Science on the Swan 2022 – Creating Impact through Healthcare Innovation and Commercialisation

Science on the Swan (SOTS) 2022 has successfully concluded after three days of inspirational talks, shared learnings and useful networking around the theme of Creating Impact through Healthcare Innovation and Commercialisation. Officially opened by Minister Stephen Dawson, this was the seventh SOTS conference hosted by the Western Australian Health Translation Network.

During the opening speech, Minister Stephen Dawson also shared exciting news for the WA Health and Medical sector as he announced the collaboration between Texas Medical Center (TMC), the largest medical city in the world, and Biodesign Australia, which is administered by The University of Western Australia. This partnership is a huge step in strengthening the State’s health and medical science sector promoting research, innovation and commercialisation resulting in greater investment, more local jobs and ultimately, improvements in health and wellbeing. He further announced that WA will be hosting TMC at the AusBiotech Conference 2022 which is being held in Perth in October this year.

Over three days, we saw more than 60 presentations from researchers and clinicians across a wide range of expertise, along with panel discussions, posters and many networking opportunities. The program covered a diverse range of topics including opportunities and challenges faced by WA innovators; patent and commercialisation frameworks; consumer and community involvement in innovation, as well as insightful discussions on how we could work together as a sector to enable optimisation of healthcare environment in WA. Additionally, the SOTS conference brought us international biomedical innovations with guest speakers including Dr Eyal Zimlichman, MD (Sheba Medical Centre, Israel), Dr Kate Hilyard (UK Vaccine Taskforce) and Prof Michael Wallach (SPARK Oceania).

The keynote speaker for SOTS 2022 was one of our very own WA stars, Dr Craig Challen, 2019 Australian of the Year who shared an inspiring story on how he and Dr Richard Harris led an international crew to save a soccer team of twelve boys and their coach in the 2018 Thai Cave Rescue. We were also delighted to welcome Dr Ruben Meerman, the surfing scientist, who shared his fascinating discovery on the periodic table and how breathing helps lose weight.

Overall, it was a successful event and really highlighted the critical role of WAHTN as we brought together WA’s universities, medical research institutes, public and private hospitals, and the WA Department of Health, to embrace and accelerate research translation. Congratulations and thank you to everyone who presented, supported and attended the Science on the Swan 2022 Conference.

CCIProgram Highlights from the SOTS Conference


“The “SOTS” conference was totally inspiring. So tempting to come away with thoughts of wanting to be a scientist, understanding words such as  “scoping”, “proof of concept” to name but a few. As a retired nurse/midwife using my lived experience in the role of Consumer advocate and sharing through various networks to me it reaffirmed the value and necessity of consumer involvement.  There is no doubt we need commercialisation and innovation in the health arena whilst ensuring consumers are inclusive and able to apply their lived experience guiding awareness and direction for relevant research and evidence based medicine.”
– Robyn Wright (CCIProgram Consumer Representative)
“The absolute highlight of the conference was listening to Dr Craig Challen talk about how he and Dr Richard Harris led an international team to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from the flooded Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai, Thailand. This was the ultimate case study in on-the-spot innovation and implementation of techniques not previously trialled by brilliant people with one sole purpose – to save those trapped in the cave. It was always unclear as to whether the plan would work but without trying something, the children and their coach would have died.
I would like to thank the CCIProgram for making my attendance at this conference possible.”
– Dr. Nicholas Forgione (CCIProgram Consumer Representative)