Bio CHallenge 2019

Over two-hundred high school students attended the University of Sydney’s April 2019 Bioengineering Innovation Outreach Challenge and were asked to identify innovative solutions to some of the world’s most complex medical challenges

Hosted by the Australian Research Council Training Centre for Innovative Bioengineering, the innovation challenge featured talks by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Cochlear’s Head of Global Clinical Affairs Dr Mary Beth Brinson, and the University of Sydney Nano Institute’s Professor Benjamin Eggleton.

The students were mentored by experts working in academia and the biomedical industry, which included the University of Sydney’s Professor Hala Zreiqat, event chair and second year student Yohaann Ghosh, and a multidisciplinary team of undergraduate students and research fellows.

The mentors helped students develop innovative solutions for problems such as food allergy anaphylaxis, chemotherapy-induced alopecia and even eczema.

Speaking at the challenge was University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence, who remarked on the students’ inventive approaches to complex issues facing health and medicine, “This is a tremendous programme, and such a great showcase to the imagination, collaboration and excellence of the student participants”.

“Fostering innovation among the next generation of scientific stars is a passion for the University of Sydney, and particularly of Professor Zreiqat and her team. Congratulations to everyone involved in the 2019 Biochallenge, with hope that this inspires the next great medical breakthrough of the near future.”

Congratulations to our winners from Merewether High School (Newcastle, NSW) more details on their “universal transdermal drug patch” here:!




The Bioengineering Innovation Outreach Challenge is a mentoring program pairing high school students with world-leading researchers to tackle some of the biggest medical challenges today. High school students will work with their research mentors to develop research questions and present their findings at an event hosted by the University of Sydney and the Australian Research Council Training Centre for Innovative Bioengineering on April 15th 2019.


• Will expose students to research in the field of bioengineering

• Inspire students to tackle research challenges and issues with current medical technologies

• Provides the opportunity to work with world-leading researchers at the University of Sydney

• Present ideas to an esteemed panel of academics, clinicians and industry ­


In teams of four to five, students from grades 10, 11 or 12 must identify a short-coming of current medical technology and apply the principles of bioengineering and scientific research to investigate solutions to that problem.

After development of their solution, teams will work with their researcher mentor to develop a model or prototype and presentation for Presentation Day at the University of Sydney. Presentation Day will be held on 15th April 2019 and will be be broken into three stages.

• Stage I will re-examine and reinforce the principles of bioengineering

• Stage II will expose students to current research being conducted in bioengineering at the University

• Stage III will conclude the day, allowing teams the opportunity to present their work in front of a world leading panel and compete for one of three prizes


To register for this exciting opportunity, teams of four to five students from grade 10 – 12 at any Australian high school are invited to submit an expression of interest to the program. Registration is now open and will close April 1st 2019 through:

Registration is free, but individuals must make their own travel arrangements to/from the University of Sydney for Presentation Day.

Following registration and the review of your application, successful groups will be paired with their research mentor


We strongly urge teams to focus on developing innovations which are intended to solve current issues in regenerative medicine, nanotechnology, tissue engineering, medical imaging, biosensors or 3D printing. Examples of current devices in the field include artificial organs, medical implants and smart drug delivery systems.

Teams are expected to prepare a model or prototype before making a presentation of 3 minutes in duration with the assistance of a single poster or presentation slide on Monday 15th April 2019. Several interactive webinars will be available throughout the preparation period to adequately equip teams with the skills to develop their invention. Dates and further announcements will be made on the website – .


Best Innovation Overall Award (Peer Vote) –One-week immersive research experience at the University of Sydney during the 2019 winter school holiday period.

The Australian Research Council – Training

Centre for Innovative Bioengineering

Team Award for Best Presentation –Geeetech A10M Mix-color 3D Printer

The Bioengineering Team Scholarship for Most Innovative Device –Mentorship from The Centre and it’s researchers at the University of Sydney as well as access to labs to further develop the innovation. This scholarship is intended to provide adequate resources for students to publish their work in the annual Google Science Fair.


On Presentation Day, students will engage with researchers at the University and the Centre to hear more about the impact that medical technologies have on the quality of life for many people across the globe. This will include a talk from Dr Mary Beth Brinson of Cochlear, the Australian biotechnology company and innovator of the Cochlear Implant which has empowered over 350 thousand people with the ability hear.

Before lunch, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki will present on the need for greater innovation in the medical context and the role of high school students in driving the future of medical technologies.

After lunch, teams will present their work to an esteemed panel of academics and industry who will award the aforementioned prizes.

At the end of the day, extra-mural laboratory rotations provide the opportunity for students to learn about higher research facilities at the university.The schedule is provided on the next page.


Below are some ideas:

1.   Artificial pancreas to help diabetics.

2. A pacemaker to treat obstructive sleep apnea

3. Gene therapy for inherited retinal diseases

4. Reduction of LDL cholesterol

5. Removing geographical barriers to care

6. New generation vaccine platforms

7. Targeted breast cancer therapies

8. Enhanced recovery after surgery

9. Centralising monitoring of hospitalized patients.

10. Scalp cooling for reducing chemotherapy hair loss  (2018) (2019)