagining curriculum and learning design. We enable people to show, not tell, what they would like to see in education. We aim to leverage the hackathon model to develop hands-on professional development, conferences and other events that produce tangible evidence of collaboration that are shareable. Our innovative digital platform, The Learning Library, then allows educators across Australia to access these learning resources.

Startly - Barnabas Buffier

Startly is a peer-to-peer social ecommerce platform that serves to modernise the outdated practices of selling art, by condensing the art selling process into an accessible, easy-to-use and cost effective procedure that bridges the gap between amateur artists and art enthusiasts.

This award recognises innovative student projects with the potential to create positive environmental impact.

For the first time in 2022 an exciting cross-University collaboration, the Award for Planetary Impact is sponsored by new partners Sydney Environment Institute and Sustainability at Sydney.

Zipr: making secondhand fashionable to lessen our impact on the planet - Amber Linz 

Zipr enables creators to monetise their wardrobe through video. We're building a community that unites local fashionistas on a global scale. Our mission is to make secondhand fun, exciting and beautiful so that it becomes the first choice for Gen Z. By making secondhand entertaining and personalised, it will build the necessary hype needed to transform the minds of traditionally non eco-minded people. Zipr connects people based on their style, body type and location so that as they scroll through their feed, they can feel inspired and meet up locally to exchange clothing.

Musical Mushrooms - Aidan Puse, Brooklyn Tanovic, Shiraz Centre, Lillian Knothe

Musical Mushrooms are an interactive light and sound system, which utilises the naturally occurring frequencies conducted by mushrooms, which changes in response to human touch. When contact is made with the mushroom, the frequency read is converted into pitch and expressed audibly through a synthesiser. This produces ambient, low fidelity sounds. This process is called "bio-data sonification". Various LEDs will visualise the audio expressed. Overall this creates a multisensory experience that illuminates the natural processes of the environment, which we hope will incite participants to begin thinking more about the post-anthropocene - the foundational mindset toward achieving smart sustainable cities.

Blue Osmosis - Ethan Samuels and Eesha Agrawal 

Addressing the lack of access to clean drinking water in remote communities. Blue Osmosis has created a coupled system to improve water quality on a global scale. With your support, our innovative filtration and purification system will improve health and water sanitation in impoverished and rural communities across the globe.

This award recognises interdisciplinary student projects with the potential to lead to innovative real-world applications.

Euroka Power - Tiaan Stals, Tom Bannerman, Anita Ho-Ballie, Shi Tang

Euroka Power is a student-led initiative to develop next generation space grade solar cells. The project seeks to address a critical challenge in the advancement of the space industry: low cost, light and inexpensive power. The team has secured payload positions on board the CUAVA-2 (April 2023) and Waratah Seed (September 2023) to verify the performance of their proof of concept design. Providing world-first data on in-orbit performance of perovskite cells, the team hopes this is only a stepping stone in enabling a revolution of space capabilities driven by rapid reductions in the cost of power.

Ever Evolving: The Future of Online Luxury - Noah Sant, Jackie Tu, Yichao Lin, Chuyi He, Marie Hu, Lily Xue, Laura Yu 

The luxury landscape is ever-evolving as the digital shift is changing consumer purchasing behaviour. In partnership with Cartier, we have identified the challenge of providing exclusive and personalised services through its website. This report adopts practical methodologies and extensive research, providing three feasible recommendations that effectively improve a client's journey on Cartier’s website. Our recommendations include the aesthetic redesign of Cartier’s website page to protect the luxury trait of exclusivity, the hand visualiser function, which enhances the personalisation of the client journey, and the virtual appointment for re-establishing the human touch of Cartier’s valuable assistant-customer interaction in an online environment.

Food0Waste - Andrew Nguyen, Joe Guo, Bryan Loo 

Food0Waste is an app that encourages people to re-establish food distribution channels so that excess household food can be diverted to those who need it.

This award recognises research projects with 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.

Commercialization Partnering Project - Jed Austin 

This project partners scientific researchers who have a promising invention with business school MBA students who have the resources and skills to take that invention to market. Through a twelve week program, the MBA students learn about the technology, research the market and competitors, engage with stakeholders such as clinicians and industry partners, then develop an actionable strategy, sometimes even staying on to carry out that plan as an entrepreneurial partner. By bringing together scientists and MBA students, we create a complementary partnership that has the potential to effectively yield real-world impact from academic research.

Establishing Effective Treatments for Muscle Dysmorphia - Jordan Martenstyn 

Muscle Dysmorphia is a psychological disorder included in the DSM-5 that is defined by intense preoccupation that one lacks muscularity and/or leanness, causing significant functional impairment in social, occupational, and other activities. Although the first scientific article on Muscle Dysmorphia was published back in 1993, there have not been any clinical trials conducted on the disorder. Next year, as part of my PhD, I’ll be conducting the first ever clinical trial on Muscle Dysmorphia. This clinical trial represents the first step to helping people with Muscle Dysmorphia receive the treatment they deserve.

Finding strategies with patients, carers, healthcare professionals and national committees to improve the utilisation of cardiac rehabilitation - Deborah Manandi 

Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) programs offer patients support to improve quality of life, prevent recurrent events and premature death. However, only 30% of eligible patients in Australia were referred, and only 28% of referred patients participated in CR. Poor CR referral and participation appeared exacerbated among patients from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds, who are often with worse risk-factor profile and poorer health literacy. Tailored strategies to improve referral and participation among these patients therefore remains critical.

An anonymous online forum: Understanding the perceptions, needs and wants of people with social anxiety to conceptualise an empirically based psycho-educational mobile app - Trent Ernest Hammond 

The University of Sydneny Student Innovation Award 2022 and People's Choice Prize, combined with funding from other grants and scholarships, will allow me to conduct study 3 of 3 of my PhD research project. Study 3 will involve holding an anonymous online forum with 50 people with social anxiety to understand future app-users’ perceptions and preferences of app designs and features, and their needs/wants. Participants will rate mock-up apps, describe what they think and feel about the design of the proposed app, and communicate directly with me in a setting of their own choosing in their own time.

Voting for the People's Choice Prize is open from Monday 19 September to Thursday 6 October.

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