Ignite Innovation Awards

Watch 3 of our researchers pitch their ideas for innovative research as they compete to win seed funding to kick-start their research and provide the critical evidence required for a successful grant application or pitch for commercial investment. 

Ignite Innovation Award Criteria and Selection

The Ignite Innovation Award will provide a single allocation of financial support ($15,000) for researcher(s) with ‘blue sky ideas’ which requires proof of concept funding to leverage further competitive grants, venture capital investment and ultimately commercialisation outcomes.

IMB promotes this award to inspire our current scientists to develop entrepreneurial ideas resulting from the Institute’s established innovation capabilities, and enhancing researcher’s pursuits with innovation and entrepreneurial skills for competitive employment positioning in the future.


Ignite Innovation Awards

Tue 19 Oct 2021 6:00pm

On this Giving Day, IMB presents the Ignite Innovation Awards, a virtual crowd-funding event featuring three researchers vie for the top prize of $15,000. You can watch this LIVE event on Tuesday 19 October at 6pm from the comfort of your own home.

Login to Ignite Innovation Awards event (from 6pm)

The Ignite Innovation Awards is supported by IMB’s Ignite Innovation Fund which was established on Giving Day in 2019. Through philanthropic support, the Awards hope to inspire current IMB scientists to develop entrepreneurial ideas resulting from the Institute’s established innovation capabilities.

After reviewing a large number of submissions from across IMB staff and students, three finalists will have the final chance to make their blue-sky thinking a reality: Dr Simon de Veer, Dr Melanie Oey and Dr Nathan Palpant. Read more about their research below.

Meet the Ignite Innovation Awards’ Finalists

Dr Simon de Veer

Blood clotting is vital for preventing blood loss after injury, but it also drives life-threatening diseases and presents a major challenge in medical procedures. We designed, and are patenting, an early-stage candidate that selectively inhibits coagulation factor XIIa, a genetically and clinically validated target for developing next-generation drugs that specifically block disease-related clotting. The inhibitor was engineered from a cyclic peptide discovered in the seeds of a tropical plant, and is highly effective at blocking factor XIIa-initiated clotting in human plasma, but has no activity on injury-related clotting. Funding will support additional foundational studies to attract commercial partners.

Dr Melanie Oey

Oxygen is essential for all stages of wound healing, enhances antibiotic efficacy and reduces scarring. We present the novel concept of photosynthetic oxygen therapy for chronic and acute wound care, using medically safe, single-celled green microalgae. We will develop an antibacterial wound dressing that, through fixed microalgae in a translucent dressing scaffold will, while taking up CO2 from the wound, continuously supply safe, low-cost, light-driven, dissolved O2 (better uptake than gaseous) to improve wound-healing. This presents a paradigm shift in wound oxygenation by providing similar levels of efficacy to current expensive oxygen therapies ($100,000) at much smaller costs (~$10).

Dr Nathan Palpant

Heart muscle cells fail to pump effectively when stressed by disease conditions like heart failure. My research has shown that enhancing the interaction in the troponin complex, which controls heart cell contraction, improves cardiac pump performance under disease conditions. We screened for cyclic peptides that enhance interactions of the troponin complex and identified TROP-L01. Studies indicate that TROP-L01 crosses the membrane of heart cells and improves contraction of human heart cells without any adverse effects on relaxation or excitation-contraction coupling. We aim to advance studies to assess safety and efficacy of TROP-L01 as novel treatment for failing hearts.

The Ignite Innovation Fund will provide vital seed funding to kick-start the innovative research projects of IMB’s three finalists at the Ignite Innovation Awards. Seed funding from the Awards will provide the critical evidence required for a successful grant application or pitch for commercial investment for the three finalists.