Celebrating Australia’s finest innovators

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering presented 2017’s finest innovators with the Clunies Ross Awards this Wednesday, June 14. The yearly ceremony honours three pre-eminent industry professionals who have applied technology in accessible ways that benefit both Australia and the global community. This year ingenuity, wisdom and determination shine as we celebrate a diverse group of awardees across medicine, defence and the development of algorithms with impact across many industries.

Professor Andrew Wilks FTSE: 25 years building a blood cancer drug

The 2017 Clunies Ross Entrepreneur of the Year award was presented to Professor Andrew Wilks FTSE, co-Founder and Executive Chairman of SYNthesis Pty Ltd. Professor Wilks has made key contributions to the development of a new drug for the treatment of several forms of blood cancer. Over almost 30 years he has worked tirelessly to benefit humankind. From the discovery of an important cellular enzyme to the design, development and testing of a new drug known as Momelotinib, Professor Wilks and his team have promise to continue profoundly impacting the lives of thousands of patients around the world

Mr Darryn Smart: Protecting our troops from IEDS

Mr Smart has been honoured with the 2017 Clunies Ross Knowledge Commercialisation Award.  He is the Group Leader of the Cyber and Electronic Warfar Division of the Defense Science and Technology Group. Mr Smart has completed years of research surrounding radio-active improvised explosive devices (IED) and has subsequently developed novel counter-IED units to protect Australian Defense Force soldiers and vehicles on the ground. The unique and highly advanced systems designed and developed by Mr Smart and his team have been commercialised with an estimated benefit of $64 million, and are set to make a notable impact on the global stage.

Professor Mike Xie FTSE: Changing the way we build things

The 2017 Clunies Ross Innovation Award was taken home by Professor Mike Xie FTSE, Director of the Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials at RMIT University. He has developed techniques to significantly reduce the weight and energy consumption of motor vehicles and aircraft, as well as to enable elegant bridge and building designs. The work of Professor Xie and his team has made an impact on a diverse range of industries including engineering, architecture, biomedicine and materials science. Major companies such as Arup, Boeing and Thales have already collaborated with Professor Xie to design the next generation of light weight and high performance structures and materials.

To find out more about the Clunies Ross Awards and this years’ awardees, visit their website.

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