UC Inventors Win Big At NZ’s First HealthTech Innovation Challenge
Several University of Canterbury (UC) innovators and their health technology solutions are among the inaugural winners of the first HealthTech Supernode Challenge, a national innovation challenge, announced at an awards ceremony in Christchurch last night.
The aim of the Challenge was to identify and generate commercially viable innovations to address real healthcare problems, particularly in the aged care and rural care sectors. The country’s most inventive and life-changing healthcare ideas and initiatives were refined from 128 entries to eight finalists.
At Thursday’s Demo Evening event, which took place at Manawa in Christchurch’s Health Innovation Precinct, the eight finalists pitched their innovations to a VIP judging panel, which included microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles, Ministry of Health Chief Science Advisor Ian Town, UC Head of Aotahi School of Māori and Indigenous Studies Sacha McMeeking, and Chief Executive of ChristchurchNZ Joanna Norris.
Category winners were:
- UC Engineering PHD candidate Lui Holder-Pearson (who was also involved in UC’s low-cost ventilator solution for Covid-19 patients) won the Best Solution from a Student Team for the Accessible Insulin Pump;
- UC Engineering academic Dr Debbie Munro won the Best Solution from a Large Enterprise team for the Diagnostic Implantable Sensor System For Spinal Fusion;
- UC Science academic from UC’s Rose Centre for Stroke Recovery and Research, Professor Maggie-Lee Huckabee won the Best Solution from a Canterbury team for BiSSkApp; and
- Richard Shepherd and his team including the inventor UC Engineering academic Professor Keith Alexander, won the Best Aged Care Solution prize for the HT Systems Kera Transfer Aid.
- Best solution from a startup team: Next Step™ by Richard Anthony McCulloch, which was the overall winner.
University of Canterbury innovations and researchers were involved in five of the eight finalists, including the category winners and Stable Fall Prevention Platform by UC MBA student Shane Wilson.
From 128 applicants, 22 finalists took part in an intensive six-week pre-accelerator programme that included support from local and national mentors, guest speakers, coaches, and judges.
Delivered by the Ministry of Awesome and the University of Canterbury’s Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE) with support from ChristchurchNZ, KiwiNet and Ryman Healthcare, the HealthTech Supernode Challenge aims to position Christchurch as New Zealand’s centre of health innovation by attracting and growing talent, business and innovation.