Bombora Wave Power & iPREP WA
When Bombora Wave Power needed additional expertise to transition their vision of producing power from the sea into a reality, they turned to WA universities. The Perth-based start-up signed up for iPREP WA, a unique program which links PhD students with industry partners to solve real world problems.
iPREP WA was developed by Edith Cowan University in collaboration with all other WA universities to allow PhD students the opportunity to work on a six-week project during their thesis examination period. In exchange for a small sponsorship fee, industry partners obtain a strong return on investment by saving on consultancy fees and staff time whilst receiving expert advice, innovative and evidence based solutions to their business problems.
ECU PhD candidate Gary Allwood worked with Bombora Wave Power on a way to monitor the performance and structural health monitoring of the membrane used to transform the energy from the wave to the air circuit.
Bombora executive Director Shawn Ryan said iPrep was a fantastic way for business to tap into the expertise available at universities.
“We are about taking research and turning it into a business and then hopefully into a whole industry, and iPREP is helping us do just that. Because our technology is world-first, there isn’t the data out there on failure rates and overall performance that we need,” Shawn said.
Bombora needed to look at new ways to measure and gain a greater understanding of the performance of the materials used in the laboratory and then in real world conditions.
Mr Ryan calculated that Bombora received more than $100,000 worth of consulting hours through the project.
ECU Graduate Research School Dean Professor Joe Luca said collaboration between universities and business was vital to foster and support innovation.
“Given that less than 40 per cent of PhD graduates end up working in academic careers, it is important that PhD graduates develop skills relevant to business,” Professor Joe Luca said.
Other companies who have been involved in iPREP include software developers CingleVue, Fortescue Metals Group and Advantage Air.
With continued support from the West Australian government and universities the iPREPWA program will be running 3 rounds in 2016.
To find out more about Bombara Wave Power or if you are a PhD candidate or know someone who would benefit from the iPrep program please contact THE LINK team on: [email protected] or telephone 0863042867.