Global challenge to improve service delivery in Pilbara garners $5 million prize

Alexander ScottPilbara News
Medical Research Minister Stephen Dawson.
Camera IconMedical Research Minister Stephen Dawson. Credit: Pilbara News

A $5 million prize is on offer as part of the launch of a global challenge to improve health outcomes in the Pilbara and find new ways of health service delivery in the remote region.

Medical Research Minister Stephen Dawson announced the $5m Challenge on October 26 at the official opening of the AusBiotech conference.

The challenge aims to develop a technology solution, based on research, to improve health outcomes for people living in the Pilbara, a region which spans more than 500,000sqkm.

The WA Department of Health is leading the roll-out of the challenge on behalf of the State Government, with the project to be delivered in partnership by BHP, Rio Tinto Group and the Future Health and Medical Research Innovation Fund. Additional support is being provided by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

The challenge is looking for submissions from industry, the private sector, public sector agencies, universities, research institutes or collaborations from international organisations.

Mr Dawson said the contest was about improving the health of West Australians living in rural and remote areas to reduce disease and injury for the community and particularly for remote Aboriginal communities.

“We’re not calling for improvements, or incremental change. We need real change — we need world-leading innovation,” he said.

“We are looking for an outcome which harnesses new technology, deploys digital health to its full potential, and ensures all Western Australians can access the health services they need — and deserve.

He said the State Government hoped to tap into the greatest minds, companies and technological solutions from around the world.

Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel said it was an exciting and important initiative to support the communities across the Pilbara.

Future Health Research and Innovation Fund Council chair John Van Der Wielen the Challenge was a unique partnership between government and key industry leaders to make a real difference to the health outcomes of Pilbara residents.

“It will be incredibly exciting to see the kind of innovative solutions that emerge through the challenge and to discover the potential they have to improve health care outcomes for those living in regional and remote Western Australia and beyond,” he said.

The winner will need to demonstrate proof-of-concept against an outcomes-based framework and integrate solutions into existing models of healthcare delivery in the Pilbara.

The official launch of the challenge will be in December.

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