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2017 Australian eChallenge - Wool Innovation Winners Announced

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Practical technology-based products and services including a DIY testing system to mitigate parasite infestation risk and ground-breaking data communication are among the Wool Innovation winning teams, announced at the inaugural 2017 Australian eChallenge Awards. Each concept addressed key wool production challenges.

The winning 'Wool Stunners' team from the Deakin University School of Engineering, who presented their concept for a fast DIY on-farm worm testing kit. Download all winners images here.

Practical technology-based products and services including a DIY testing system to mitigate parasite infestation risk and ground-breaking data communication are among the Wool Innovation winning teams, announced at the inaugural 2017 Australian eChallenge Awards. Each concept addressed key wool production challenges.

The 2017 Australian eChallenge - Wool Innovation program is a collaboration between Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), the Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation & Innovation Centre (ECIC) at The University of Adelaide, Charles Sturt University Wagga Wagga (CSU) and Deakin University School of Engineering (DKN). The ECIC-led program is designed to equip teams of people from diverse backgrounds, skill disciplines and locations, to transfer technology concepts into woolgrower productivity and profitability through to market commercialisation.

Fourteen teams from NSW, Victoria and South Australia developed innovative concepts in the areas of connectivity, sheep health, data analysis and communication, precision farming practices and automated processes. They were then asked to pitch these to a panel of expert judges tasked with identifying winners based on criteria including team skills, program engagement and woolgrower affordability, appeal and productivity impact.

Wool Stunners was the winning team from Deakin University School of Engineering. Their concept of an easy to use, do-it-yourself faecal egg count test could give woolgrowers results in less than an hour, saving valuable time in managing parasite control and enabling precision drenching to minimise drench resistance, improve sheep health and ultimate fleece quality.

The runner up, Kelpie, representing CSU, also a runner up in the 2017 Tech eChallenge Wool Innovation in June, presented an intelligent data analysis system that gives farmers easy access to customised information on demand via their smart phone or tablet to help informed decision making in real-time.

Third place was awarded to WoolVolks, from Deakin University School of Engineering, who presented a portable, digital imaging system concept that will enable woolgrowers to affordably automate the classing of wool quality, improve assessment accuracy and fleece management, with potential to reduce labour and testing costs.

AWI CEO Stuart McCullough said “Australian Wool Innovation is delighted to have been part of this innovative approach to attracting the best young minds in the tech world towards thinking about wool. The University of Adelaide - Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation & Innovation Centre, Charles Sturt and Deakin Universities have delivered with many participants in the 2017 Australian eChallenge - Wool Innovation program. The variety and quality of innovative digital ideas to improve the productivity and profitability for Australian woolgrowers has been great to see.”

Professor Noel Lindsay, Pro Vice Chancellor ECIC, added “We’ve been thrilled to engage with AWI as a key industry organisation. It allows us to be at the forefront of change and development, and spread entrepreneurship values across so many different community sectors.”

Head of CSU’s School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences, Professor David Falepau, added “Charles Sturt University has one of the highest employment rates for its graduates in Australia. The 2017 Australian eChallenge - Wool Innovation has created another career opportunity for our students. They can create their own businesses. A win for our university, a win for our students and a win for industry and the economy. The 2017 Australian eChallenge - Wool Innovation program fits perfectly with CSU’s mandate to drive regional development and our footprint in agriculture and we very much appreciate the strong support from AWI and the University of Adelaide.

“The 2017 Australian eChallenge - Wool Innovation program has delivered real solutions for wool producers. Our congratulations to the teams and all those who participated. We can’t wait to start work with the next group of young entrepreneurs.”

Associate Professor Arun Patil, Director Postgraduate Coursework Studies (Engineering), Deakin University said “Australian eChallenge - Wool Innovation is a great catalyst and motivator to enhance engineering students’ competencies and employability skills. The program is perfectly aligned with Deakin engineering post-graduate project requirements and has a great value of working with ‘real world’ problems in the Australian wool industry. Our students are highly benefiting from interaction with industry, woolgrowers and peers from other institutions. We greatly appreciate the support of AWI and the University of Adelaide ECIC team.”

Following the conclusion of the competition, AWI will be exploring each team’s concepts, to consider which may be suitable for further support to progress down a commercialisation and/or prioritised further R&D pathway. We will seek opportunities to meet with woolgrower groups so teams can get feedback to refine their concepts and explore the potential to recruit field trial pilot partners.

More Information Contact:

Andrew Walton - Program Manager
Mobile: 0408 308 470

Marius Cuming - Australian Wool Innovation, Corporate Communications
Mobile: 0400 305 716
Email: marius.cuming@wool.com

The 2017 Australian eChallenge - Wool Innovation program collaboration with AWI forms part of the Farm Automation & Software Development strategy of the Sheep Production Portfolio in the 2016/17 - 2018/19 AWI Strategic Plan.

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