Showing posts with label Science and Technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Science and Technology. Show all posts

Friday, 1 May 2015

Nominations open for inaugural ACT Scientist of the Year Award

2015 ACT Scientist of the Year award banner

Nominations are now open for the inaugural ACT Scientist of the Year Award.

The Award seeks to recognise the achievements of an ‘up-and-coming’ scientist who has significant potential to continue to achieve in their chosen field of research. It is an opportunity to showcase the contribution that Canberrans make to the world of science and innovation, both nationally and worldwide.

It will be presented for the first time in 2015, and will be open to individual scientists working in basic or applied research and science, in all fields of science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). To be eligible scientists must also have finished their PhD within the last 10 years, and be in the ACT conducting research.

The winning scientist will receive a $30,000 prize and will become a science ambassador for the ACT by encouraging and inspiring young people to consider a career in science and promoting the ACT as a centre of knowledge and scientific research and innovation.

The winner will be announced during National Science Week in August.

Nominations close 9 June 2015.

For more information, including eligibility criteria, visit the Scientist of the Year webpage External Link - opens in new window.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Bionic Eye trialled in Canberra

NICTA, Australia’s Information Communications Technology (ICT) Research Centre of Excellence and the nation’s largest organisation dedicated to ICT research last week conducted their latest round of testing of their bionic eye.

Tested in NICTA’s Canberra Research Laboratory, the bionic eye has been in development since 2010. This is the first time the patients have tested the bionic eye while moving through a physical setting, previously they have been reacting to objects as they appeared on a computer screen while seated.

Dianne Ashworth, who has been blind for more than 20 years, is one of the patients taking part in the testing. Dr Ashworth said ‘’It’s been amazing. The more I’ve been doing it, the more natural it feels.’’

Watch this video to find out more about the bionic eye External Link - opens in new window and see the testing in action, or read more in the Canberra Times article, Bionic eye trial 'really promising' External Link - opens in new window.

Friday, 14 March 2014

QuintessenceLabs named Australia’s most innovative small company by AIIA

2013 ACT Emerging Exporter winner QuintessenceLabs has added another title to its belt, being named Australia’s most innovative small company by the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA).

The prestigious recognition resulted from a comprehensive national study of the innovation culture of organisations conducted for the AIIA by the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). The study, led by Professor Steve Burdon from the UTS, examined ten requirements for a superior culture of innovation including vision, integration of innovation, adaptability to change, inclusive culture and action orientation.

Dr Vikram Sharma, Founder and CEO of QuintessenceLabs said “We are honoured to have received this recognition and are deeply grateful to the AIIA and UTS”.

“As Professor Burdon noted, the research recognised organisations for their development of a culture supportive of the development and execution of good ideas, taking measured risks and focused on growth. I am privileged to work with a team that embraces these traits.”

Canberra-based QuintessenceLabs is a Quantum Cyber Security company and the world’s first to harness the quantum properties of lasers to deliver a new generation of cryptographic protection for data.

Through combining information communication technologies with the laws of quantum physics, they work to protect digital information for the purposes of national security and the economic prosperity of a variety of businesses and industries.

Earlier this year the company successfully completed a global capital raise and established a team in the United States.

“QuintessenceLabs’ advanced data security solutions are experiencing strong demand from federal and enterprise customers”, said Dr Sharma.

”Our recent successful fund raise has enabled us to appoint a high calibre leadership team to drive growth in North America.”

This success comes after QuintessenceLabs won the Emerging Exporter Award at both the 2011 and 2013 ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards. Read more about QuintessenceLabs and the ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

IOU app helps to mix friends and money

Screen shots of QuicklyPay.It app

Splitting bills and other expenses with friends, flatmates and family members can often get awkward, but a new app by two Canberra developers aims to take this pain away! makes dealing with split payments - from a group of friends contributing to a birthday gift to flatmates sharing the power bill - quick, easy and secure. The app makes everything transparent so people can see in real time who has paid whom, and who still owes money, while messaging lends a personal touch.

