On Wednesday May 28, we had a closed video session with Professor Fiona Wood organised in collaboration with the WA Innovation Hub and the iThink team – we were able to visit two operating theatres at Fiona Stanley Hospital – one that was set up to be COVID-19 ready – a small group of students got some great insights into the issues and started to see the complexity of systems that are at play – surfaces, materials science, physics, chemistry, mathematics, laminar air flow systems, smart textiles, intelligent scalpels, workflow systems, procedural elements, prophylaxis, and a lot more were all touched upon in the one hour personally guided tour by Dr Wood.

Students had the opportunity to ask questions and clarify – and left with an open invitation to email any queries directly to her.

The session was recorded and will be made available for other challenge groups to engage with as soon as possible.


Currently, the major innovation in minimising the effects of aerosol viral contamination in hospital operating theatres is the use of plastic bags to cover equipment – presenting many issues around time, efficacy, sustainability, etc – Fiona invited the students (and now you and your students) to identify possible solution pathways to better protection, disinfection and containment within the world’s hospitals.

Fiona also threw out a bonus challenge to design a table that would let her work more safely and effectively with burns patients to enable ready access to all sides of the body during surgery.


You and your students are now invited to engage with the video and the challenge statements that have been prepared and presented via iThink, and apply your best design-thinking to help suggest solutions to the challenges Professor Wood has outlined.  All submissions should be in the form of a comprehensive report (see rubric), and a 3 minute video.

The WAIH have provided a worksheet to kickstart the process – STEM4Innovation will support you with additional resources:

Deadline:  END OF TERM TWO 2020 (for inclusion in the pitch program but extended engagement can still be recorded and eligible for student recognition)


  1. Post your ideas to the iThink Platform – and make sure you vote for the ideas you think are best (you can’t vote for your own idea) – early ideation and brainstorm ideas are encouraged;
  2. Completion of a Technical Innovation Plan for your solution (check the rubric for requirements)
  3. Completion of the 3-minute video summary
  4. Submission of these two elements (Innovation Plan and Video) via the submission form

Each solution proposal should also be able to point to a video summation on your preferred public platform.  All projects will be referenced and linked from the STEM4Innovation website.

Completion of these steps will allow the student project to be considered for a pitch spot, and this also provides eligibility to apply for SHAPE Awards.

If selected for the pitch you’ll also need to prepare:

Pitch requirements:

  • 3 minutes max presentation time
  • Not every team member needs to speak
  • Visuals may be used to support the pitch
  • A one-page summary should be made available prior to the pitch with space for notes

We’ll review all solutions submitted and 10-15 will be invited to join a pitch session at John Curtin College of the Arts (or virtually if isolation protocols become necessary again).

Every student involved with a submission will be recognised, and become eligible to apply for Curtin University’s SHAPE Award.  Submissions need to be completed in accordance with the Innovative Solutions Report Rubric.


We have deployed a Curtin Challenge Pathway to scaffold student progress through all the requirements of the solution design process.

Another useful resource that isn’t always obvious to users is our catalogue of Hints and Tips that are aligned with each artefact and deliverable within the Challenge.

They are all available here: – use the deliverables drop down on the page to identify a resource specific to the stage you’re working on.  There are well over a 100 expanded explanations, examples and other insights that can be applied to the work in the Challenge.

Please contact Kim Flintoff to enquire about access (no costs involved).

This is not a competition; it’s a collaborative effort to enable young people and their learning to assist with the ongoing response to and recovery from the effects of COVID-19, and other challenges we all face in developing a sustainable future, responsible industries, and other equitable economic, social and environmental goals. Students retain ownership of copyright and intellectual property of the materials they create but grant the STEM4Innovation initiative permission to display and share materials with appropriate attribution. 

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