Current Students

Light up the world with brilliant ideas

Dr Ryan Wilkinson, from the Australian Maritime College was awarded the $3,000  Staff Winner prize for his project Rapid Fish Welfare Assessment In Aquaculture.

The annual Trailblazer competition has unearthed a variety of brilliant ideas from UTAS staff and students.

The Trailblazer competition aims to stimulate entrepreneurial thinking and encourage students and academics to consider the commercial potential of their intellectual assets.

Entries can relate to businesses, products, services, technologies or other innovations.

On 2 August UTAS finalists pitched their ideas to a judging panel which included experts in intellectual property management, business development, research commercialisation and industry engagement.

Dr Ryan Wilkinson, from the Australian Maritime College came out on top with his idea. He was awarded the $3,000  Staff Winner prize for his project Rapid Fish Welfare Assessment In Aquaculture.

Dr Wilkinson said fish farmers are under increasing pressure from supermarkets, animal welfare groups and consumers to improve and maintain fish welfare in aquaculture.

"This project aims to develop a rapid test for use in the aquaculture industry which will allow the identification and improvement of situations where fish welfare may be compromised."

Dr Wilkinson also won the Pitching excellence category  and was awarded another $1000 for the quality of his pitch.

The $3,000 Student Winner prize went to Human Interface Technology Laboratory Australia (HITLab) students James Rigall and Damon Thomas for their concept Level Up!

"Level Up! is a gamified social networking platform that forms part of a new approach to primary school teaching," Mr Rigall said.

"Level Up! is being developed by game designers and educators and will cater to the specific learning needs of 21st century students."

Dr Wilkinson, Mr Rigall and Mr Thomas will go on to compete against representatives from four other universities in a Grand Final 'shoot out' at The University of Queensland on 15 August.

UTAS Professor Patrick Nixon, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research),said Trailblazer is about identifying and rewarding ideas and innovations that have the potential to benefit the community, industry or business.

"It's also about helping university researchers, the people behind the ideas, to think about how a commercial pathway could attract wider interest in their work and additional sources of funding for research. It's about putting academic minds in touch with the business experts who can help make those ideas shine.

"The Trailblazer competition promotions this year prompt researchers to consider the possibilities. There are so many great inventions that we rely on in every aspect of our daily lives – paper, the internet, polymer bank notes, the espresso coffee machine. Imagine if these ideas had never come to light and attracted the support needed to develop them?" he said.

"Trailblazer offers a unique opportunity for ideas – from the Arts and Humanities, the Sciences, Business and IT – to spark into something bigger and brighter and beneficial for many more people."

All entrants also had two chances to win an iPad – one drawn at the UTAS Awards Ceremony and the second at the Grand Final. Dr Robert Shellie, from the UTAS School of Chemistry, was the lucky recipient at the UTAS ceremony.

Past prize recipients of Trailblazer at UTAS have included Susan Lambert (TIA) for WaterProfit irrigation technology and PhD student Tim Law (Architecture and Engineering) for DTAC air conditioning technology.

This year's Trailblazer is sponsored by patent and trade mark attorneys Fisher Adams Kelly and Davies Collison Cave; intellectual property firm Shelston IP; patent and trade mark attorneys and IP lawyers Griffith Hack; audit, tax, advisory and accountancy firm BDO; corporate training company NRG Solutions; consumer health care company sanofi-aventis; and New Scientist magazine.

Here are the 2011 finalists and their brilliant projects:

FinalistProject Title

Associate Professor Greg Dicinoski Australian Centre for Separation Science

Scantex Explosive Analyser

Associate Professor Calum Wilson Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture

Superspuds - disease resistant and market ready

Professor Emily Hilder Australian Centre for Separation Science


Associate Professor Simon Ellingsen School of Mathematics and Physics

Vectors - Get to the point

Associate Professor Robert Shellie Australian Centre for Separation Science

Quality by Design in Multidimensional Chromatography

Dr Andrew Fluck Faculty of Education

eExams to transform university teaching

Dr Tracey Muir Faculty of Education

Where in the world is my book?

Mr Tim Law School of Architecture and Design / School of Engineering

Ductless Task Air-conditioning

Ms Christina Henri (Student)School of Visual and Performing Arts

An Education, Cultural Tourism APP innovation

Mr Roland Lee (Student)School of Chemistry

Novel paper based DGT's

Details on how to enter, prizes, and other benefits can be found on the UniQuest website.

Photo: Dr Ryan Wilkinson, from the Australian Maritime College was awarded the $3,000  Staff Winner prize for his project Rapid Fish Welfare Assessment In Aquaculture.

Published on: 04 Aug 2011 4:03pm