UniSA’s Winnovation wonders

Associate Professor Karen Nelson-Field (left) and Emily Rich, UniSA Venture Catalyst recipient and Jemsoft co-founder (right). COMMUNITY
Associate Professor Karen Nelson-Field (left) and Emily Rich, UniSA Venture Catalyst recipient and Jemsoft co-founder (right).

It was a big win for UniSA at this year’s Women in Innovation Winnovation event with staff, alumni and a student taking out more than half of this year’s awards, which recognise innovative South Australian women.

The Winnovation awards showcased a range of innovative ways to find solutions to real world problems within the fields of health care, agribusiness, computer vision technology and digital marketing.

This year’s winners included UniSA staff member and alumna Dr Nayane Parange who is Program Director of Medical Sonography. Dr Parange achieved success in the Regional, Rural and Remote category, having led the development of an education and training model to upskill midwives and GPs caring for Aboriginal women in remote locations.

The Winnovation Science category was awarded to UniSA Senior Research Fellow, Dr Nicole Pratt, for developing a rapid side effect detection tool to apply to large data sets of health care use.

Using data sets from across the Asia Pacific region, Dr Pratt has been examining the safety and effectiveness of medicines.

“We’ve looked at the side effects of anti-inflammatories using this tool,” Dr Pratt said.

“If we had applied the tool at the time a particular anti-inflammatory medicine first came onto the market, we would have been able to identify the side effect of heart attack, after about one year that it was on the market.

“That medicine has now been withdrawn from the market due to that side effect but it took four years for it to come off the market, after clinical trials identified the problem.

“The tool has the potential to discover side effects earlier so harms associated with medicine use can be avoided.”

For Associate Professor Karen Nelson Field winning the Engineering category at this year’s event marked her second Winnovation award following success in the Community and Arts category in 2014.

This year’s award capped off a dynamic year for Assoc Prof Nelson-Field, one in which she became Director of UniSA’s newly established Centre for Digital Video Intelligence, building on her research into the impact of online and digital technologies and social media platforms in the marketing and advertising space.

“The Centre aims to facilitate growth in the online video sector, providing industry with direction about video investment, focusing on principles for effective content distribution, content creation and platform impact,” Assoc Prof Nelson-Field said.

“Winning this award in a category less typical of marketing innovation, demonstrates my commitment to building technology and integrating artificial intelligence into our research solutions. There are exciting times ahead in our sector.”

UniSA alumna Karen Brown, a former researcher at UniSA and now Assistant Director, Organisational Performance and Development at the Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA, achieved the Business award for her Women Influencing Agribusiness and Regions Strategy. It’s a strategy that aims to raise the profile of agribusiness and the important contributions being made by women.

Student Emily Rich, a recipient of a Venture Catalyst grant in 2014 and co-founder of start-up company, Jemsoft, was awarded in the Technology category. She has helped develop computer vision technologies which allow anybody to train cameras to recognise, detect and identify objects.

Emily’s computer vision technology is being considered to work along with drone captured footage to aid in the conservation of orangutans in Borneo.