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2020 awards


A total prize pool in excess of $30,000 was awarded at the 2020 Curtinnovation Awards on 20 November 2020.

Overall Curtinnovation 2020 winner

Gel formula for treating hearing loss

A new formula of an existing pharmaceutical is being developed to counter hearing loss, for which there is no suitable medication. Hearing loss is a large and growing problem. The effects are linked to drastically reduced quality of life and even mental health and neurodegenerative disorders. The current approaches to managing hearing loss are hearing aids, cochlear implants or surgery, however, due to cost and suitability, they do not meet the needs of all patients.

The Curtin team, working with a leading surgeon, have now developed a formulation to deliver a known drug directly into the inner ear, by combining it with permeation enhancers in a gel. This could help many people who have suffered hearing loss as a result of ageing, exposure to noise or as a side effect of common treatments for infection and cancer.

Team: Dr Armin Mooranian, Dr Hani Al-Salami, Dr Daniel Brown (School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences) and Dr Jafri Kuthubutheen.

Category winners

Health Sciences


LinXmart is a secure, fast and scalable data linkage software, with data management capabilities and the ability to manage complex and dynamic linked datasets.

Developed at Curtin University, LinXmart uses advanced matching methods to determine if records from different data collections are common to an individual. The software takes into account missing information and errors in data, for example, typographical errors, and produces highly accurate matched results. A key feature of LinXmart is loading, processing and linking privacy-preserved data, which does not does not require the release of personal identifiers.

Team: Dr Anna Ferrante, Mr Adrian Brown, Dr Sean Randall and Professor James Boyd (La Trobe University).


Science and Engineering

Edible coating for meat

Packaged meat can lose volume due to fluid losses from cut surfaces. This in turn can lead to economic losses for the meat industry – the fluid loss may reduce the saleable weight of the product or cause consumers and export markets to reject it.

To address this, a Curtin University research team has developed an edible spray coating with the ability to block or constrict the cut ends of meat capillaries and prevent fluid loss. The coating is based on a polymer currently used as a dessert delicacy and is recognised as safe for consumption.

Team: Mr Shamika T. G. Gedarawatte, Dr Ranil Coorey (School of Molecular and Life Sciences), Professor Gary Dykes (Curtin Graduate Research School) and Dr Joshua T. Ravensdale (School of Public Health).




MissionsConnect is a VR immersive experience that allows viewers to access the lived experiences of Stolen Generation survivors during their time in-care at church missions. It provides access to a 3D digital reconstruction of two missions and is layered with interactive archival material, and the memories and stories of the children who inhabited these missions.

MissionsConnect is a powerful educational tool for schools, universities and the corporate sector. It allows sharing and understanding the reasons for Reconciliation, encouraging healing, and raising awareness of the importance of culture, language and country to Aboriginal Australians.

Team: Professor Reena Tiwari (School of Design and Built Environment), Mr Jim Morrison (Minang Elder, Former Chair of Bringing Them Home WA, Managing Director of Western Australia Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation), Emeritus Professor John Stephens, Ms Renee Parnell (School of Design and Built Environment), Mr Wesley Lamont (Hub of Immersive Visualization and eResearch), and Mr David Belton (School of Spatial Sciences).


Business and Law

Fatigue impairment prediction suite (FIPS)

Winner of the 2020 People's Choice Award

Many members of today’s workforce are employed in environments with inherent safety concerns that may be amplified by the effect of fatigue. For example, in industries such as aviation, military and resources, personnel may be required to be alert for long periods of time outside of their natural daily rhythms, such as working night shifts.

The existing models used to assist shift workers to minimise their fatigue are outdated and unreliable. FIPS is a software tool which utilises state-of-the-art algorithms and analytical techniques to deliver smart rostering services to industry. Its open framework allows for the integration of new algorithms based on the latest models of fatigue, and the customisation of models for specific industry needs.

Team: Dr Michael David Wilson, Dr Luke Strickland, Dr Karina Jorritsma and Professor Mark Griffin (Future of Work Institute).


Teaching and Learning

Blockchain for accounting students

The ‘Curtin Coin’ cryptocurrency is being introduced within the School of Business and Law to give business students a ’hands-on’ learning experience. Each student will earn coins as rewards from tutors, and can then trade them to redeem at specific events or Curtin outlets.

It will give students a practical understanding of the fundamentals of blockchain, cryptocurrency and the cyber economy. The team are also developing a blockchain-based Monopoly game, using the regular board but with all transactions done through coins transferred between respective wallets and with a custom explorer.

Team: Professor Saurav Dutta and Dr Vincent Chang (School of Accounting).