Health students scoop top innovation prize

A plan to promote surgical education and build a dedicated community of surgical professionals on the Gold Coast has won the 2012 Griffith Innovation Challenge title.

Health students Daniel Cattanach, Skyle Murphy, Siobhan Fitzpatrick and Elliot Dolan-Evans took out the top prize of $15,000 at the eighth annual awards evening hosted by Griffith Business School at the South Bank campus.

The Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery students beat out quality competition from across the University, with finalists drawn from areas as diverse as games design, marketing and tourism management.

The winning entry proposed the expansion and development of a Surgical Interest Association on the Gold Coast.

“Our aim is to foster surgical education, career development, research, and links within the surgical profession through the creation of a student society which conducts high-profile events and activities,” Elliot Dolan-Evans said.

“These include an annual surgical conference, training opportunities, lectures, and industry networking events. With this extra capital we can look at expanding our range of services to Griffith students and health professionals in the region, and also look at attracting some of the top surgical professionals in the world to speak on the Gold Coast.”

More than 120 people attended last night’s final at the Queensland College of Art where each of the finalists presented a three-minute pitch before judges.

“Each year the standard of entry achieves new and unexpected levels of innovation and 2012 has proven no different,” Professor Michael Powell, Pro Vice Chancellor (Business), said.

“The competition for the top prizes has been all the more intense with thoughtful, relevant, creative projects entered from every part of the University.

“Many of these ideas, and not only the finalists, will undoubtedly make an impact in the community as they are developed fully.”

The prize pool for the 2012 Griffith Innovation Challenge exceeded $100,000 for the first time.

Bob Gibson, Director of Vigil Systems joined Brian Smith, Associate Director (Engagement), Griffith Enterprise; Griffith MBA alumnus Peta Pitcher; Stuart Charlton, Development and Alumni Manager at Griffith’s Development and Alumni Office; and Mario Pennisi, CEO of the Australian Organisation for Quality (QLD) to judge the event.

Projects which contested the final included a membership card plan for Australian student-run health organisations, electronic games designed to help people quit smoking and using social media for online fashion shopping.