What is 2016’s National Research Innovation Award winner up to now?

Posted 6 September 2017

Dr Shihu Hu at the Ozwater'16 Gala Dinner and Awards NightThe Australian Water Association Research Innovation Award has opened up an array of opportunities for last year’s winners, with the team still revelling in their achievement one year on. 

The University of Queensland’s Advanced Water Management Centre’s Dr Shihu Hu and his colleagues took out the prestigious accolade in 2016 for their project, Affordable and Sustainable Water Recycling through Optimal Technology Integration.

The research focused on investigating and developing next-generation technologies that can achieve complete nitrogen removal without using organic carbon, thereby enabling maximum bioenergy recovery from wastewater.

Hu said the recognition has bolstered awareness of his team’s work, leading to commercial support and other opportunities too. 

“One of the reasons we won the award was because there was opportunity for a lot of continuation following the project,” Hu said. 

“It’s definitely not finished. We regarded the initial project as the start and it has led to other levels of different research. Winning the award opened up many opportunities. 

“There have been three further projects and two of them are actually very big. These two larger projects are in total worth about $3 million is value. It’s massive.”

As well as putting Hu and his team’s research on the map, the award-winning project also led to Hu’s current research fellowship and other professional opportunities. 

“Importantly, it led to my current fellowship. This is very important to me as it’s supporting me to continue to do the research in this area,” Hu said. 

“It has also led to some consulting projects too. I am an engineer, but previously my work has been all about research. After the award, people started contacting me about my work and asking me to help them with their particular problems.

“Although I don’t have a lot of time left to work with them, I do enjoy establishing a connection with engineers in the field. I feel so much closer to the water industry after winning the award.”

Hu said he would not hesitate in recommending researchers get involved by putting themselves and their teams forward for the award. 

“I have been actively encouraging others to put themselves and their projects forward for the award. I say, ‘Just go for it, you never know’,” Hu said.

“Three years ago when I started the project, if someone told me I’d win a national award, I would have thought it was a joke. But we were the first Queensland team to win the national award. You just never know, you have to give it a go and try.”

Interested in learning more about the latest research innovation in the Queensland water industry? The Queensland Gala Dinner and Awards Night is happening on 8 September. Click here to learn more.  
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