Thursday, 29 October 2020
National Aeronautics and Space Administration: iTech, Grafton Bridge
I'd like to recognise three Southern Cross University scientists for placing first in NASA's global iTech competition. Dr Craig, Dr Rosic and their business partner, Gerard Criss, have developed groundbreaking Australian wound-healing technology. The Rapid Repair wound-dressing product is a thick black silicon strip. It is placed over a wound and can repair wounds in days rather than weeks. It acts as a fine virtual skin scaffold into damaged skin, reducing the need for stitches, staples and glue in many clinical situations. Dr Craig first tested the product on herself when she suffered an accidental cut several years ago, and saw a remarkable improvement in the result. Last year the first clinical trial of 30 people was completed, and the team is preparing for the second trial to begin this month in partnership with the University of Queensland.
The NASA competition went over two days of pitching and interviews over video calls with a panel of NASA's chief technology officers and investors in the United States. Dr Craig said:
We are thrilled with this outcome from the competition. It's very powerful not only in validating the science from the clinical trials, but also validating our plan to commercialise this product in 2021.
NASA has requested us to send a sample to the International Space Station for astronauts to test in micro and zero gravity. And … our technology could on the mission where the first female astronaut walks on the moon in 2024.
We … are looking to trial the dressing with the Australian Antarctic Division, where the extreme polar conditions create a testing ground for situations in space.
Congratulations to you all, and I wish you all the very best in the trials and testing of this groundbreaking technology.
The old Grafton Bridge is an iconic landmark in our community. The 88-year-old, 70-metre, double-deck road and rail bridge is the only one of its kind in New South Wales. It spans the mighty Clarence River and joins Grafton and South Grafton. It opened in 1932—in fact, the same year as the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Our very own bendy bridge, as it's known, has two levels. The upper level is used to carry general street traffic, while the lower level is used as a rail bridge. There are also two pedestrian footpaths. It also supports the water main. The bridge was an amazing engineering feat in its time. The bend in the bridge ensures the train tracks and the road diverge when connecting to the bank. It also has a drawbridge, which was in operation from its opening in 1932 until 1969.
The Grafton bridge was placed under heritage listing in April 1999. The bridge is assessed as historically, scientifically and socially rare. So while it's wonderful to see the great new Grafton bridge—I acknowledge my state colleague Chris Gulaptis for that—our very own bendy bridge will continue to have a place in our hearts and is still very important for both train and local traffic.