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Government WA

Government of Western Australia media statement – Medical Research Minister Stephen Dawson

Impressive new healthcare tech to be trialled in the Pilbara 3 mins read
  • Ten finalists selected in Cook Government’s $5 million competition ‘The Challenge’
  • Exciting new innovations to be trialled for 12 months in the Pilbara
  • Digital solutions for healthcare to benefit the community into the future


Ten high-tech digital solutions have been selected from almost 100 global submissions in a worldwide search to help improve the delivery of healthcare in Western Australia’s vast Pilbara region.


In October last year, the State Government issued a $5 million global challenge to researchers, calling for world-leading medical research and innovation solutions to improve health service delivery in the Pilbara.


The ten finalists were chosen following two stages of judging from experts and stakeholders on the ground in the North West. The group presented a wide range of ideas which leverage technology to help different groups within the Pilbara community.


The high-quality innovations include a first-of-its-kind microneedle patch to help screen for skin cancers, cameras with integrated AI which aid in screening for eye disease, and digital imaging which “understands” people’s health needs in a virtual world using 3D goggles.


Another finalist has designed a solution to help close communication gaps between Aboriginal community members and healthcare workers. New technology is being combined with ancient wisdom, adapting artificial intelligence to speak to patients in their traditional language, as well as ‘digital yarning’, using computer integration developed by the CSIRO for sharing medical records.

For the full list of finalists click here: The Challenge – Finalists

For vision of the finalists’ submissions click here:


BHP Group Limited, Rio Tinto and the Future Health Research and Innovation Fund have partnered to deliver the $5 million prize, which will be announced in October 2024.


Each of the ten finalists have been awarded $200,000 to imbed their concept in the Pilbara for 12 months to prove it works. The group will partner with key health stakeholders in the region, to help them understand the unique landscape, population, and local health needs, and develop culturally appropriate applications.


For more information, visit:


Comments attributed to Medical Research Minister Stephen Dawson: 


“The global attention the Challenge has attracted has put Western Australia in the spotlight as a leader in medical research.  


“All ten finalists are from Australia, and eight originate from WA, proving we breed innovative thinkers and support entry level ideas.


“It's also great to see some of the major scientific agencies step up to The Challenge, with CSIRO, Telstra Health, Curtin University and the University of Western Australia among the finalists.


“I wish all ten finalists the best of luck as they embark on the next chapter of the competition – proving their concept works over 12 months.”


Comments attributed to Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel:


“The Pilbara is a vast and varied region, which presents unique challenges for the provision of healthcare.


“I’m so impressed by the level of talent on display in these finalists. Each idea has the potential to change lives, not only in the Pilbara, but in the wider community.


“Making sure these projects are culturally appropriate and work on the ground in the Pilbara is key, which is why I’m excited to see how these ideas evolve during the proof-of-concept phase.”


Comments attributed to BHP Asset President Western Australia Iron Ore, Brandon Craig:


“Congratulations to all the incredible finalists. It is fantastic to see the breadth of talent when it comes to innovative thinking in Australia.


“BHP has proudly supported health and wellbeing initiatives in the Pilbara for more than five decades, and we are excited to see these concepts come to life over the next 12 months and beyond.


“Improved access to high-quality healthcare for people living in remote and regional WA communities will be a great outcome and something that we are very pleased to support.”


Comments attributed to Rio Tinto Vice President, Health, Safety, Environment and Communities, Cecile Thaxter:


“Technology and innovation have been central to our journey in the Pilbara over the past 50 years, helping us find better ways of providing the materials the world needs. 


“It’s exciting to see the technology and innovations developed by these finalists that have the potential to make a real difference for healthcare in the Pilbara, including on-country health solutions.


“We are proud to partner with the State Government to support these finalists and look forward to seeing how these great ideas grow over the coming 12 months.”


Media contact: Claire Dearle 0408 173 745 or 6552 5800


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