Innovative postgraduate students from the University of Melbourne have scooped the major awards, including the 2005 Biotechnology and Nanotechnology Companies of the Year, at the Biotechnology Entrepreneur Program™ awards ceremony this week.
Three winning teams of postgraduate students were among 13 teams to take up the challenge to build a company and develop a business plan for an innovative product within six months.
The Victorian Minister for Innovation, John Brumby presented the awards and said the high-achieving young scientists could be the pioneers of tomorrow’s biotech and nanotech firms.
Winner of the 2005 Biotechnology Company of the Year award was SCYANCE, for developing an imaginative educational science kit, Biology Madness, for children aged between 8 and10.
SCYANCE also won the Monash Commercial Best Business Plan, Nanotechnology Victoria Best Annual Report and the Environment and Community Award.
“We wanted to address a gap in the introduction of science to young children. Biology Madness has proven very popular. The kit contains 25 experiments, a DVD and a fun comic book of instructions for use at home or school,” said SCYANCE’s Managing Director Ben Atcliffe, a PhD student in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Biology Madness has gained commercial interest demonstrated by the trade sale of the product to Science and Nature Pty Ltd.
The team is made up of students from the departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Chemistry based in the University’s Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute, and Faculty of Veterinary Science, and the Howard Florey Institute.
The Bio21 Institute provided office and laboratory resources, administrative support and business mentoring. Professor Dick Wettenhall, Bio21 Institute Director is delighted with the win. “We are very proud of the SCYANCE team as this type of program fits in with the Institute’s mission to engage industry and foster entrepreneurship,” he said.
A range of nanotechnology safety stickers was produced and sold by QYANTEK, the winner of the 2005 Nanotechnology Company of the Year. This team includes students from Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Chemistry, and Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Melbourne, and from RMIT University.
ZENYATECH won the Bio21 Innovative Product or Service for the Super Sleuth CSI kit, a forensic kit for children aged between 7 and12.
The ZENYATECH team is made up of students from the departments of Computer Science and Software Engineering, Commerce, Microbiology and Immunology at University of Melbourne, the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and Deakin University.
The Biotechnology Entrepreneur Program™ is coordinated by Young Achievement Australia to develop business skills in young Australians.