For the third time already, the tecnet-accent Innovation Prize was awarded at the TFZ (Technology and Research Centre) Wiener Neustadt as part of the New Year’s reception. Young, committed researchers are an important basis for ensuring regional success. Three teams received the award, which is part of a joint initiative by tecnet equity, accent Inkubator and ecoplus.

The award encourages young scientists to think about the commercial applicability of their research. Accordingly, the jury’s evaluation did not focus on the actual content of the projects but on the strategies for their economic implementation.

First place went to Peter Velicsanyi with his project “Graphene Based Materials Development for Innovative Aeronautical Applications”. Peter Velicsanyi from CEST (Centre of Excellence for Electrochemistry and Surface Technology) has developed novel graphene-based materials with a wide range of potential applications. The research results could make an important contribution to reducing CO2 emissions in aircrafts. Novel, innovative aviation applications for instance are conceivable, by means of which the total weight of aircrafts could be reduced. Ultimately, fuel consumption can be reduced. It would also be possible to use the new materials in other types of vehicles, trains, cars or ships in the future.

The “PostPolyPrint (PPP)” project came second for the innovation award. Bernhard Lutzer and Lidija Rafailovic have developed an innovative pre-treatment and coating process for 3D printed plastic components. With the process developed by the CEST researchers, components from the 3D printer with new technical properties (e.g. chemical functionality or resistance to external influences) could be developed. Potential application areas range from replicas of valuable jewelry or artefacts in display in museums to particularly light and stable antennas for aerospace to innovative, light heat exchanger systems for automotive applications.

Matthias Maj and his team received the 3rd prize for their work “Reliable operation of process-critical plants by in-situ condition monitoring”. Knowing real-time plant health is indeed critical to the manufacturing industry for optimizing maintenance and improving competitiveness. The team led by Matthias Maj from AC2T research (Austrian Excellence Centre for Tribology) has developed a method with which essential system and wear parameters of rollers can be measured using a sensor network, identified by an efficient big data analysis and afterwards being displayed with augmented reality tools. In future, the research results could make an important contribution to the online monitoring of critical system parts and detect breakouts of protective coatings.

Tecnet supports the young researchers on their way to market implementation via trainings, workshops and coachings. “We are taking an important step here with the R2V (research to value) programme. It is important for us to anchor knowledge on the economic exploitation of research among young scientists as early as possible,” says Thilo Schmalz, Technology Transfer Manager at tecnet equity. Michael Moll, Managing Director of accent Inkubator, can only agree with this: “The best scientific work is of no use if you cannot present it in such a way that the economy recognizes its potential. We specialize in supporting technology-oriented and knowledge-intense startups and academic spinoffs. “