Eight research teams from across Australia and New Zealand have been selected as finalists in the research stream of the Bridge Hub 2020 Water Challenge, which was established to find new solutions to the problems of water sustainability within our agrisystem.
The eight finalists will now be in contention for a share of up to $250,000 in prize money and investment. More importantly, according to Dr Graham Bonnett from CSIRO, which sponsored the Australian research stream, the finalists and other entrants are building a network of individuals and organisations committed to addressing the many water issues we face across the agrisystem.
“We are delighted that this challenge has put a focus on the need for research solutions to water problems. What comes out of this initiative will not only be a handful of winners and hopefully some research ideas that can be followed through to realisation, but a connected cohort of passionate people,” he says.
“It’s important that the entire research community can come together to take on the big issues we face. The 2020 Water Challenge has generated participation from Australia, New Zealand and Israel, and that’s incredibly valuable.”
Finalists will now progress to the next round which includes a two-week workshop series being delivered in partnership with Callaghan Innovation and the Canberra Innovation Network. CSIRO and Zespri, the New Zealand Research Stream sponsor will be involved in the next round of judging in October.
One Australian research winner and one New Zealand research winner will each receive a cash prize of $25,000. Blue River Group will invest up to $100,000 into the commercial outcome of the prize-winning research from each country.
The eight research finalists are:
Nitrate removal to safeguard water quality
Led by Associate Professor David Leung
University of Canterbury, NZ
EFF-GO – 21st Century Solution for 21st Century Waste
Led by Dr Peter Dyer
Callaghan Innovation, NZ
Real-time control of irrigation through acoustic sensing to prevent runoff and pollution
Led by Dr Chandra Ghimire
AgResearch Ltd, NZ
Membrane Subsurface Irrigation
Led by Professor Gregory Leslie
The University of New South Wales
Advanced Capture of Water from the Atmosphere
Led by Prof Chiara Neto
The University of Sydney
Waste to plastic: converting agricultural wastewater to high value bioplastics
Led by Damian Laird
Microalgae harvesting using tuneable polymers
Led by Professor Long D. Nghiem
University of Technology Sydney
Led by Dr Caitlin Byrt
Australian National University
Source: Bridge Hub