Innovation Campus

UOW launches Illawarra Innovation Quest to address COVID-19 challenges

Grants available for Illawarra businesses to confront COVID-19 related challenges

The University of Wollongong (UOW) is inviting Illawarra businesses to take part in the Illawarra Innovation Quest to confront the challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Part of NSW Government’s COVID-19 recovery plan, the Innovation Districts Challenges are designed to accelerate the commercialisation of research products that enable businesses to address the impacts of COVID-19.

The first challenge round is focused on the health and wellbeing solutions that reduce the impact of COVID-19 on NSW residents.

A total funding pool of $500,000 is being offered in each Challenge round.

  • Highest ranked applicant $250,000
  • Second-highest ranked applicant $100,000
  • Third-highest ranked applicant $30,000
  • The highest ranked applicant in each Innovation District that is not among the state-wide overall recipients may be granted $10,000, as determined by the evaluation panel.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services and State Member for Kiama, the Hon Gareth Ward MP, said the program would boost businesses in the Illawarra region that are working on solutions for the most challenging issues that COVID-19 has brought into our communities.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a huge toll on the health and wellbeing of our communities and disrupted the lives of people around the world,” Mr. Ward said.

“We urge businesses to come forward and take advantage of this opportunity and find ways of addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the people.

“I thank UOW for supporting the NSW Government’s program and providing a platform to local businesses to showcase their ideas and innovations that will eventually boost their confidence while addressing these challenges.”

UOW Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Jennifer Martin AC, said the program will act as a bridge linking local businesses with the University’s world-class research and innovation infrastructure.

“The health and wellbeing challenges are among the most critical that need to be addressed. I’m confident that through this initiative businesses will get vital support and funding to help them find impactful solutions to these urgent challenges,” Professor Martin said.

“We are pleased to be a part of NSW Government’s COVID-19 recovery plan by supporting local business investment in innovation and skills to solve societal problems,” Professor Martin said.

UOW Council Member and Suicide Prevention Australia CEO, Ms Nieves Murray, said COVID-19 has been a significant factor in the wave of suicides and mental health issues currently facing Australia, which need to be addressed urgently.

“COVID-19 has affected the health and wellbeing right across our communities and so it’s important we understand and address these impacts over the longer run,” Ms Murray said.

“This is the best time for businesses to come forward and participate in the program and contribute to finding practical solutions that will benefit and support communities facing health and wellbeing challenges.”

The deadline to apply for the Challenge is midnight on Monday October 26, 2020.

Further information about the program can be found on UOW’s Illawarra Quest webpage.


Story by Paul Jones


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