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2019 Winners of the BHERT Awards for Collaboration

The final Business Higher Education Round Table (BHERT) Awards, a celebration and recognition of high impact university collaborations, were held at the Engagement Australia Conference Dinner in Brisbane on Thursday 29 August. Established by BHERT in 1998, the BHERT Awards recognised the best – the highest impact and most innovative – university partnerships in Australia.

The BHERT Awards

BHERT has announced its closure, and its final Awards were presented in partnership with Engagement Australia. Engagement Australia will conduct the Collaboration Awards from 2020. At the Conference Dinner, 2006 Australian of the Year Professor Ian Frazer AC noted that projects led by his team at the University of Queensland had been commended by BHERT in one of the first years of the BHERT Awards (1999) and in their last year (2019). He thanked BHERT for their support to collaborative endeavours in the university community.

The 2019 Award winners come from many sectors of Australian industry and community, and addressed Australia’s most important challenges. Spanning enterprises in research and development, higher education and training, community engagement, and national benefit, this year’s Award recipients have demonstrated the impact of business-university and community-university collaboration in Australia.

Dr Peter Binks, CEO of BHERT, acknowledged the quality of the Applications and of the Finalists:

2019 saw a record number of Applications – 156 submissions from 31 universities and over 400 companies and organisations – and the 12 Award Winners were outstanding collaborative partnerships. Our Panel was impressed by the strength and impact of these partnerships, and the commitment by businesses, communities and universities to work together. These partnerships had been in place for decades, had built workforces, launched companies, changed lives and communities, protected national assets, and shaped the way we support disadvantaged groups. Australian university-industry and university-community partnerships are continuing to grow in number and importance – and are making a vital contribution to our nation.

In 2019, the winners include:

  • new vaccines to treat cancers;
  • an outstanding agricultural business transformation program in NSW’s Northern Rivers region;
  • a world-leading innovation and creativity degree;
  • RMIT’s ABC Fact Check;
  • mobile applications for the early detection of autism; and
  • a maths pedagogy for indigenous students.

It was notable that 10 universities were Award winners, and that 7 of the 12 winning teams were led by women.

BHERT has also honoured Monash University Laureate Professor Marilyn Fleer with its prestigious Ashley Goldsworthy Award for Leadership in Collaboration, for her work in building Australia’s capacity in Early Childhood Education over the last 25 years. Professor Fleer has established deep partnerships with Australian Government, Victorian Government, Early Childhood Australia, and many schools.

The presentation of the 2019 Awards was BHERT’s last formal activity. Dr Binks thanked Engagement Australia for their support to the 2019 Awards, and wished them every success for the Awards from 2020. BHERT thanked its Members, its Board Directors and staff, its outstanding Judges Panels, and over 1,000 teams from across Australian universities, companies and community who have supported it over the last 28 years.

Award for Outstanding Collaboration in Research & Development: Public Infrastructure

Program: Intelligent Robotics in Infrastructure Maintenance


  • University of Technology Sydney Centre for Autonomous Systems
  • Roads & Maritime Services of NSW

Award for Outstanding Collaboration in Research and Development: Major Partnerships

Program: Polymer Injection technology for Green Steelmaking


  • UNSW Sydney Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology
  • OneSteel
  • MolyCop

Award for Outstanding Collaboration in Research and Development: New Enterprises

Program: Polynucleotide-based immunotherapies to treat chronic viral infections and associated diseases


  • The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
  • Admedus Vaccines Pty Ltd
  • Jingang Medicine (Australia) Pty Ltd
  • UniQuest Pty Ltd
  • The Princess Alexandra Hospital

Award for Outstanding Collaboration in Higher Education and Training: Workforce Transformation

Program: Best Practice in Contemporary Patient Care and Safety Program


  • Deakin University Centre for Quality and Patient Safety Research (QPS) and School of Nursing and Midwifery
  • Alfred Health, Barwon Health, Eastern Health, Epworth HealthCare, Monash Health, and Western Health

Award for Outstanding Collaboration in Higher Education and Training: Industry Problem Solving

Program: Bachelor of Creative Intelligence & Innovation at UTS


  • University of Technology Sydney Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation
  • How to Impact (Innovation Consultancy)
  • Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC)
  • The Centre for Inclusive Design
  • Mastercard Innovation Lab
  • many BCII Partners

Award for Outstanding Collaboration in Higher Education and Training: Digital Learning

Program: RMIT Digital Credentials Program


  • RMIT University and RMIT Online
  • Credly
  • EY Australia
  • REA Group
  • Tigerspike

Award for Outstanding Collaboration in Community Engagement: Closing the Gap

Program: YuMi Deadly Maths Program at QUT


  • Queensland University of Technology YuMi Deadly Centre
  • Queensland Department of Education
  • Commonwealth Department of Education and Training
  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
  • 275 participating schools within communities across Queensland and Australia

Award for Outstanding Collaboration in Community Engagement: Building Capacity

Program: Farming Together Program


  • Southern Cross University
  • Northern Rivers Co-operative Alliance
  • The Australian Government Department of Water and Resources
  • Primary producers across the agricultural sector
  • Agri-consultants
  • Co-Ops NSW and the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals
  • The University of Western Australia
  • The Australian Institute of Management
  • The University of Newcastle

Award for Outstanding Collaboration in National Benefit: Public Health

Program: Early Autism Detection with ASDetect


  • The Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at La Trobe University
  • Salesforce
  • Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism
  • The Municipal Association of Victoria

Award for Outstanding Collaboration in National Benefit: Public Impact

Program: RMIT ABC Fact Check


  • RMIT College of Design and Social Context
  • Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC News)
  • Crikey INQ
  • ABC Education
  • Small Multiples

Award for Outstanding Collaboration in National Benefit: National Asset

Program: Integrated marine monitoring for port operations in the Great Barrier Reef


  • Centre for Tropical Water & Aquatic Ecosystem Research (TropWATER) at James Cook University
  • North Queensland Bulk Ports
  • The Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership

Ashley Goldsworthy Award for Outstanding Leadership in Collaboration

Winner: Laureate Professor Marilyn Fleer Director, Conceptual PlayLab, Monash University
for sustained collaboration with the early childhood education sector and impact and upskilling of its teacher sector


  • Monash University Conceptual PlayLab
  • Australian Government
  • Victorian Government
  • Early Childhood Australia
  • Schools across Victoria and Australia

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