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A James Cook University-developed disposable cooling vest for combating heat stress in hot working environments recently added a Tropical Innovation Award to its record of success.

UniQuest is helping the Cairns-based inventors commercialise the technology and congratulates the JCU team on the Award.

The aim of the Tropical Innovation Awards is to recognise, reward and support innovation and invention across the Far North Queensland region to support economic diversification and sustainability. More than 46 entries competed for prize money ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 in the categories of Tropical Innovation, Emerging Innovation, Eco Innovation, Innovation of the Year, and People’s Choice.

The winner of the Troplinks Tropical Innovation category, CoolMe™ technology, was developed by JCU researchers Dr Glen Deakin, Robert Ennis-Thomas and William Armstrong.  A company, GRW Industries, has been formed to commercialise the technology. The vest can be worn by emergency workers, miners and others working in extreme heat conditions. The vest promotes rapid recovery in heat stress situations and does not require pre-freezing or access to ice.

 The inventors will put the prize money towards further trials of the product.

UniQuest Managing Director, Mr David Henderson, said exploring all commercial possibilities for taking ideas like CoolMe™ out of the university and into the right environment where it can benefit consumers often included entering competitions like the Tropical Innovation Awards.

 “We congratulate the GRW team on yet another award success which has helped to promote not only the innovation itself but also the value of university-based research in finding solutions to identified areas of need in the community,” Mr Henderson said.

In May this year, the GRW team and the CoolMe™vest won a heat on an episode of ABC’s New Inventors program. Last year, the team won the inaugural Trailblazer Awards at JCU and UQ Business School’s prestigious $100,000 Enterprize business planning competition. 

UniQuest and GRW Industries are currently seeking investors to allow the first product to be launched onto the market now that preparations to commence manufacturing are well underway.  These activities represent key milestones along the innovation’s commercialisation journey.