iPREP PROJECTS ROUND 1 2018
12th February - 23rd March
If we are successful in proving the concept, we may have discovered the world's first cost effective, above ground, and commercially viable carbon storage process.
Technologies including possibly the world’s first fully-organic integrated structural building system, alongside the world’s first above-ground (commercially viable) carbon storage solution, plus ground-breaking nano (power generating) technology and all being launched at a similar time.
An entire vertically integrated, multi-faceted industry can unfold with research and development, and other opportunities through the entire supply chain with genuinely positive social impact, i.e. Indigenous communities.
Opportunities include mechanical engineering, biotechnology, construction, farming, automation, renewable energy, carbon trading, carbon negative products, remediation, and many more.
Established materials, methodologies and processes are environmentally compromising.
A good example is the production of manufactured oil, gaseous or synthetic concrete products, that together contribute significantly to carbon dioxide emissions globally with no signs of stalling.
There are multiple emerging technologies demonstrating that the components of the hemp plant can be utilized in so many ways, including, food, fibre, fuel, plastics, medicine, remediation, biomass and many other materials and products.
The project is being done to demonstrate that we can create truly sustainable infrastructure.
Considerable research has been undertaken on climate change with evidence suggesting that global warming caused by carbon omissions is arguably the biggest threat to humanity.
Our project will demonstrate that by connecting farming (supply) to product (demand) we have a genuinely sustainable, renewable and holistic environmental solution that can sequester carbon and be scaled up into large scale applications.
We are primarily a research and development company, focused on next-generation renewable technologies that allow and facilitate intelligent, ecological solutions.
Although the idea was incepted a few years ago, the company was recently founded with around 10 individuals (including students) whom are now actively involved in the project.
We are increasingly confident we have a unique market proposition and currently driving towards commercialisation expect to be generating revenue sometime in 2018.
Our on-going research suggests there is growing market demand for low carbon, cost effective and well-engineered concepts and so this project aims to prove that we can create a sustainable industry.
Traditional methods do not support non-destructive carbon capture and storage.
Our project is focused on developing cost effective, above ground CO2 sequestration with an automated production process, allowing commercially aligned environmentally friendly self-sustainable products to be created for market integration.
THE MARSHALL CENTRE
The Noisy Guts Project: A non-invasive approach to diagnosis and monitoring of gut disorders.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a perplexing and persistent problem affecting 11% of the world’s population. It has a significant impact on the quality of life of up to 1 in 5 Australians, meaning that it is very likely that someone you know is affected by this recurring and debilitating gut disorder. Currently, there is no specific diagnostic test for IBS. The current diagnostic process is time-consuming and costly, unnecessarily clogging up our health system. Patients are typically referred from their GP to a specialist to undergo a colonoscopy to exclude all other gut disorders in the search for an elusive IBS diagnosis.
This means that many patients undergoing one of the 900,000 colonoscopies performed in Australia each year do so for no reason. Nobel Laureate Professor Barry Marshall believes noises in the abdomen could signal a range of gut disorders.
The ultimate aim of our research is to improve the quality of life for those that suffer from chronic gastrointestinal conditions.
The Noisy Guts Project team at UWA is developing an acoustic belt that listens, records and analyses gut noises. Our novel device was inspired by existing acoustic sensing technology, initially designed to detect the tiny munching sounds of termites. We have incorporated signal processing and state-of-
the-art machine learning techniques to accurately link acoustic phenomena to gut disorders. Our belt capitalises on today’s trend of wearable technology and will be supported by a smartphone app that records patient symptoms. The end result will be a safe, non-invasive screening, monitoring and diagnostic tool.
Initially we are focusing on differentiating between irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and healthy gut sounds, but hope to extend this to other conditions in the future.
We developed and tested our minimum viable product on 180 volunteers with IBS, IBD (Crohn’s or colitis), or healthy guts. We recruited patients largely through social media. Our belt performed excellently as a diagnostic test for IBS, differentiating IBS from healthy participants with 87% specificity and sensitivity.
Used by GPs, our belt will give confidence in an IBS diagnosis – which is crucial to get patients on the treatment path. Feedback from GPs is that a new, non-invasive diagnostic test for IBS would be unbelievably good.
