Presented by the UNSW Knowledge Exchange, the Research Translation Expo featured innovative projects from each of the University’s seven faculties. 

The event brought together founders, entrepreneurs and researchers across the University with businesses, investors and industry partners to explore funding and collaboration opportunities. More than 500 visitors explored 100 of the latest innovations and capabilities powered by UNSW across six themes of AI, IT and Digital, Clean Energy, Economy and Society, Environment and Sustainability, Health and Biotech, and Space and Security.

A panel discussion featuring some of UNSW’s translation experts and successful start-ups anchored the event. Panellists including Kintell Co-Founder Jane Qiu, Canopus Networks Founder Professor Vijay Sivaraman, Inventor of the Living Sea Walls Mariana Mayer, Skykraft Chief Innovation Officer Craig Benson and ADA Innovation Hub Academic Lead Carly Vickers shared their research translation journeys and the benefits of engaging with UNSW. 

UNSW’s Director of Knowledge Exchange Warwick Dawson said the University has an emerging culture that recognises and celebrates innovation and translation.

UNSW Research Translation Expo panel

A panel discussion featuring some of UNSW’s translation experts and successful start-ups. Photo: Eric Boudville

“Research translation is by nature essentially collaborative and preferably a contact sport. It can’t be done alone and is much better done in person. Everything starts from that first conversion which can be the hardest yet most important. We hope that tonight provides the perfect environment for many initial conversations on the translation journey,” Mr Dawson said.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise Professor Nick Fisk said UNSW, is passionate about translating world-leading research into social and economic impact and that’s core to our goal of being Australia’s most entrepreneurial university. 

“Research translation is a priority for UNSW, grounded in our vision to improve lives around the world. Our world-leading research and innovation ecosystem is critical to this mission, with its focus on real-world application, securing Australia’s sovereign capability, improving supply chain resilience, and delivering social and economic impact,” Prof. Fisk said.

“UNSW ranks number one nationally for creating start-ups and spinouts, one pathway for translating razor-sharp innovation into real impact. The 100 innovations and capabilities featured here today are an impressive showcase of what is not only possible, but how UNSW is powering research and technologies that are already changing the world. 

He said one of the driving forces behind today’s expo in addition to showcasing these exciting innovations and capabilities is to formally launch Powered by UNSW, which is an innovation community comprising our experts and collaborating organisations, where brilliant minds are encouraged to meet and work together. Today marks the first step in formalising our commitment to this community as a priority in our research translation strategy.

Ground-breaking innovation projects

The innovative and ground-breaking projects on display included an online platform to help parents monitor their child’s development, a solution for recycling solar energy systems, applying smart technology in spinal fusion implants and technology that turns water from the moon into rocket fuel.

UNSW spinout SunDrive is developing a copper plating technology to replace silver as the solar cell electrode with technology that can provide performance boosts unachievable with current silver-based technologies. It’s now scaling its novel metallisation technology to pilot-scale manufacturing in preparation for market entry. SunDrive Senior Photovoltaics Engineers Dr Jack Colwell and Dr Daniel Chen found the expo a great avenue to assist with this transition.

“We’re both PhD students, we have both made the transition from academia to industry and that skillset is really valuable and has helped us learn what we need to do to bring that technology from research into action,” said Dr Colwell. “For us, it’s about taking the intellectual property we’ve developed at UNSW and keeping it in Australia and not letting it slip away overseas – that’s something that’s really important for us.”

The expo concluded with a networking session incorporating businesses, researchers and investors passionate about transforming the world through innovative research and development.