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Inventor of the Year


Engineering’s Professor Liangchi Zhang has been named Inventor of the Year by UNSW’s commercialisation arm, NSi.

He has developed a cutting tip for the rock and coal mining industry, which dramatically improves wear resistance compared with existing designs, and reduces cutting force, energy consumption and dust generation.

Fifteen UNSW staff and students were finalists in the annual competition. The winners in the main categories were Professor Peter Gunning (Biomedical), Dr Stephen Anthony (Information and Communication Technology), Professor Brett Neilan (Environment) and for Science and Engineering, Professor Zhang. The winners of each of these categories were nominees for the overall Inventor of the Year award.

The winner of the Student Inventor of the Year is Ly Mai. Her novel solar cell manufacturing processes have been implemented by major companies worldwide and have been used to produce record-breaking efficiencies in solar cells.


The new CEO of NSi, Dr Kevin Cullen, congratulated the winners and outlined his vision for the organisation at the awards ceremony.

“The real goal of commercialisation and knowledge exchange is not all about the money – it’s about helping our researchers and these brilliant inventors we are celebrating here tonight to get their ideas put to work and to make great things happen as a result,” he said.

“Through smart, effective, partnerships with industry and society, and innovative new models, we can establish UNSW as a leading national and global player in this space alongside our already well recognised friends at MIT, Imperial and Stanford.”

The NSi Inventor of the Year awards acknowledge innovative technologies of UNSW researchers and students that benefit the community and the environment. This is the third year of the awards, which carry a total prize pool of $28,000. Leaders from the University, business, and research organisations and government attended the event, which was sponsored by bWiseIP, Callaways Executive Selection, CSIRO, Intellectual Ventures and Spruson and Ferguson.

For further information about the University of New South Wales, visit or email

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