In a first for the Avalon Innovation Awards, presented today on the first day of AVALON 2023, both the National and the SME Innovation Awards were won by the same company.
Melbourne-based 1MILLIKELVIN Pty Limited was named winner of both the National Innovation Award and SME Innovation Award at the presentation ceremony, held today at the AVALON 2023 Australian International Airshow & Aerospace and Defence Exposition at Avalon Airport at Geelong, Victoria.
1MILLIKELVIN won both awards for its world-leading work developing a stress-imaging camera system which provides a full-colour representation of the stress on a mechanical structure under loads, such as the airframes of crewed and uncrewed aircraft and helicopters.
The panel of eight judges, led by former Deputy Chief Defence Scientist Dr Bill Schofield, agreed that 1MILLIKELVIN’s entry was a deserving winner for both awards.
The Young Innovator Award was presented to BAE Systems Australia Melbourne engineer Callum Rohweder for his work on developing the core guidance, navigation and control algorithms at the heart of the Australian-developed Vehicle Management System (VMS) for the Boeing MQ-28A Ghost Bat loyal wingman.
Callum is in his third year with BAE Systems and just four years from completing his degree as a Mechatronics Engineer at the University of Queensland.
Now 26, Callum joined BAE Systems in Melbourne in January 2020 and, less than six months later as state borders across the country were closing due to the pandemic, he volunteered to relocate to Queensland to help the team work towards the aircraft’s first flight.
“I am so very proud to have the chance to contribute to the development of a new, game changing capability for the Royal Australian Air Force,” Callum said.
“I am also very grateful to have been able to work with amazing and talented people within Boeing Australia and its MQ-28A program, as well as the Vehicle Management Team within BAE Systems Australia.”
BAE Systems Australia CEO Ben Hudson said Callum’s problem solving capabilities, innovation and commitment to technical excellence had been important to the success of the MQ-28A program.
“He is demonstrating the importance of doing things differently, while retaining a sharp focus on program milestones and the high level of collaboration required on this project,” Mr Hudson said.
This year, for the first time, the winners of the SME Innovation Award and Young Innovator Award were presented with a cheque for $50,000 each from the AMDA Foundation – organisers of the Australian International Airshow & Aerospace and Defence Exposition.
AMDA Foundation CEO Justin Giddings said the monetary awards, funded entirely by AMDA Foundation Limited, were meant to be life-changing, especially for the winner of the Young Innovator Award.
“A sum like $50,000 can lever as much again in grants and project funding to help a project across the so-called ‘valley of death’ and turn a smart idea into a proven reality,” Mr Giddings said.
“It can help a young innovator undertake a Masters or a Ph.D, to study overseas or undertake an internship focussed on mastering a new technology.”