Innovation Precinct

Scientific ingenuity + design powers challenge-based innovation



A ‘Challenge-Based Innovation’ platform at the nandin Innovation Centre is progressing as part of a funding package from the NSW Government and a Memorandum of Understanding with Swinburne University of Technology and Design Factory Melbourne (DFM). 

‘Challenge-based innovation’ uses design principles to solve business challenges and create new products.

The platform owes its origins to an approach by the Design Factory Melbourne and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) for a Sydney node of its AChallenge Based Innovation platform.

A3, CBI, known as the three A’s, uses design innovation for outcomes that connect CERN technology with societal needs in a tangible way.  It connects CERN technology and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

For example, the ReTire project explored reducing tyre dust levels in Melbourne’s waterways and ways to reduce micro-plastics in domestic waterways.

“Because ANSTO is a nuclear science organisation similar to CERN, UTS saw that we could complement the activities in this space,” said Dr Tim Boyle, Director of innovation and Commercialisation at ANSTO and Director of nandin.

CERN’s accelerator platform, IdeaSquare was established to accelerate ideas through collaboration, research and development prototyping and experimental innovation. 

“We are modeling our challenge-based innovation on these two successful platforms. The approach of IdeaSquare at CERN and the three As at the DFM provide a nexus that has proven to be an effective accelerator for technology transfer and societal impact,” said Boyle.

“We saw the benefit of linking the National Centre for Synchrotron Science at the Australian Synchrotron,” said Boyle.

The first collaborative project since the formal agreement was a project for two DFM students to re-design the cabin space for new synchrotron beamlines as part of Project Bright. 

cabin design

The students, working with Synchrotron scientists and engineers, devised a design that provides safety, comfort, reduced clutter and improved productivity for scientists using the instruments.

“Challenge-based innovation is one of the pillars of nandin, that supports strategies to enable industry engagement and the translation of research. It is linked to entrepreneurial learning and access to research infrastructure in a vibrant ecosystem,” said Boyle.

There will be a pool of talent in those future graduates who access training and development through the Innovation Precinct.

Design factory spaces are planned for nandin in Sydney and the Australian Synchrotron campus in Melbourne. 

Funding of $2.5 million will be allocated over a five year period to provide resources for this community of practice.

“There is a great opportunity to contribute to global design projects with our nuclear expertise,” said Boyle. 

“We also anticipate broader educational outreach in line with some of the school programs we currently offer at ANSTO.


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