Interviews with IBS patients identified a second and much larger market for our acoustic belt – as a monitoring tool. One of the key pains for patients is not having a n objective way of evaluating whether diets and treatments work. Our acoustic belt helps patients monitor their symptoms and identify triggers. There are 400,000 visits to Australian GPs related to IBS each year, not including those that consult dieticians or naturopaths, so this market opportunity is significant. We envisage that this monitoring device paired with a phone app will be available at community pharmacies.
With our patent pending, our next step is to consult with regulatory bodies and key opinion leaders to guide further accuracy studies.
While our current focus is IBS, we are excited about expanding the belt’s capabilities to detect other gut disorders.
Depending on the nature of the applicants, we are anticipating that the student project will focus on improving the validity and reliability of diagnostic and monitoring functions, coordinating a patient trial or contributing to the prototype.
The Marshall Centre was founded in 2007 to celebrate the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Professor Barry Marshall and Emeritus Professor Robin Warren.
Marshall and Warren discovered H.pylori and its role as the causative agent of gastritis, peptic and duodenal ulcer disease. Prior to their work, it was believed that bacteria could not persist in the acid environment of the stomach, and that ulcers were largely due to stress or spicy food. Marshall and Warren's discovery was the first step in developing more effective treatments for ulcers and in understanding the causative link between H.pylori and stomach cancer. In addition to H.pylori, the Marshall Centre is at the forefront of infectious disease identification and surveillance, diagnostics and drug design, and transformative discovery.
One of the Marshall’s flagship research projects is the Noisy Guts Project. More information about the project is available from our website.
Students will gain experience in creative and strategic thinking around recruitment, as well as direct experience of social media and traditional media marketing.
They will gain training in Good Clinical Practice and the principles and policies associated with undertaking ethical and scientifically sound human research,
including the process of applying for study approval from an ethics
They will practice data management skills.
The will practice their communication skills within the team and with key stakeholders: study participants and GPs who might use the commercialised belt.
They will build their networks to include engineers, data scientists and medical doctors.
PLAY'N TO WIN
ARTS AND HUMANITIES
Increasing nitrogen use efficiency through data science
Play’N To Win combines various and disparate sources of location information with science to deliver easy-to-understand maps of appropriate fertiliser rates at any time during the year. There is currently no product in the market which can be run and rerun throughout the season that takes into account all the factors which influence decision making, let alone have the ability to provide spatial recommendations over large areas of crop.
Play’N To Win has been under technical development for the past two years with a number of leading farmers and agronomists across Western Australian using the product. The decision to commercialise has only recently been made and to scale the business, Play’N To Win needs to develop an automated process.
Play’N To Win is looking to engage students with the skills to develop a prototype interface which can combine various sources of data, analyse the data and generate prescription maps. Play’N To Win is keen to incorporate the concepts of agile development in this project. The prototype needs to be a ‘minimum viable product’ and its development guided by several rounds of feedback from farmers.
Expected student activities may include;
1. Review and present solutions for the development of the prototype to Play’N To Win’s management team.
2. Developing/coding software to collate and analyses data and generate maps – building the prototype.
3. Travel to the wheatbelt and engaging with farmers to gain feedback on the prototype and undertaking enhancements.
We believe this to be a real opportunity for PhD students to work closely with a new company focused on solving a problem restricting the profitability of Australian farmers.
The anticipated outcome of this project is a prototyped interface which can collate data and generate prescription maps. The prototype will be used to support 2018 sales and to demonstrate the product to customers and potential investors.
Play’N To Win is an agricultural start-up with a vision to use farmer and spatial data to improve fertiliser decisions. WA farmers spend $300m a year fertilising their crops with nitrogen (N), the most important crop nutrient. Only 50% of what they apply is used by the crop, the remainder is lost to the environment. Farmer frustrations about the inefficient use of N fertiliser was the starting point for the development of Play’N To Win. Play’N To Win’s initial target market are the 3,500 grain farmers in Western Australia, overtime the product will be expanded to target the other 17,000 grain farmers across Australia.
