STEM innovators honoured with the Clunies Ross Awards

The prestigious Clunies Ross Awards, Australia’s premier innovation commercialisation awards, have been given to a select group of Australia’s pre-eminent innovators who persisted with their ideas to provide broad economic, social or environmental benefits. The awards were presented at the ATSE Innovation Dinner in Brisbane on 14 June.

2017 Clunies Ross Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Professor Andrew F. Wilks FTSE, co-founder and Executive Chairman of SYNthesis Pty Ltd, one of few Australian scientists who have stepped outside the security of the academic environment to focus solely on translating basic research to benefit humankind. His fundamental research on new cell-signaling enzymes, and the resulting new therapeutic drugs he and his team have developed, promise to continue to profoundly impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide. 

2017 Clunies Ross Knowledge Commercialisation Award

Mr Darryn Smart, Group Leader, Cyber and Electronic Warfare Division, Defence Science and Technology Group, has developed novel devices to counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and protect Australian Defence Force soldiers and vehicles as well as those of coalition partners. He and his team at DSTG in South Australia have designed, developed and produced four unique and highly advanced systems that have been commercialised with an estimated benefit of $64 million – showing how Australia’s cutting-edge technological development can make an impact on the global stage. 

2017 Clunies Ross Innovation Award

Professor Mike Xie FTSE, Director of the Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials at RMIT University, has developed techniques widely-used across diverse industries including engineering, architecture, biomedicine and materials science, which have significantly reduced the weight and associated energy consumption of motor vehicles and aircraft as well as enabled strikingly elegant bridge and building designs. 

From left to right: Mr Darryn Smart, Prof Andrew Wilks  and Prof Mike Xie

From left to right: Mr Darryn Smart, Prof Andrew Wilks  and Prof Mike Xie

The Clunies Ross Awards have been running since 1991 and winners have included many Australians who have become household names through their achievements.