Innovation News
Innovation News

The Australian Innovation Challenge categories and prize money


Category: Innovation News

The Australian Innovation Challenge is open to both individuals and teams in a range of professional categories and one general public category.

A panel of eminent judges will shortlist five entries in each professional category (Categories 1–7) as finalists to be featured in a dedicated section for the awards in The Australian and The Weekend Australian and online. From this set of finalists, a winner from each category will be selected and awarded a cash prize of $5000.

Each professional category winner becomes eligible for the final round of judging, with the overall winner taking out a further $25,000 in prize money.

In the Backyard Innovation category (Category 8), judges will select seven finalists to be covered in The Australian and The Weekend Australian and online. From this set of finalists, the judges will select an overall winner to receive a cash prize of $10,000.

In the event of a tie in any of the categories, the judges will reconvene to decide on a final winner.

Key dates

Category finalists will be announced in The Weekend Australian and the Wednesday edition of The Australian each week from November 2. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on November 28. Winners will be published in The Weekend Australian on November 30.

Professional categories (1–7)

1. Environment, Agriculture and Food ($5000 prize)

The environment category covers innovation, including clean energy technology, to help Australia reduce its carbon footprint and adapt to natural climate variability and global climate change. It also covers technology tackling problems in pollution control, biodiversity conservation, land degradation, and water conservation and quality. 
Agriculture and food covers breakthroughs in food production and processing and in ways to promote global food security as well as to safeguard the industry from invasive pests and exotic plant and animal diseases. 

2. Health ($5000 prize)

The health category covers innovation in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, and in the improvement of Australians’ quality of life through good health. It includes breakthroughs in the application of genetics, genomics, proteomics, biotechnology and nanotechnology, and the development of new treatments and medical devices.

3. Community Services ($5000 prize)

Social innovation and innovation in the organisation of community-based and public services is increasingly important to our quality of life. Examples include novel programs for community development, innovation in the delivery of public services, and social entrepreneurship in the not-for-profit arena.

4. Minerals and energy ($5000 prize)

The minerals and energy category covers innovation in minerals and energy exploration, extraction and processing. It includes advances in sustainable energy production and the deployment of platform technologies. 

5. Manufacturing and hi-tech design ($5000 prize)

The manufacturing and hi-tech design category covers innovation with the potential to make Australia’s manufacturing sector more efficient and competitive, to transform existing industries and to stimulate the creation of new industries and products. It also covers the use of hi-tech design as an integral element in supporting competitive manufacturing and exports. It includes breakthroughs in textiles and in the application of enabling technologies such as nanotechnology and advanced materials.

6. ICT ($5000 prize)

The ICT category covers innovation in digital technology and services, including systems with the potential to transform the productivity of the economy at large and the way we work, live and play. 

7. Education ($5000 prize)

The education category covers innovative advances promising to strengthen Australia’s skills base, to ensure both equity and quality in education and to consolidate our position in the global education market. It includes the application of new technology and services in teaching and learning.

Overall winner ($25,000 prize)*

8. Backyard Innovation ($10,000 prize)**

The Backyard Innovation category covers innovative ideas or inventions by the public. These need not yet be on the market but should be at an advanced stage of development, with a demonstration prototype if relevant. The scope of this category is open-ended, covering any inventions and novel proposals with the potential to make a difference to our lifestyles, environment, work or play. Entries could range from better domestic appliances to clever agricultural or construction technology.

*Only Professional category entries are eligible for the "overall winner" and category winner prizes.

**Backyard Innovation entries only eligible to win Backyard Innovation prize. 

In the event of a tie within a category, the judges will reconvene to decide on the final winner.

Source: The Australian

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