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Awards celebrate innovation game-changers

26 November 2015

Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy has congratulated the University of Western Australia’s Professor Robert McLaughlin for developing his Microscope-in-a-needle, overall winner of The Australian Innovation Challenge for 2015.

“The judges described this hand-held probe as a potential game-changer in clinical practice and likely to have applications in other fields,” Mr Roy said.

“It’s an innovation that exemplifies Australian ingenuity by working through all the issues associated with making a medical-imaging tool so small it can be sheathed in a needle.

“It is yet another illustration of how innovation aimed at solving specific problems almost always has wider applications.”

Mr Roy said heavy interest in The Australian Innovation Challenge reflected Australians’ creative drive.

“The individual category winners demonstrate how great ideas can be turned into outcomes of striking impact,” Mr Roy said.

“They also show how we can build diversity into our economy by embracing innovation.

“These are very exciting developments: from a new variety of sweet corn which can protect eyesight, to an application linking those in need with others who have the capacity to give, and a process that turns plastic waste into reinforcing materials for concrete.”

Mr Roy said The Australian Innovation Challenge was important to championing entrepreneurship.

“Our nation’s future will depend on a cultural shift towards growing our entrepreneurial spirit,” Mr Roy said.

“These awards not only recognise winners but send the message that entrepreneurialism is in reach of all Australians who are prepared to pursue ideas, take a risk and try again if they fail at first.

“We can have all the good ideas as a nation; but we will miss opportunities if we don’t also have an accommodating innovation ecosystem that allows Australians to pursue them.”

Media contacts: Mr Roy's office 02 6277 4646