The app allows users to pay their friends using a debit or credit card. Secured with a validated level one PCI DSS card processing provider and advanced encryption methods, securely transfers money between friends while protecting everyone's financial details.

As well as using a debit or credit card, the app is the first of its kind to allow people to pay friends using the digital currency, Bitcoin. Bitcoin holders simply type in their Bitcoin address or scan their Bitcoin QR code and sends the recipient the amount in Australian dollars. has been developed by local business Imagine Team. The project received support through the ACT Government's Innovation Connect grant program.

Zakaria Bouguettaya, one of the developers of, said the idea for the app came about when he went for dinner with friends at a restaurant. As the restaurant had a policy against splitting bills, Bouguettaya ended up paying for everyone.

"The problem came about when I wanted to chase everyone up for payment. Individually, $20 wasn't worth an aggressive push to get the money back, but in total $120 wasn't something I could ignore," Bouguettaya said.

"I didn't want to be seen as a cheapskate, but at the same time I realised most of my friends had simply forgotten to pay me back. From there, my co-developer Andrew and I started to conceptualise an app that could manage these awkward social payment situations for you."

As well as providing the ability to transfer money, the app has a messaging feature meaning people can add the story behind a payment, discuss finer details and inject a bit of personality. shows you when someone's seen your message, adding a layer of accountability.

The app also takes away the hassle and awkwardness of chasing people for money by sending automatic reminders. Group payments are highly transparent, notifying everyone when a person makes a payment in real time, acting as a reminder to others with an added element of peer pressure.

The app is free and available to download for iOS and Android. To find out more visit the websitExternal Link - opens in new window.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Canberra to benefit from new Innovation Partnerships

Canberra’s space and spatial technology fields are set to grow with the announcement of a multimillion dollar innovation partnership to be headquartered at Mount Stromlo.

The Space and Spatial Innovation Partnership is collaboration between industry, government, defence, research and education organisations, with ANU as a core partner. Supporting them will be local company, EOS, who have been working from Mt Stromlo for a number of years deploying their technology to monitor space junk in danger of destroying satellite communications.

Professor Matthew Colless, Director of ANU’s Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics, said that this type of collaboration was vital for the future of science in Australia.

In speaking with the Canberra Times, Professor Colless said “It’s a big network, and one that we think will really allow us to bring together what are essentially a whole bunch of relatively small and medium industries, and it will give them enough grunt and force to actually leverage growth of the industry in Australia”.

“We’re taking advantage of the fact that the ACT has got the ANU here, and a very highly educated base here to become more of a high tech city than it is now… We’d like to make Mount Stromlo a technology park as well as a centre of academic excellence”. Read the full article External Link - opens in new window.

The Space and Spatial Innovation Partnership will use the ANU’s world-class Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre (AITC) External Link - opens in new window as a key facility.

“The Industry Innovation Partnership will help the interchange of ideas and, hopefully, spur the development of the space and spatial industries in Australia. In fact, the use of the AITC will enable Australian industry and research organisations to be more competitive in the international market” said Professor Colless. Find out more about the Space and Innovation Partnership in ANU hosts space innovation partnership External Link - opens in new window.

The announcement of the Space and Spatial Innovation Partnership comes in the same week as the Sports Technology, Creative Digital, and Smart Transport and Logistics Innovation Partnerships were announced. The ACT’s involvement in all four of the partnerships will raise  Canberra’s profile as both a centre of research excellence and its reputation as a driver of small industry development.

The industry-led Sports Technology Innovation Partnership aims to create new high value jobs, boost exports and improve Australia’s performance in commercialising sports technologies. Headquartered in Geelong, the partnership will have strong connections with Canberra, with both the Australian Institute of Sport and the University of Canberra named as partners.

The Creative Digital Innovation Partnership will represent the creative digital industries, spanning the creative and information and communications technology industries, and their innovations. It will be headquartered in Sydney with nodes in three other locations, including Canberra.

