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Congratulations to all of our 2019 Finalists on a job well done!


On Thursday the 31st of October, St John’s proudly hosted the Third Annual Australian Conrad  Challenge. Over 100 participated in the 2019 Innovation, where teams from across the country pitched their innovative product ideas to a panel of industry leaders: Sian Keys, Australian Space Agency , Lisa Shaw, Program Manager Transformer, Bond University , Andrew Dean, Assistant State Manager –Accelerating Commercialisation & Incubator Support , Chante Swart, Nova Systems , Scott Rowan, Nova Systems , Warren Ritchie, Nova Systems, Dale Reece, Operations Manager, Nova Systems, Scott Miller, BOP Industries , Safraz Marakar, CEO and Founder of VARA, Josh Tabutan, UQ Ventures Chief Entrepreneur, Angela Dahlke, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Enables, QUT Foundry and Warrant Officer David Hooper, Royal Australian Air Force


Additionally, students had their work graded by judges from across four continents: George H. Edwards, Certified Professional Geologist, Dr Gloria Silva, Bio-organic Chemist, Jennifer Harcourt, Ph.D., Microbiologist, Hongzhi Song, PhD, Computer Scientist, James Connor, Earth and Environmental scientist, Joe Anello Director of Products, Modern Robotics INC, Dr Richard D. Craven, PhD Chemistry, Dr Sathish Lageshetty, Radiochemistry, Suresh Veeramani, PhD, Immunology and Cancer Biologist, Dr Mohammadreza Meymanat, General Physician, Sandhya Pampati, Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Abhi Pattanayak, Molecular Biology, Computer Scientist.


Through the generous support of The University of Queensland and community support from the UQ Idea Hub, Nova Systems, the Australian Space Agency and the Australian Defence Force this year’s challenge was another rousing success.


Teams had been challenged to develop a disruptive technology that addressed an issue in the world today in the areas of health and nutrition, energy and the environment, aerospace and aviation and cyber technologies and securities. Teams worked with their coaches and teachers and in many instances had formed early partnerships with government and business agencies.  Each was asked to prepare an ‘elevator pitch’ to the judges; a summary of their product and an inventive solution designed to attract potential investors. Successful groups called on a wide variety of skills, not just from science and technology, but also from business, design and public speaking.


Of the 22 Finalist teams at the Summit, 3 teams from St John’s advanced to the finals, alongside teams from St. Luke’s and St. Aidan’s. The finalist teams presented ideas like a mobile tank to help fight urban fires, a curtain with built-in filters to sanitize hospitals and an app to help students struggling with digital distractions. Clearn from St. Luke’s, Bundaberg took away the prize for Best Innovation and will be representing Australia at the Kennedy Space Centre in 2020 at the Conrad Challenge. Team Aroxide from St John’s was awarded the Best Power Pitch prize for their innovative water-filter rock for use in urban and industrial waterways. All teams should be congratulated on their massive efforts.


Interested in how to get involved in the 2020 Challenge? Contact the Challenge Coordinator, Nathan King at for more information!




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