Science

Inventor of Year Awards

Thursday, 25 March, 2010


Enterprising science students could earn substantial prize money and a coveted UNSW award by submitting an entry in the 2010 UNSW Inventor of the Year Awards by April 22.

Carrying a total cash prize pool of $28,000, the awards are open to UNSW academics and students who are commercialising their research with NewSouth Innovations, UNSW's commercialisation company. The awards reward commercialisation excellence in biomedicine, science & engineering, environmental science and information and communication technology.

This year's awards introduce a student inventor prize recognising research commercialisation by UNSW students. Two UNSW students - Ly Mai and Ori Allon - were among the finalists at the 2009 IOY Awards. PhD student Ly Mai is the co-inventor of several new solar cell technologies that are helping solar power to become more affordable. Ori Allon is the lead inventor of an algorithm that delivers better search engine results. Google bought the algorithm from UNSW in 2006 and Ori, who received his PhD from UNSW last year, now works for the iconic company at its US headquarters in California.

Former UNSW science student Saul Griffith is an inventor and co-founder of numerous innovation companies, including Low Cost Eyeglasses, Squid Labs, Potenco, Instructables.com and Makani Power. Saul studied materials science at UNSW and later completed a PhD in programmable assembly and self-replicating machines at MIT. He holds multiple patents and patents pending in textiles, optics, nanotechnology, and energy production.

This year's IOY awards also introduce two prizes encouraging researchers and students who submit Intellectual Property Notifications to NewSouth Innovations. IP Notifications are the starting point for commercialising new ideas that could make a positive impact on the world. NewSouth Innovations receives around 100 new IP notifications annually from staff and students. All IPNs submitted in the 12 months to 30 June 2010 will automatically be entered for the IPN award.

Professors Veena Sahajwalla and Brett Neilan of the Faculty of Science were among the winners and finalists in last year's IOY awards. Last year's full list of finalists and winners can be viewed here. The winners of this year's UNSW Inventor Awards will be announced at a gala event on Thursday 2 September.

Further information:
Steve Brodie, 02-9385 6585 or s.brodie@nsinnovations.com.au