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UC researchers win over investors in 90 seconds

Marcus Butler

5 September 2017: An international award-winning designer, an expert on using gardening to recover from disasters and one of the thinkers behind the 'bedside care plan' process used around the country have all put their pitching skills to the test.

The University of Canberra’s annual Pitch for Funds (P4F) challenges researchers and academics to convince investors to put their money behind their work.

Competitors had just 90 seconds to deliver their ‘elevator pitch’ and convince a panel of judges and the entire audience to back their project, based on their communication of the concept, how the funding will assist and the impact that success will have on the wider world.

Assistant Professor of Education Philip Roberts secured the first prize of $5,000 research funding for his project to re-examine NAPLAN testing from the perspective of rural and regionally-based students.

Clinical Assistant Professor of Physiotherapy Bernie Bissett received $3,000 in funds towards her research into breath strength training in Hospital's Intensive Care Units for people on respirators and Assistant Professor of Motor Control and Biomechanics, Wayne Spratford was also the recipient of $3,000 for his research into in-shoe orthodics to target and reduce chronic hip pain.

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Frances Shannon says delivering a pitch is important for researchers throughout their career and Pitch for Funds helps keep their skills honed.

“It could be a short presentation to a funding panel or a chance meeting with a potential backer in an elevator, but being able to summarise a complex project in less than two minutes could be the difference between receiving funding and missing out,” Professor Shannon said.

The judging panel will include The Hon Brendan Nelson AO - Director of the Australian War Memorial, Mick Spencer - CEO and Founder of On The Go Sports, Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA - ACT Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, and Suzie Hoitink - Founder of Clear Complexions clinics.

The judges and audience will have $12,000 in research funding to award to the presenter or presenters they are most impressed by; audience members will each receive ‘five UC-bucks’ to hand straight to their chosen pitcher.

Professor Shannon said with 20 researchers pitching on the night the audience will be entertained.

“The very nature of the competition demands that the participants are entertaining and informative. I expect the audience will have a great time and come away feeling enthusiastic about the work that is happening at UC to solve many of the problems we face in the world today.”

The event is part of the University’s Pitch and Connect day, which includes a showcase from the first graduates of social entrepreneurial accelerator, the Mill House, and a series of workshops linking academia and research with industry.

2017 UC P4F winners and competitors

Winner - $5,000 - Dr Philip Roberts: How NAPLAN creates rural disadvantage. @PhilipRobertsss

Winner - $3,000 - Dr Bernie Bissett: Take my breath away – respiratory muscle strengthening to accelerate ventilator weaning in intensive care patients. @BernieBissett

Winner - $3,000 - Dr Wayne Spratford: Can in-shoe orthoses reduce greater trochanteric pain syndrome? @WayneSpratford

Dr Benjamin Leruth: Together, let's bridge the gap between citizens and political elites! @BenLeruth

Dr Fanke Peng: Wearable memory: Let’s keep our older loved ones safe and engaged. @FankePeng

Tayanah O'Donnell: Urban renewal: What's your vision? @Tayanah

Dr Alison McLennan: Let's talk about synthetic biology. @asmclennan

Dr Dalma Demeter: Quo vadis, Domine? Making legal choices easy.

Dr Habib Kahn: Management accountants: Are you ready for big data? @sumkadu

Dr Ann Hill: Learning together to secure our food; growing a global garden of ideas. @annhilluc

David Hinwood: Classification and manipulation of waste with robotics.

Abel Zhou: Could patient ionising radiation exposure be reduced 100 fold? @XRay_Revolution

Dr Eamon Merrick: Help! We need somebody – teamwork in emergency. @EamonMerrick

Hayley Teasdale: Balance buzz ball. @haylolz

Dr Jane Frost: Walk in someone else’s shoes – improving patient experiences in health care. @JaneFrostUC

Dr Niru Mahendran: The miracle drug – how much is enough?! @niru__mahendran

Dr Sam Kosari: Reducing medication errors in aged care facilities. @SamKosari

Dr Suzanne Carroll: Where you live matters. @CarrollSuzanneJ

Jenny Duxbury: See and avoid: A politico-legal mystery. @duxburyjen

Anthony Davidson: The final puzzle piece. @ANTSstats