The winners of the inaugural Maritime Australia Limited Industry Innovation Awards were announced by the Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP, at the Pacific 2017 International Maritime Exposition in Sydney on Wednesday 4 October.

A total of 15 Australian civil and defence industry innovators were shortlisted for these prestigious National awards across five categories. Between them they submitted 17 entries. Scroll down to see the full list of the winners and shortlisted entrants.

The awards were developed by Industry Defence and Security Australia Limited to recognise the significant innovations of companies and young innovators operating in the commercial maritime and naval defence sectors. The awards recognise and reward local companies and individuals at the forefront of naval and maritime innovation and carry with them a total of $40,000 in cash prizes.

The two winners of the National Awards for Defence and Civil Innovation were presented with trophies, while the winners of the Defence and Civil SME Innovation Grants received cheques for $10,000 each, as did the two winners of the Young Innovator Scholarship. All 15 Australian innovators shortlisted for the Innovation Awards were showcased at the Pacific 2017 International Maritime Exposition in Sydney, the premier commercial maritime and naval defence exposition in our region.

Separately, the Defence Science Institute (DSI) ran its highly popular Innovation Pitchfest during Pacific 2017 in partnership with IDSAL, the Defence Science & Technology Group (DST) and DefenceSA. The Pitchfest Award winners are also listed below.

The CEO of Pacific 2017, Mr Ian Honnery, said the quality and diversity of the entrants for the Maritime Australia Limited Industry Innovation Awards has been outstanding: “They were so competitive that for the first time the judges recommended that two entrants should receive High Commendations in their categories. Furthermore, the judges recommended that two entrants for the Young Innovator Scholarship for Defence should both be awarded the Scholarship. That tells you something about the strength of innovation activity in the naval and marine sectors here in Australia.”

“Innovation isn’t just about having good ideas – it’s about putting good ideas to use,” Mr Honnery added. “These innovators are trying to be game changers in their markets and we are delighted to be able to recognise their contributions and be a part of their journey.”


Innovation Award Winners

Defence Industry National Innovation Award:
The judges recommended this award go to Thales Australia which has developed an integrated communications management system for naval boarding parties. This uses commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) mobile phone, data capture and network communications and management technologies to allow transfer of voice, video, imagery and text-based data between one or more boarding parties and their host platform in support of mission objectives.

Stingrae provides significant user benefits: it allows commanders to make timely decisions and control the mission with reduced uncertainty (risk) and greater effectiveness. Stingrae is currently being trialled aboard an RAN warship and its RHIBs during an operational deployment.


Defence Industry National Innovation Award – Highly Commended:
The judges recommended that the Defence Materials Technology Centre should receive a High Commendation for its work on Microbiological Influenced Corrosion. This accelerates corrosion damage to RAN ships, submarines and marine equipment far beyond normal. Corrosion is estimated to have cost the RAN surface fleet alone between $353 and $649 million in 2015. This amounts to about 17% of total maintenance costs.

Research by the DMTC and its partners, Swinburne University of Technology and ASC Limited, has resulted in smarter maintenance procedures, greater availability of ships and submarines and a reduction in maintenance and repair costs.


Defence SME Innovation Grant
The judges recommended this award go to Ocius Technology Limited. The company is building unmanned ocean drones or unmanned surface vessels (USVs) called Bluebottles that run on the energy available at sea – solar, wind and wave energy. This results in a disruptive, autonomous surveillance and communications platform that can remain at sea for weeks or months at a time.

Ocius was awarded a CTD contract in 2015 leading to a successful demonstration in August this of an anti-submarine warfare variant of the Bluebottle.


Defence SME Innovation Grant – Highly Commended
The judges recommended that Prism Defence Pty Ltd should be Highly Commended for developing HeliSAFE, an innovative, ship-borne software solution for the complete management of helicopter operations aboard naval vessels. In particular, it improves the safety and efficiency of maritime helicopter operations in high winds and heavy seas. A prototype version of HeIiSAFE is now installed on nine ships across four classes and three nations.


Civil Industry National Innovation Award:
The judges recommended this award go to AMOG Technologies Pty Limited for its work developing and testing an all-new application for the disruptive, Australian-developed Longitudinally Grooved Suppression (LGS) technology. This has the potential to revolutionise the offshore drilling industry by providing an innovative solution to the pervasive problem of Vortex-Induced Vibration that is experienced by offshore oil rigs mored in water that can be more than 500 metres deep. Commercially manufactured LGS modules have now been deployed and this innovation has the potential to save up to US$12 million per rig, per year.


