On March 27, 2018, the Victorian Government, championed by the Minister for Innovation and the Digital Economy, Philip Dalidakis, announced the launch of the Victorian QuickFire Challenge: Driving Device Innovation in conjunction with the 6th Annual Devices & Diagnostics Lab in Melbourne. This Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS QuickFire Challenge will award a total of AUD 300,000, as well as mentorship from a network of experts, to up to three winners for their game-changing early-stage medical device innovations.
The QuickFire Challenge, a platform designed to inspire the best science and technology to solve the world’s biggest healthcare challenges, mirrors the ambitious spirit of the region. Despite a modest population of approximately 25 million people, Australia is the world’s 13th largest economy and 5th most innovative country in the world. The densely populated State of Victoria, located in Southeastern Australia and home to the country’s second-largest city of Melbourne, has one of the world's largest life science clusters composed of med tech, biotech and pharmaceutical industries. The sector’s 650 firms, ranging from start-ups to global exporters, employs more than 23,000 people and has been a driving force for the economy - quadrupling revenue since 2003 to $12.7 billion and doubling exports to $1.3 billion since 2011.
For these reasons and more, we brought Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s global network of experts to Monash University in Melbourne, opening the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Partnering Office at Monash (JJIPO @ Monash) earlier this year. JJIPO @ Monash is Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s second partnering office in Australia, with the first launched at QUT in Brisbane in 2016. These partnering offices are designed to help academics, investors and entrepreneurs drive innovation across Australia, particularly in Victoria and Queensland, and to connect them with our international networks of experts and resources to accelerate progress. With the launch of the Victorian QuickFire Challenge, we are taking that commitment one step further by inviting medical device innovators from across the world to bring their ideas to the growing hub for scientific innovation in Victoria.
Minister Dalidakis shared his enthusiasm for the partnership with parliament, saying that “Strengthening the pipeline from lab to marketplace is a key focus for our government, and this challenge will further demonstrate Victoria's capabilities to do just that.”
As accelerating technologies and global communication continues to transform the business landscape, leaders are tasked with creating an environment that fosters constructive evolution, a message very much at the forefront of the Johnson & Johnson Innovation team of which I’m proud to be part. Being part of an organization that recognizes the importance of connecting government, academic and business leaders from around the world to drive, accelerate and usher in the changing landscape for health care innovation is a dream come true. I encourage you all to embrace the opportunity with us.
Applications for the Victorian QuickFire Challenge: Driving Device Innovation are open through June 22, 2018 at http://jlabs.tv/victoria.