Next Big Idea Award winners announced

Five innovative ‘Big Ideas’ were presented by PhD students and early career researchers (ECRs) from Hudson Institute on August 17 to a panel of expert judges from industry, research and business development, with prizes and mentoring for the best and runner-up ideas.

Projects pitched included two new diagnostic tests – one for autoimmune disease and another for infectious diseases; a novel therapy for cerebral palsy, next-gen contraceptives, and an initiative to significantly increase and enhance placental bio-banking. Competitors were judged on the innovation and commercial potential of their idea, as well as communication and engagement.

Each competitor had only four minutes to pitch their idea, detailing the unmet medical need that their innovation addressed, the novelty and patentability of their idea and a market analysis of competitor technologies.

And the winners are …

L-R: Dr Andy Gearing from Biocomm Squared, runner-up – Mr Stuart Emmerson, winner – Ms Charlotte Nejad and Professor Alan Trounson from Cartherics.

We congratulate the winner of the inaugural Next Big Idea Award, Ms Charlotte Nejad, a PhD student in the Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases.

We also congratulate the runner-up, Mr Stuart Emmerson, a PhD student in The Ritchie Centre.

The winner and runner-up received cash prizes of $2000 and $200 respectively, and automatic entry to Monash University’s Validator Program, opening in September.

We also commend the other entrants in the competition for their excellent pitches:  Dr Courtney McDonald, Mr Jared Mamrot and Ms Madison Paton, all from The Ritchie Centre.

Mentoring and workshops

Students and ECRs who participated in The Next Big Idea Award were given the opportunity to polish their pitches at a preparatory workshop, and to develop skills in market research at an information session on the Cortellis database run by Dr Amabel Tan of Clarivate Analytics.

The Next Big Idea Award is aimed at encouraging, rewarding and facilitating commercially focused innovation among PhD students and ECRs.

L-R: Presenters – Mr Jared Mamrot, Ms Charlotte Nejad, Ms Madison Paton, Mr Stuart Emmerson, Dr Courtney McDonald.

“Training and educating young investigators in the processes of commercialisation and translation is vitally important.  To have real impact on patient health, a willingness to engage in the commercialisation of research is essential.  I am delighted that the Hudson Institute’s Translational Seminar committee has developed this opportunity for the precinct’s students and ECRs,” said Professor Alan Trounson, Hudson Institute Distinguished Scientist, Chair of the Translational Seminar committee, and CEO of Cartherics, a biotech company located in the Monash Health Translation Precinct’s Translational Research Facility.

“This is the first year we’ve run the Next Big Idea Award.  I look forward to the competition building momentum for innovative ideas, with translation and industry relevance going from strength to strength in the years to come.”

Thank you to our judges and sponsors

Hudson Institute and Next Big Idea Award competitors express their thanks and gratitude to the Award’s three judges for their expertise and support

  • Ms Zita Peach, BSc, GAICD, FAMI, Hudson Institute Board Member, Chair of the Hudson Institute’s Intellectual Property and Commercialisation Committee
  • Professor Lois Salamonsen, PhD, FRANZCOG(HON), FAA, Centre for Reproductive Health, Hudson Institute
  • Professor Richard Boyd, BSc (Hons) PhD, Professor of Immunology, Monash University and CSO, Cartherics

Thank you also to the sponsors for the Next Big Idea Award who provided the $2000 prize money for the winning competitor and $200 prize money for the runner-up competitor:

  • Cartherics, Cartherics is developing the next generation of improved and optimized Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T cell products using unique proprietary approaches to produce individual CAR-T products.
  • Biocomm Squared. Biocomm Squared provides strategic advisory, business development and licensing services to biotech and pharmaceutical companies in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • http://www.biocommsquared.com.au/

Hudson Institute’s Translational Workshop committee is chaired by Alan Trounson. Members are Rob Merriel, CFO and Chief Commercialisation Officer, Hudson Institute; Andy Gearing, CEO of Biocomm Squared; Kate Mackin, Business Development Coordinator, Hudson Institute and Rebecca Smith, Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases, Hudson Institute.

Translational Workshop Series

The next event in the Translational Workshop series is  Wednesday 23 August and focuses on Intellectual Property Management.  This seminar is compulsory for all Hudson Institute HDR students.

The seminar will launch the Institute’s updated Publication, Intellectual Property and Commercialisation policy and provide essential information on how to manage and protect your intellectual property.  Speakers are Rob Merriel and Rachel Stevenson from Davies Collison Cave.  More information and  flyer.

More information about Monash University’s Validator Program, a formal program of workshops and mentoring to support the validation and launch of a start-up idea, visit here.

Contact us

Hudson Institute Communications
t: + 61 3 8572 2697
e: communications@hudson.org.au