Civil SME Innovation Grant
The judges recommended this award be presented to Nauti-Craft Pty Limited which has developed an innovative approach to improving the ride, handling, comfort and safety of marine vessels, especially at high speeds and in high seas. The NCMSS uses a passive suspension system between the the hulls and superstructure of a vessel to improve ride comfort, handling and occupational health and safety for crew and passengers in high-speed craft such as naval and police boarding parties.

The technology reduces the harmful effects of high levels of Whole of Body Vibration (WBV); it reduces injury and fatigue risk compared to conventional vessels and it also enables high speed vessels to travel faster in rough seas.


Young Innovator Scholarship – Mr Peter Kabakov
Because no entries were received for the Young Innovator Scholarship for Civil Industry, and the quality of entries for the Defence scholarship was so high, the judges recommended that two entrants should be awarded a full Young Innovator Scholarship. The first goes to Mr Peter Kabakov, the lead scientist on a collaborative R&D program involving ANSTO, Thales Australia and Swinburne University to develop single crystal piezo-electric ceramics for use in acoustic transducers for sonar systems. This will allow these to be manufactured in Australia for the first time.

The second goes to Mr Andrew Short, a Ph.D candidate at the University of Wollongong, for his work on a collaborative research project designed to develop robots for inspection of submarine ballast tanks. As part of his research Andrew has developed both a new approach to motion planning for robots and an Automated Offline Programming software library to support the development of industrial robots and simulators; this has also been sold commercially and he has co-founded a start-up company to commercialise further this software technology.

The other shortlisted Innovation Awards contenders were:

  • Abyss Solutions (NSW) – End to End Condition Assessment of Underwater Assets
  • Advanced Navigation (NSW) – Subsonus subsea navigation system
  • Artis Group (NSW) – Artis Engineering Platform
  • Columbus Group (WA) – 3D Dynamic Fluid/Semi-solid pump
  • Defence Materials Technology Centre and Partners (VIC) – High Velocity Oxygen Fuel (HVOF) coatings for marine applications
  • Rojone Pty Limited (NSW) – RADHAZ Isolation unit
  • Ron Allum Deepsea Services (NSW) – Energy Storage and Distribution System (ESDS)
  • Ron Allum Deepsea Services (NSW) – Pressure Tolerant Brushless DC Motors
  • Woodside Energy Pty Limited (WA) – LNG-powered marine support vessel


Winners for The Pacific 2017 Pitchfest

The Defence Science Institute (DSI) with the support of the Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group and Defence South Australia (Defence SA) co-hosted a two-day Innovation Pitchfest at Pacific 2017 to seek out people with what may be little more than a really good idea.

The Pitchfest took place on both October 3rd and 4th at 2pm-4pm in the Pacific 2017 innovation theatrette. Thirty pitchers selected from industry, academia and DST each had three minutes to pitch their innovations to a mixed audience of potential partners, customers, peers and venture funding sources.At the end of the second day’s pitches a panel of judges awarded prizes to the top three innovators.

The three winners for the 2017 DSI PACIFIC 2017 Innovation Pitchfest are:

  1. Best Maritime Innovation – Jeff Lang of Titomic, Pitch Topic: “Faster, Larger and Smarter Advanced Manufacturing”
  2. Best Overall Innovation – Henry Bilinsky of MicroTau, Pitch Topic: “Sharks on a Plane: Applying Microstructured Coatings for Drag Reduction”
  3. Best Presenter – Gavin Brennen of Macquarie University, Pitch Topic : “Quantum Radar for Mass”

This year’s judging panel was comprised of the following respected and expert members:

  • Ms Kate Louis – Head Defence & Industry Policy, Australian Industry Group
  • Mr Bryan O’Connor – MOOG Australia & NZ, General Manager
  • Ms  Laura Anderson – Chairwoman of LaunchVic and DSI Advisory Board
  • A/Professor Regina Crameri – Associate Director DSI, DST Group Scientist
  • Mr Matthew Morgan – General Manager Trade, Austrade


For further information about the award winners contact:
Gregor Ferguson
Executive Manager, Industry Development
0414 803 717