The final partnership, the Smart Transport and Logistics Partnership brings together a range of industry and research partners with the aim of driving productivity and efficiency in the transport and logistics sector through technology innovation. The precinct addresses a major Australian industry which is anticipated to undergo massive growth in the next decade and which impacts the productivity of every industry in Australia.

All four of the partnerships were supported by the ACT Government and have strong collaboration connections to Canberra and our universities and business sectors. They are a part of the Australian Government’s Innovation Partnership program, a part of its commitment to supporting the growth and competitiveness of Australia businesses.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Making Canberra even smarter!

Digital Canberra Challenge

Engaging Canberra’s brightest minds to help build and support a dynamic, healthy and prosperous Digital City for the 21st century. That’s the aim of the new ACT Government initiative, the Digital Canberra Challenge.

The Digital Canberra Challenge was launched on 19 August 2013 by Minister Barr MLA, ACT Minister for Economic Development. The Challenge is an initiative of Growth, Diversification and Jobs: A Business Development Strategy for the ACT, and aims to engage ACT innovators and SMEs in the development of new or improved digital government services.

Supported by NICTA External Link - opens in new window, CollabIT External Link - opens in new window and the Canberra Business Council External Link - opens in new window, the Digital Canberra Challenge will be delivered by eGovernment Cluster External Link - opens in new window under the direction of a Program Board chaired by Tony Henshaw, a local industry leader in the ICT sector.

Leading up to each round of the Challenge, people will have the opportunity to put forward unresolved business challenges relating to the delivery of government services – things that they think could be done faster, better, smarter or more efficiently.

From the pool of potential challenges that are submitted, the ones that have the most potential for innovative solutions that can benefit a real area of need for Canberra will be chosen.

From then, the challenge is on! The call will go out to Canberra’s brightest minds from our ICT innovation community, asking them to put together submissions answering the challenge brief.

The best two ideas are chosen from the submissions received. The shortlisted teams are then set into head to head competition, partnering with the ACT Government to develop their ideas into 'proof-of-concept' prototypes. Coaching, mentoring and research assistance will be provided to the successful innovators or SMEs. Contestants in the Challenge will also be able to apply for separate Innovation Connect grant funding to help with the commercialisation of their products and ideas.

After six months of development the two solutions are judged, and the team that produces the best outcome for Canberra will be named the winner of the Digital Canberra Challenge, receiving $12,500 in prize money. The runner up will receive $7,500 in prize money.

The winning idea will then be put to work to help improve our city!

The first round is scheduled to begin in September 2013.

Do you know of something that has the opportunity for improvement? Do you think you can out innovate the competition?

Visit the Digital Canberra Challenge website External Link - opens in new window to help set the challenge, become a competitor or to find out more information.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

National Science Week: Canberra celebrates a century of science

National Science Week

National Science Week is Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology.

Held annually in August, it features approximately 1,000 events around Australia, including those delivered by universities, schools, museums and science centres.

This year National Science Week will be held between 10-18 August 2013. In the ACT, the week will celebrate a century of science in Canberra.

“This year is a big year for science in the ACT as we celebrate our centenary and the significant past and present role science and innovation plays in our community” ACT Deputy Chief Minister, Andrew Barr MLA said.

Canberra is home to a number of the nation's significant National Collections and a wealth of science and education facilities. These include the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), established in 1926, the John Curtin School of Medical Research, established in 1948, and Canberra’s world class space complex, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, in 1960.

A number of ideas and innovations have come out of these and other Canberra institutions, from man's first steps on the Moon, to the development of Aerogard fly spray, to no fewer than eight Nobel Prizes. Find out more about Canberra’s Science highlights External Link - opens in new window.

A wide range of events are being held in Canberra as part National Science Week, including a NICTA Big Picture Seminar.

The Big Picture Seminar is an initiative of NICTA External Link - opens in new window, Australia’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Research Centre of Excellence, and is designed to communicate the exciting and rapidly evolving vision of science, in general and ICT, in particular, around the globe. The Big Picture Seminar is being held on Thursday 15 August 2013 and features Dr Kim Ritman, Chief Scientist of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) External Link - opens in new window. View the full list of National Science Week events External Link - opens in new window.

