Sydney Research
Sydney Research - The Big Idea 2019

The Big Idea 2019

The Big Idea is a Sydney Research innovation and commercialisation challenge that provides pre-seed funding to recognise and progress very early stage ideas.

This includes the development of theories, methods, treatments, devices, technology and systems to optimise the design, conduct and outcomes of healthcare and health and medical research.


Support clinicians and researchers in launching or progressing ideas that have commercial value in healthcare.


  • support an idea that can be developed into a commercially viable package to transform healthcare or research
  • provide opportunities to gain exposure, support and mentoring through sponsors, industry and participating venture capitalists and investors

The Big Idea 2019

The Big Idea was on Thursday 27 June 2019, as part of the 2019 Sydney Innovation and Research Symposium.


Professor Steve Chadban – Deluxe Medical Chair

Big Idea: build a business class-level comfortable and functional chair for dialysis patients

Prize: $45,000 pre-seed funding plus $25,000 professional services from IDE Group

People on dialysis do it tough, with surveys consistently showing reduced quality of life compared to the general population. Professor Chadban and his team asked patients what aspect of dialysis causes them concern, and the chairs were a common response. They surveyed patients, dialysis nurses and doctors on what features they felt would make for a better chair, and collaborated with an industrial design firm and a chair manufacturer to achieve this.

The prize money plus the professional services will build a prototype and produce 100 chairs. The Deluxe Medical Chair has significant commercial potential both locally and internationally and beyond dialysis to oncology and infusion centres.

Professor Chadhan is the Director of Renal Medicine at Sydney Local Health District and Head of Kidney Node at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre.

People’s Choice Award

Dr Shaheen Hasmat – BLINC

Big Idea: Bionic Lid Implant for Natural Closure (BLINC) – implantable device to actively restore blinking

Prize: $5,000 pre-seed funding plus $5,000 professional services from IDE Group

Lack of blinking in facial palsy leads to corneal dryness and scarring and eventual blindness in the eye. Restoring blink remains the greatest challenge in facial reanimation surgery today. Patients are managed conservatively with indefinite use of lubricants and implanting weight into their top eyelid for assisted-closure. When this fails, the eyelids are stitched together permanently. This implantable device aims to recreate physiological blink using a wirelessly-powered, biocompatible actuator. BLINC will be a paradigm shift in the field of facial reanimation for effective restoration of blink.

Dr Shaheen Hasmat is a surgical resident at Westmead Hospital and PhD candidate at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse through the University of Sydney.

Previous winners

Find out more about the previous winners: