Four University of Newcastle (UON) and one Hunter-based champion of innovation have been acknowledged in this year’s Excellence in Innovation Awards, presented by Newcastle Innovation.

The Excellence in Innovation Awards recognise University of Newcastle researchers who are true experts in their field, and demonstrate a major focus on transferring their expertise into practical solutions for industry, business and the community.

In addition, the Leonard Award for Innovation recognises and acknowledges those in our region who are active supporters of the quest for innovation.

The 2015 Excellence in Innovation Awards were presented to:

Professor Philip Morgan for his groundbreaking research program focused on the impact of school and community-based interventions to prevent or treat obesity in child, adolescent and adult populations. His work in teaching, research and the community has been recognised with national and international awards including 10 university teaching awards and five national and international awards.

Professor Paulette Van Vliet has collaborated internationally to develop the world’s first wearable device designed to improve the arm function of people living with stroke. A multidisciplinary project the development of the Arm Movement Measure device – or ArMM – has pushed scientific boundaries and involves academic colleagues in health sciences, electrical engineering and mathematics as well as commercial innovation advisers and PhD students.

Dr Kathryn Skelding‘s research interests focus on understanding cancer cell biology, specifically how cancer cells proliferate, spread and develop resistance to chemotherapy drugs. Since completing her post-doctoral studies, she has established her own research group that focuses on better understanding cell signaling in cancer, with a view to developing new therapies that are cancer cell specific and suitable for the treatment of a range of cancers.

Dr Kalpit Shah‘s research and career interests cover fundamental and applied research in the area of advanced thermo-chemical conversion of solid, liquid and gaseous fuels. His research is supported by a range of novel and conventional experimental and modeling techniques, and he has carried out many in-depth techno-economic assessments for power generators and government and private funding agencies around the world.

The 2015 Leonard Award for Innovation was presented to Mr Larry Platt, the founder and executive chair of The Advitech Group – a locally-based collection of integrated science, engineering, technology and environmental companies. Advitech was founded in 1987 as a seven-person consulting business based in the Hunter region to a multi-faceted organisation with an increasing geographical spread across New South Wales and Queensland.

Newcastle Innovation Director Chris Kelleher said the UON has a strong and vibrant research culture that has matured during its 50 year history to be a truly global leader in innovation.

“Over its 46 year history, Newcastle Innovation has been the conduit linking Newcastle’s research expertise to industry; securing the partnerships and investment required to commercialise research from across University,” Chris said.

“As a result, many significant, innovative research programs have made a local, national and global impact through commercialisation support from Newcastle Innovation.”