October 12-23: We Are Agents of Change

STEM Programming at SparkFest

If STEM is your thing, Spark Festival has got you covered this year. Find out more about how to grow research-based, HealthTech and MedTech startups in Australia, and connect in with success stories from local and global STEM innovators.

The segments below are part of Spark Festival, Australia's largest event for startups, innovators and entrepreneurs. Register here to gain access to the full livestream, running daily from Oct 12 - 23, and check out the full two week program here.

Save My Spot!

12 October,
9:10am — 9:30am AEDT

The Startup Journey: Vexev and Blackbird

Vexev is creating an affordable health service that maps the vascular systems of customers, observes how it changes over time and alerts doctors if something is about to go wrong. The co-founders, John Carroll and Eamonn Colley, formed the company on the back of their PhD’s in modelling and tracking vascular disease. Their initial trials with over 150 patient scans proved the utility and effectiveness of their method, after which they took their initial concept to pitch to Blackbird. Blackbird and vexev recently closed a seed round to accelerate the commercialisation of their technology.

They will be discussing the insight: what vexev believed in that their competitors did not, the catalyst: what the founders have learnt since their PhD, and the future: plans for making vexev's dream a reality.

15 October,
12:00pm — 12:50pm AEDT

Crazy Works – Startups have more impact than papers

Academic research investigates big questions and can solve global problems when new knowledge is taken to market. Meet some of the researchers who’ve started a business from scientific and technical research and are scaling its impact with impressive results.
Whether by tracking wildlife using radio technology and drones or developing new bone implants, Dr Debbie Saunders and Dr Maryam Parviz are having a positive impact on people and the environment with their research driven businesses. They will be interviewed by ‘Research for What’ podcast creator and host Rom Bouveret. If hearing from their experience gets you thinking about starting your startup; Natasha Rawlings, investor at Uniseed and Rupal Ismin, Director of the Sydney Knowledge Hub will be presenting the pathways available for your next step on this journey.
Learn how they overcame some of academia’s most notorious barriers, from IP, balancing their University career with business demands to the financial implications of their decision to pursue a startup.

15 October,
1:00pm — 1:20pm AEDT

Research and Commercialisation are Interchangeable

My research has led to two start-up companies iFix Medical and Health61. Commercialisation was thought to be the “dark side” of research; and there are two main limiting factors preventing researchers to commercialise their findings: publication and fear of losing “genuine” research. However, what I found is that having start-up company and experience is really inspiring. It also help you to attract more funding and to spend more time on research. I would like to share my experience and to encourage more researchers and research students to consider the start-up option.

15 October,
1:30pm — 1:50pm AEDT

The Startup Journey: DetectED-X

DetectED-X provides medical imaging test sets and intelligent interactive platforms which are designed to improve the diagnostic efficacy of radiologists and other clinicians all over the world. Clinicians who regularly participate in test set technologies improve performance in test sets by a mean value of 34% and our activities are accredited globally. The company is directed by Prof Patrick Brennan (the most published Medical Radiation Scientist globally), Prof Mary Rickard (who pioneered breast screening in Australia) and Dr Moe Suleiman (expert in radiologic optimisation) and is part-owned by the University of Sydney. Its COVID-19 solution has been used by clinicians in 150 countries. On our journey to date, there have been challenges and successes, but keeping an open mind a keeping sight of the long term goals is essential at all times. This session will explore some of the lessons learned.

15 October,
3:30pm — 3:50pm AEDT

How Swoop Aero is Driving Innovation and Creating the Future of Air Logistics

Swoop Aero transforms the way the world moves essential supplies. We are an Australian born and bred company with a global reach, bringing healthcare logistics into the 21st century by deploying two-way drone networks. Our managed air transport service provides access to the skies to ensure the sustainable, safe and reliable provision of essential health supplies. Unmanned vehicles are at the heart of the next significant shift in supply chain logistics. We are driving this change. From the UN to USAid and the Gates Foundation, we are trusted to create value by sustainably transforming health supply chains across three continents and five countries. We want to close the gap in healthcare access, and our goal is to service 100 million people by 2025.

The presentation address will outline how the Swoop Aero medical drone logistics solution is catalysing the development of tomorrow's health supply chain.

16 October,
2:20pm — 3:10pm AEDT

The Next Generation Needs to Know This

Unprecedented and pivot were two of 2020's most overused words. And the climate challenge was practically forgotten in the COVID crisis. The scale of this change will soon be business as usual for the next generation. So what are the things they need to know right now to help them navigate the future? Careers with STEM founder Heather Catchpole talks to AI, ag-tech, climate, education and industry experts about the essential things tomorrow (and today's) innovators need to know about the changing world landscape and building work and business opportunities in this critical time.

Heather co-founded STEM-specialist media company Refraction Media in 2013 with a view to creating a smarter future – one in which everyone has access to the skills they need to make a better planet. Heather previously worked for over a decade as an editor, science news journalist and producer at the ABC, Cosmos and CSIRO. Refraction Media have distributed over 1.5 million magazines to students across the USA, Australia and New Zealand through the Careers with STEM brand. In 2015 the company was awarded as Publish Australia’s best small publisher and was twice shortlisted best startup in the Telstra Business Awards.

21 October,
11:20am — 11:50am AEDT

Startup Stories: Iron Matrix

Why do we work? Why do we innovate? Why are we here? These questions led David Morgan on a journey which involved quitting his 20-year career in the oil and gas industry and resulted in the energy start-up, Iron Matrix. At the intersection of the energy and construction industries, Iron Matrix is on a mission to change the way the world sees and interacts with energy generation, storage and use. Each phase of Iron Matrix’s development has been underscored by the fundamental reality that everything we do and need in life requires energy.

22 October,
8:00am — 8:50am AEDT

Feeding the World Sustainably

Startups coming out of Universities can help farmers improve yield and reduce environmental footprint by building new products. Universities equip these startups with knowledge of the best technologies in AI, Robotics and IoT. This allows startups to design solutions with farmers using the latest research. The University of Sydney is partnering with the University of California Davis to showcase the impactful work of their startups who are helping to feed the world more sustainably. The panel will discuss the trends they are seeing in agtech and how entrepreneurs and investors can make the most out of this growing market opportunity.

22 October,
2:00pm — 2:50pm AEDT

Health 10X: Change for Global Health

Chronic and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and injury account for the majority of deaths around the world each year. Health10x is a global health accelerator co-delivered by The George Institute and UNSW, that supports early-stage startups working on solutions to the world's biggest health burdens. Our focus is on affordable innovation, especially for emerging markets and under-served communities. Our event will include a panel drawn from our network of entrepreneurs and global health experts, and a showcase of our top 5 global health startups.

22 October,
3:00pm — 3:30pm AEDT

Startup Story: Lactamo

The evidence is conclusive: breastmilk is the best nutrition you can offer a newborn. Yet, despite the importance of breastfeeding, most Mothers experience problems.
Lactamo is a ‘lactation aid’ for breastfeeding mothers which addresses the key problems associated with breastfeeding.
Tune in for an inspiring story of a social enterprise success and hear how Lactamo was successful in securing Government grant funding, and has had major partnership and endorsement offers from key industry leaders.