Wayne Pluske and Darren Hughes are the team behind Play’N To Win. Wayne has a track record of delivering innovation solutions to improve fertiliser efficiency including the most widely used decisions support tools across Australia. Darren has expertise in managing complex projects, building and leading teams and has an extensive network throughout the Australian grains industry.
Students will learn to work in a start-up environment and be focussed on solving a real world problem. By the end of the project students will have developed an understanding of agile project development and how to apply their skills to solve problems outside the industry they trained in.
Initially a data set of 1000 and then a further 5000 sample images will be provided by DPIRD specifically for the identification of small conical snails, annual ryegrass and three horned bedstraw within crop samples. Imagery data will need to be processed through the Brainchip software package. To accelerate this process, we require the development or modification of an existing API to achieve batch processing on laptop/desktop.
It is expected that the output data will yield further classifications of other crop seeds and contaminants which will require manual QA review by a qualified agronomist / agricultural scientist. Further image data sets will need to be obtained from the Grain Trade Australia and Australian Plant Phenolics Facility (Adelaide) to build out a library of seeds and crop/weeds and using this to determine the key areas to focus on that yield the greatest economic impact to farmers.
A commercial product concept will need to be developed that would involve the high-level system design and specification. The concept product is to be designed to be mounted on the clean grain elevator housing on a CASE 8230 or John Deere S680/780 harvester to allow further development as the BrainChip hardware becomes available.
Startup Glenrowan Enterprises is leading a collaboration applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) in precision agriculture, using neuromorphic hardware for identification of weeds and pests and their location in paddock. The technology, branded "Sniper - One Shot" is being developed in a collaboration involving Glenrowan Enterprises, Brainchip, Cisco Innovation Centre, Curtin and ECU, Farmers - Ryan Farming Company, Agronomists - Agvivo, machinery OEMs and the Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development (DPIRD). The project utilises BrainChip's patented software and hardware technologies and a low cost Red, Green, Blue visible light camera sensor to classify items identified in the images. As the machinery (combine harvester or boom spray) traverses the paddock, a Global Positioning System is used to determine the location where the weed, crop or pest was identified and a map is developed. The initial proof of concept validation will utilise data from DPIRD’s Royalties for Regions funded project into mapping patches of weeds and snail s by monitoring grain contaminants during harvesting. Herbicide resistance, invasive species and pests present a real cost to farmers and regulators who manage them.
Using AI to identify small conical snails, annual ryegrass and three horned bedstraw within crop sample visible images
The opportunity for hands on experience in an entrepreneurial venture
Broadened experience than your technical specialisation
Experience in managing and being part of a collaborative multidisciplinary project
Optimising wetland performance and investigating future wastewater treatment technologies for CSBP Kwinana
CSBP Kwinana is an industrial complex located in the Kwinana Industrial Area which incorporates ammonia, ammonium nitrate, sodium cyanide and fertiliser manufacturing, import and storage and despatch facilities.
The site generates nutrient rich, carbon deficient wastewater which is treated via a series of constructed wetlands before being discharged offsite in accordance with Environmental Protection Act licence limits, targets and obligations.
The volume of wastewater requiring treatment and disposal has increased as the business has grown and now exceeds the design capacity of the wetlands. For periods throughout the year (particularly during wet weather), some wastewater bypasses the treatment wetlands and is discharged direct to the licensed discharge point due to capacity constraints in the system.
Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers (WesCEF) operates chemical, energy and fertiliser businesses that service a range of sectors in both domestic and international markets.
We have operations around Australia and employ approximately 1,300 people nationally.
Our businesses include:
• CSBP Ammonia / Ammonium Nitrate & Industrial Chemicals
• CSBP Fertilisers
• Australian Gold Reagents
• Australian Vinyls
• EVOL LNG
• Queensland Nitrates
Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers is part of Wesfarmers Limited, one of Australia’s largest publicly-listed companies.
The students will gain skills in project management, wastewater management, problem-solving, data analysis and interpretation.
In addition students will gain the opportunity of hands-on experience in a professional environment and networking that will help them to pursue their career and employability.
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