National Science Week is an initiative of the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education and is supported by the ACT Government.

“The ACT Government is delighted to once again be the major supporter of National Science Week in the ACT” said Mr Barr.

“The ACT Government recognises the importance of a scientifically engaged community – one that is informed and excited about science and values its significance to our economic and social well-being. We want to see our young people inspired by science and see them pursue scientific studies and careers, to gain and build scientific knowledge and apply this to the challenges and opportunities that we all face now and in the future”

As well as National Science Week, the ACT Government has supported a number of programs aimed at fostering research and innovation in the ACT including NICTA, the Innovation Connect grant program and the Strategic Opportunities Fund.

To find out more about National Science Week visit External Link - opens in new window.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Moon Antenna Supports Future STARS of Science

STARS logo

On 21 July, 44 years ago, the 26 metre dish antenna at the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station on the outskirts of Canberra received the first signals from the Moon and made it possible for the world to watch Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the lunar surface via television. This antenna was later relocated to the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex and after a productive service was retired in November 2009. 

Thanks to a grant from the ACT Government’s Strategic Opportunities Fund, and a partnership between the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) External Link - opens in new window, the ANU Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre (AITC) External Link - opens in new window and the ACT Education and Training Directorate External Link - opens in new window, the antenna will once again be playing an important role by supporting Australian science, engineering and education.

The STAR Student Program will help engage students in science and engineering at secondary school and provide industry-focused training for undergraduate engineering and science students. 

“It is important that students see the relevance of what they are studying and connect with a future study and career path” said Dr Naomi Mathers, Industry Liaison Engineer, ANU AITC.

“We hope this program will help address the future skills shortage identified by our Chief Scientist and groups like Engineers Australia, and boost Australia’s competitiveness in the innovation sector. We need to inspire students to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at secondary school for them to aspire to Science and Engineering courses at university.”

The existing control room building next to the antenna will be refurbished to create a mission control-style environment where students can access a pilot-program through NASA Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope (GAVRT), and will later support hands-on programs for students and the public.

Speaking on the STARS Program, CDSCC Director, Dr Ed Kruzins said, “This program will celebrate Australia’s contribution to space science and engineering and help develop the skilled workforce we need to realise future opportunities”.

“In the future we hope to see this iconic Australian antenna dish active once again and contributing to new discoveries made by the next generation of space explorers”.

To find out more information on the STARS program contact Glen Nagle, CDSCC Education & Outreach Manager by email or phone (02) 6201 7838.

Friday, 14 June 2013

NICTA Farewells Founding Board Member

At its May board meeting, NICTA External Link - opens in new window, Australia’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Research Centre of Excellence, farewelled board member Brand Hoff.

Mr Hoff had been involved with NICTA since its inception and is one of the longest servicing board members.  He has more than 40 years experience in the ICT industry, including the development of the Australian Bibliographic Network for the National Library of Australia as well as work with the Treasury department.

In 1985, Mr Hoff founded TOWER Software Engineering, a business he grew into a Canberra-based multinational.  The business received numerous industry accolades including three Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) iAwards, ACT Small Business of the Year, NSW Emerging Exporter of the Year and the National AusIndustry Innovation Award. TOWER, which developed the TRIM content management software, was sold to Hewlett Packard in May 2008, following a formal takeover offer.
Mr Hoff is well known and highly respected member of the Canberra business community. He is the immediate past Chair of the Canberra Business Council and continues to serve the Council as a board member.

In 2011, Mr Hoff was awarded the National Pearcey Medal, one of Australia’s most prestigious Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry awards, for a lifetime contribution to ICT.  Dr Ian Oppermann, former Director ICT Centre, CSIRO presented the award, stating that Mr Hoff’s “pioneering efforts in Electronic Records Management Systems positioned Australia as the world’s leader in the creation and use of this now pervasive technology”.

