UniQuest has launched its 2012 Trailblazer annual entrepreneurial ideas and innovations competition, with a share of $100,000 worth of cash prizes on offer.

Managing Director, David Henderson, said Trailblazer was a popular and successful program for stimulating and rewarding entrepreneurial thinking among Australian researchers.

“Trailblazer is a unique opportunity for students and researchers to bring to light brilliant ideas that have the potential to change the way lives are lived, products are made or how businesses are run in the future,” said Mr Henderson.

“We started Trailblazer at The University of Queensland (UQ) in 2003. This year it will be run at UQ, James Cook University, University of Tasmania and University of Technology, Sydney,” he said.

“Over the past decade, UniQuest has worked with many Trailblazer finalists to attract wider interest in their work and additional funding to further their research – collectively, they have attracted more than $20 million in grants and commercial investment. This demonstrates the calibre of the ideas entered in Trailblazer and the potential of those ideas to better our lives.”

Examples include:

  • Following the success of its Phase I clinical safety trials, last year Spinifex Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd secured A$6.3 million in the final tranche of an A$18.3 million series B round to fund clinical efficacy trials of its innovative neuropathic (nerve) pain therapy.
  • Hydrexia Pty Ltd, a start-up commercialising an inexpensive and safe hydrogen storage technology, has benefited from a $96,000 Queensland Sustainable Energy Innovation Fund grant, $5.6 million in venture capital, a $1.48 million Climate Ready Program grant, and most recently, a $762,806 grant from Commercialisation Australia.
  • ‘Family Transitions: Positive Parenting after Divorce’ is now in the marketplace as one of the suite of Triple P Positive Parenting Programs. Triple P is currently available in 18 languages for families in 23 countries. Triple P International employs 80+ staff and earns 90 per cent of its revenue overseas.

Trailblazer is open to staff and students from all faculties, institutes and research centres at UniQuest’s partner research institutions. Entries can relate to businesses, products, services, technologies or other innovations but must have the potential to ‘spark’ something bigger and brighter and beneficial for many people.

Up to 20 finalists will be selected for each of the four University Finals in August. Finalists must pitch their ideas to a judging panel that includes experts in intellectual property management, business development, research commercialisation and industry engagement.

Over $12,000 in cash prizes will be awarded at special presentation ceremonies at the end of each Final. Winners from the University Finals will compete for two $25,000 cash prizes at a Grand Final at UQ on 4 September.

All entrants will have a chance to win an iPad, with one prize drawn at each University Final Awards Ceremony and another at the Grand Final.

Finalists also will have the opportunity to develop their pitching skills by attending professional presentation training sessions and working closely with UniQuest’s Managers of Innovation and Commercial Development.

This year’s Trailblazer Series is sponsored by patent and trade mark attorneys Davies Collison Cave and Fisher Adams Kelly. Other sponsors include Campus Travel; corporate training company NRG Solutions; patent and trade mark attorneys and IP lawyers Griffith Hack; law firm DibbsBarker; and broadcast events facilitator Redback Conferencing.

Entries close on Friday 13 July. Finalists will be announced on Wednesday 1 August. For more information about the event, past winners, and entry details, visit the Trailblazer website.

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