UQ innovators light up the world with brilliant ideas

5 Aug 2011

UQ innovators light up the world with brilliant ideasBiologic bullets that target bacterial infections and an innovative method for sustainable ammonia production have won the Open and Student first prizes respectively in The University of Queensland (UQ) Final of UniQuest’s annual Trailblazer innovative ideas competition.

Runner Up prizes were awarded to a therapeutic approach to turning ‘angry fat cells’ in to ‘fit fat cells’ in the Open category, and to a new method for extracting gold in the Student category.

Run by UQ’s main research commercialisation company, the UniQuest Trailblazer competition rewards students and career academics who can demonstrate that their early-stage research ideas have commercial potential.

Staff and students from a wide range of UQ faculties, institutes and research centres submitted their innovative ideas and inventions to compete for a share of $10,000 in cash prizes. Winners were selected from a short-list of 20 finalists, who pitched their ideas to a panel of judges made up of commercialisation industry experts.

UQDI's Emily Duggan won a highly Commended in the Open Category and the Pitching Excellence Award at the UQ Trailblazer Final. Emily will now go forward to compete at the Grand Final and will be competing against four other universities for $50,000 in prizes at the Trailblazer Grand Final at UQ on 15 August.

UniQuest’s Managing Director, David Henderson, said the judges were extremely impressed with the calibre of projects and pitches this year.

“The margin between the highest and lowest scores was narrow, so making the final decisions about who would be awarded the prizes was quite a challenge for the judges,” Mr Henderson said.

“We were very pleased with the range and quality of all the entries in this year’s competition, and we are already working with some of the entrants to investigate potential commercial pathways for their ideas.

“Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to all the students and staff who supported Trailblazer this year.”


Winner: Open Category

Dr Trent Munro

Australian Institute for Bioengineering And Nanotechnology

Biologic Bullets for Beating Bacterial Infections

Winner: Student Category

Mr Callum Hickey

Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology

The Hickey Process

Runner Up: Open Category

Associate Professor Jon Whitehead, Ms Yu-Hee Kim And Ms Xiao Luo

Mater Medical Research Institute

Fit Fat Cells

Runner Up: Student Category

Mr William Hawker, Mr Patrick Littlejohn And Dr James Vaughan

Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology

Resin in a Basket

Highly Commended: Open Category

Ms Emily Duggan

UQ Diamantina Institute

Custom Databases for Lab/Clinical Management

Highly Commended: Student Category

Mr Sean Muir

Australian Institute for Bioengineering And Nanotechnology

Hydrofuel Vehicular Energy System

Pitching Excellence Award

Ms Emily Duggan


The UQ Trailblazer Final was sponsored by patent attorney firms Davies Collison Cave and Fisher Adams Kelly.

Media enquiries:

Leanne Wyvill +61 7 3365 4037, +61 409 767 199 or l.wyvill@uniquest.com.au