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Student Innovation Challenge

A celebration of ideas
Students pitched their start-ups, innovative research and inter-disciplinary projects in an expo-style event on Tuesday 31 July 2018.

The Student Innovation Challenge is an opportunity for undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Sydney to generate novel solutions to real-world problems.

The annual compeition, run annual as part of Innovation Week, saw students pitch their start-ups, innovative research and inter-disciplinary projects in an expo-style showcase on Tuesday 31 July. There was a $30,000 prize pool for the best solutions to a real-world problem. 

2018 judges

Craig Blair is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at AirTree Ventures, one of the largest venture capital funds in Australia.

Prior to AirTree, Craig was an Executive Director of Netus, an Australian venture capital fund that delivered globally top decile returns to investors. In addition to investing, Craig has been involved in building some of Australia’s and the UK’s leading software businesses. He is currently Executive Chairman of Pet Circle, and previously was the CEO & Executive Chairman of Beamly and the Founder & Director of Travelselect, one of the early online travel companies in the UK that successfully exited to Lastminute.com.

Craig’s earlier career involved management consultancy, investment banking and civil engineering. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Sydney, as well as an MBA from INSEAD.

By experimenting with both traditional and experimental malts, grains and botanicals, Will and his team have created a unique range of award winning spirits with the aim of inspiring others to explore the world of local distilling.

Founded in 2014 and located in Rosebery, Sydney – just a few kilometres south of the city – Archie Rose Distilling Co. proudly produces a diverse range of internationally awarded whiskies, gins, vodkas and rums, as well as one-off collaborations, limited releases and spirits experiences.

Dharmica is co-founder and Chief Scientist at BCAL Diagnostics, a small Australian biotechnology company developing a revolutionary blood test for the detection of breast cancer. Dharmica holds a BSc (Hons) from Sydney University, majoring in Microbiology. She was awarded a PhD from Macquarie University for her work on the detection and characterization of novel biomarkers in blood and hair that could be used as the basis for a blood test for breast cancer.

Dharmica was named NSW Young Woman of the Year in 2016 and was announced as one of Australia’s' top six young executives in Australian Financial Review's BOSS Magazine in the same year. 

2018 categories and prizes

  • Startup Innovation Prize ($10,000)
    For innovations which have commercial potential.
  • Research Innovation Prize ($10,000)
    For research which has been translated into a practical application. 
  • Interdisciplinary Innovation Prize ($5000)
    For interdisciplinary solutions to real-world problems. 
  • Alumni Innovation Prize ($5000)
    By nomination only.