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Dan Wheelahan
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UNSW researchers and alumni are among the newly minted “rock stars of the Knowledge Nation 100”.

The inaugural Knowledge Nation 100 includes “visionaries, intellects, founders and game changers” who will help shape the country’s future prosperity. The list, consisting of 10 recipients across 10 categories, was revealed at a lunch in Sydney today attended by the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

The group was chosen by the Knowledge Society, guided by Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb and senior commentators from The Australian newspaper, which has published the full list in its The Deal magazine.

“The world is open now. The enterprising, innovative agile Australia sees that as full of opportunity. You can see it as a threat, hide under the doona, but you will miss out on all the fun,” Prime Minister Turnbull told the innovation summit yesterday.  

Mr Turnbull said universities should “collaborate or crumble” and commended Telstra and the Commonwealth Bank for their willingness to collaborate by each adding $10 million towards UNSW’s quantum computing initiative.

"We are investing $26 million over five years. This is absolutely cutting-edge technology and is among the most exciting work being done in computing science anywhere in the world."

The UNSW recipients are:

Among the UNSW alumni featured on the list are:

  • Scott Farquar and Mike Cannon-Brookes are UNSW graduates, co-founders and CEOs of Atlassian. The Sydney-based technology company this week raised $638 million in an initial public offering on the US Nasdaq, bringing its market value to over $6 billion.
  • Daniel Petre, a UNSW commerce graduate, venture capitalist, philanthropist and Partner of Air Tree Adventures.