2018 Winners of the BHERT Awards for Collaboration

For 22 years, the BHERT Awards have celebrated the very best of Australian university partnerships with business and the community. In 2018, the winners include:

  • an academy which trains autistic students for roles in the IT industry
  • a major partnership supporting the international competitiveness of Australia's food industries
  • Australia's largest science and engineering challenge for school students
  • a powerful collaboration in indigenous health to address disadvantage
  • a revolutionary approach to cancer treatment using viruses.

BHERT has also honoured regional Victorian leader Jane den Hollander, for her leadership in establishing Geelong as one of Australia's most vibrant innovation precincts.

The BHERT Awards

The BHERT Awards are Australia's longest-running and highest-profile recognition of the outstanding partnerships involving universities.

First launched in 1997, BHERT Awards have honoured some of Australia's most important activities, including for example the revolutionary vaccine Gardasil; Seeing Machines, the computer vision company; many of Australia's leading Work-Integrated Learning programs, and national initiatives in environmental management and social inclusion.

In 2018, the BHERT Awards attracted a record field of entries, with 79 high-calibre submissions from 30 universities. The partnerships touched upon nearly every industry in Australia, and over 200 companies and organisations participated. BHERT assembled an outstanding Panel to assess the Awards, featuring business and community CEOs, and scientists and university leaders.

The Winners of the BHERT Awards are characterized by national impact and unique partnerships across Australian society. All have operated for many years, and have involved multiple participants.


Award for Outstanding Collaboration in Research & Development: Industry Partnership

BHERT Research and Development Collaboration Award

Awarded to:

  • Monash University
  • University of Queensland
  • Soochow University
  • Bega, Devondale
  • Tartura
  • Fonterra

Project: Monash Program for the Food and Dairy Industries

The Program was established in 2006, initially for the dairy industry, as a joint initiative of Monash University with Dairy Innovation Australia Ltd (DIAL) – an industry body representing companies dedicated to advancing Australia's dairy sector.

The Program aimed to develop new processing and technologies, and provide Australia's dairy companies with innovative powders that can be sold at a premium, and novel ingredients like milk protein concentrates, specialty proteins, and whey products.


Award for Outstanding Collaboration in Research and Development: Technology Development

Collaboration in Research and Development Award

Awarded to:

  • The University of Newcastle
  • Hunter Medical Research Institute
  • MSD Australia

Project: Viralytics: immunotherapy-based cancer treatment

Two decades of The University of Newcastle research into the common cold virus has led to a new cohort of oncology treatments, based on immunotherapies, which introduce viruses to induce an immune response against cancerous tissues. These are proving to be particularly important in treating late stage and metastatic diseases, including melanoma, prostate, lung, head, neck, and bladder cancers.


Award for Outstanding Collaboration for National Benefit

Collaboration for National Benefit Award

Awarded to:

  • Curtin University
  • Bankwest
  • BHP
  • Deloitte
  • Ian Potter Foundation
  • Bennelong
  • Rotary
  • rerisk

Project: Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance

The Autism Academy is a social initiative that recognises and harnesses the special talents of autistic school leavers, to provide an enhanced capability for software designers, and attractive career paths for the students. The model follows a Danish company (Specialisterne) that created a strengths-based approach for supporting individuals on the autism spectrum to secure employment in the IT area. The labour force participation rate for adults with autism is 41% in Australia.


Award for Outstanding Collaboration in Higher Education and Training

Closing the Gap

Awarded to:

  • University of Queensland
  • The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health

Project: Indigenous Health Education and Workforce Development

In 2010, the University of Queensland (UQ) and the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH), with support from the UQ Poche Centre for Urban Indigenous Health, entered a partnership. IUIH is the largest Aboriginal community-controlled, health organisation in Australia, with an annual operating budget of $70 million. IUIH is the largest employer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in South East Queensland.

The partnership with UQ was designed to address indigenous health disadvantage through developing a generation of health professionals familiar with the special challenges of indigenous health. It used university placements (students and staff) within the Indigenous health organisation rather than at a university.

Since 2010, annual student placements have grown from 30 students across 3 disciplines, to over 350 students across 20 disciplines in 2017. 25 graduates have been employed at IUIH following their placement experience. The partnership between the University of Queensland and IUIH was enabled by the generous philanthropy of Greg Poche and Kay von Norton Poche towards the UQ Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, which provided resources for placement of University of Queensland students within IUIH health facilities.

IUIH can demonstrate that its clients experience an improvement in Health Adjusted Life Expectancy of nearly a full year, and the UQ-IUIH Program supports the development of a clinically and culturally competent health workforce.


Award for Outstanding Collaboration in Community Engagement

Collaboration in Community Engagement Award

Awarded to:

  • The University of Newcastle
  • Rotary
  • Google
  • Engineers Australia
  • Defence Force Recruiting and others
  • 27 other Australian Universities, and NZ and Singapore Universities

Project: The Science & Engineering Challenge

In 2000 the Science and Engineering Challenge (SEC) was started by The University of Newcastle in collaboration with Rotary, by Dr Terry Burns. From a single event, the program has now grown to include 265 event days and 50,000 students across Australia each year. The program partners with numerous local and national businesses and organisations and 28 Australian universities.


Ashley Goldsworthy Award for Individual Leadership in University-Business Collaboration

Awarded to: Professor Jane den Hollander AO, Vice Chancellor, Deakin University

Professor Jane den Hollander

Deakin University plays a pivotal role in the economic, social and cultural life of Geelong, Victoria's largest regional city. The decline in its traditional manufacturing sector has presented significant challenges as large employers such as Ford and Alcoa have closed.

Since taking up her position as Vice-Chancellor in 2010, Professor Jane den Hollander AO has worked tirelessly with Government, industry and education partners to proactively identify and address the challenges of a region undergoing significant transition.