“It is the individual efforts of people like Mr Hoff that exemplify how Australia can successfully innovate and improves its productivity.” Read more about the 2011 National Pearcey Medal External Link - opens in new window.

Following this, in 2012, Mr Hoff was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Read more in the 'Canberra Times' article, IT giant-killer 'chuffed' over recognition External Link - opens in new window.

In farewelling Mr Hoff, Neville Stevens AO, NICTA Board Chairman said that Brand was departing after ten years of dedicated service.

“With his first-hand experience building and running a successful software company, he has helped develop a strong and vital entrepreneurial culture at NICTA. He will be missed.”

Mr Hoff responded stating “It has been a great privilege to serve as a NICTA Board Member and I am very proud to have contributed to the growth of NICTA from conception through to maturity.”

“NICTA is now ten years young and has a strong national and international reputation for research, innovation and commercialisation. I believe the digital revolution has only just begun and Australia is fortunate to have an ICT centre of excellence like NICTA to help navigate to the digital future.”

At the same meeting, Mr Stevens also farewelled fellow board member Barney Glover. The two retiring members were replaced by IBM Australia’s Research Director Glenn Wightwick and Southern Cross University’s Vice-Chancellor Peter Lee. Read more in NICTA welcomes two new Board members External Link - opens in new window.

Brand Hoff
Retiring NICTA Board Member, Brand Hoff.
Source: Canberra Business Council

Friday, 31 May 2013

Canberra innovation on show at CeBIT

A number of Canberra businesses recently showcased their innovative products and services at the 12th annual CeBIT Australia conference and exhibition.

Held in Sydney from 28-30 May, CeBIT is the leading information and communications technology business event in the Asia Pacific region, covering cloud, big data, enterprise mobility, security, government, interlogistics, and more.

Over 600 exhibitors, including a number of local businesses, were on show over the three days.

Canberra business eWAY showcased their innovative online payment systems. Developed by CEO Matt Bullock, eWAY allows businesses to accept credit cards payments online with the same ease, flexibility and security they had access to in their bricks-and-mortar stores. The payment gateway is now one of the most respected in the eCommerce industry, and is used by more than 12,000 customers including Qantas, 3M and Canon. Find out more about eWAY External Link - opens in new window.

The eWAY team demonstrates their online payment systems
The eWAY team demonstrates their online payment systems.
Fellow Canberra business EcoSpectral was also on exhibition at CeBIT this year. Founded in 2010, EcoSpectral received Innovation Connect grant funding to help develop energy efficient lighting solutions suitable for domestic, office and government applications. Their systems use scalable wireless networks that sense motion and ambient light as well as a suite of web based services that allow for the lighting system to be configured, controlled and maintained.  This creates a system that conserves energy, provides efficient autonomous lighting control and monitors the environment. Find out more about EcoSpectral External Link - opens in new window.

Founder David Keightley at the EcoSpectral stand
Founder David Keightley at the EcoSpectral stand.
Among the number of local ideas and inventions on display at CeBIT, was NICTA’s Event Watch. Developed at NICTA’s Canberra Research Laboratory, Event Watch is a Twitter monitoring tool that collects Tweets into meaningful clusters. In doing so, it allows users to gain an understanding of Twitter discussions on a particular organisation, person, place, or product, how they have emerged over time and the sentiments around them. Event Watch runs on live Twitter data, therefore giving users the opportunity to react and respond to the information. Event Watch is different from most hashtag and word based Tweet clustering tools by using keyphrase extraction, name entity recognition and sentiment analysis. Find out more about Event Watch External Link - opens in new window or watch a live demonstration External Link - opens in new window.

Dr Jon Gray of NICTA with the Event Watch demo
Dr Jon Gray of NICTA with the Event Watch demo.
Did your Canberra business exhibit at CeBIT Australia? Share your photos on our Facebook page External Link - opens in new window or tweet to @ACTGov_Business External Link - opens in new window.