A James Cook University-developed disposable cooling vest for combating heat stress in hot working environments recently added a Tropical Innovation Award to its record of success.
UniQuest is helping the Cairns-based inventors commercialise the technology and congratulates the JCU team on the Award.
The aim of the Tropical Innovation Awards is to recognise, reward and support innovation and invention across the Far North Queensland region to support economic diversification and sustainability. More than 46 entries competed for prize money ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 in the categories of Tropical Innovation, Emerging Innovation, Eco Innovation, Innovation of the Year, and People’s Choice.
The winner of the Troplinks Tropical Innovation category, CoolMe™ technology, was developed by JCU researchers Dr Glen Deakin, Robert Ennis-Thomas and William Armstrong. A company, GRW Industries, has been formed to commercialise the technology.
The vest can be worn by emergency workers, miners and others working in extreme heat conditions. The vest promotes rapid recovery in heat stress situations and does not require pre-freezing or access to ice.
The inventors will put the prize money towards further trials of the product.
UniQuest Managing Director, Mr David Henderson, said exploring all commercial possibilities for taking ideas like CoolMe™ out of the university and into the right environment where it can benefit consumers often included entering competitions like the Tropical Innovation Awards.
“We congratulate the GRW team on yet another award success which has helped to promote not only the innovation itself but also the value of university-based research in finding solutions to identified areas of need in the community,” Mr Henderson said.
In May this year, the GRW team and the CoolMe™vest won a heat on an episode of ABC’s New Inventors program. Last year, the team won the inaugural Trailblazer Awards at JCU and UQ Business School’s prestigious $100,000 Enterprize business planning competition.
UniQuest and GRW Industries are currently seeking investors to allow the first product to be launched onto the market now that preparations to commence manufacturing are well underway. These activities represent key milestones along the innovation’s commercialisation journey.
UniQuest Pty Limited
Established by The University of Queensland in 1984, UniQuest is widely recognised as one of Australia’s largest and most successful university commercialisation groups, benchmarking in the top tier of technology transfer worldwide. From an intellectual property portfolio of 1,500+ patents it has created over 60 companies, and since 2000 UniQuest and its start-ups have raised more than $400 million to take university technologies to market. Annual sales of products using UQ technology and licensed by UniQuest are running at $3 billion. UniQuest now commercialises innovations developed at The University of Queensland and its commercialisation partner institutions: the University of Wollongong, University of Technology Sydney, James Cook University, University of Tasmania, Mater Medical Research Institute, and Queensland Health. UniQuest also provides access to an expansive and exclusive network of independent academics to tailor a consulting or project R&D solution to meet the diverse needs of industry and government, facilitating some 500 consulting, expert opinion, testing, and contract research services each year.
UniQuest is also a leading Australasian provider of international development assistance recognised for excellence in technical leadership, management and research. Working with agencies such as AusAID, NZAID, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, UniQuest has developed and implemented more than 400 projects in 46 countries throughout the Pacific, South-East Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Africa.
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GRW Industries is focussed on developing products that address heat stress in the workplace. Our product development is undertaken in conjunction with lead customers to ensure that the final product, in addition to being effective, meets other user requirements in terms of features and functionality.
GRW Industries works closely with researchers from James Cook University including staff from the Institute of Sport and Exercise Science. These researchers have been working closely with Queensland Fire & Rescue Service to develop our first product which is being optimised for intense heat and short duration situations.