Australian finalist in international science communication prize

July 08, 2021

The successful Australian video entry about Project Gilghi details an initiative to supply remote communities with energy-efficient, transportable water purifying treatment plants.

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A video detailing ground-breaking work to supply remote communities in Australia with fresh drinking water is a finalist in an international competition aimed at inspiring a new generation of technologists and engineers, by showing the impact engineering has on our lives.

The International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS) has established two annual Communication Prizes to encourage those in STEM to think more about engaging with the public about the significance of their work, and to inspire students to consider career paths in those fields.

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) is a founding member of CAETS and was tasked with judging the Australian entries and choosing a finalist to compete against those from other countries.

The successful Australian video entry about Project Gilghi, submitted by Aurecon CEO William Cox FTSE, details an initiative to supply remote communities with energy-efficient, transportable water purifying treatment plants.

Project Gilghi is a solar-powered water treatment plant that can fit into a shipping container, so it can be easily transported, set up and be operational within just two to three days. The project is guaranteeing long-term water sustainability for remote areas and ensures long-term water security as well as a range of environmental and water resource benefits for Indigenous communities.

ATSE President Hugh Bradlow congratulated Mr Cox, saying it’s a successful engineering story that deserves international recognition.

“Australia’s technologists and engineers are doing incredible, innovative work, but this is sometimes poorly understood because it has not been explained in terms everyone can understand,” he said.

“The Aurecon entry clearly articulated how technology and engineering is making a positive impact on these communities and solving real-world problems.”

Mr Cox expressed excitement over the new milestone Aurecon and Project Gilghi have achieved.

“We are honoured to be representing Australia in the prestigious CAETS Communication Prizes,” he said.

“Beyond an engineering success story, Project Gilghi is a story of renewing hope and uplifting equality for the remote Indigenous community of Gillen Bore by providing them with access to safe, sustainable drinking water. Together with our partner Ampcontrol, our hope for Project Gilghi is to be a catalyst that would bridge the water inequality gap on remote communities not only in Australia, but across the globe.”

Launched in 2019, Project Gilghi is not only providing the community of Gillen Bore in the Northern Territory with clean drinking water, it is also presenting employment opportunities with a training program developed for local Indigenous people to operate and maintain the unit in an ongoing capacity. Ultimately, this has facilitated community ownership over the water supply.

With its significant social impact, Project Gilghi has also been recognised by professional industry organisations in and outside Australia in 2020 such as the Australian Financial Review for Best Social Impact Innovation, Australian Water Association for Infrastructure Project Innovation, Good Design Awards for Social Impact, and Institution of Civil Engineers UK Chris Binnie Award for Sustainable Water Management among others.

The Aurecon entry can be viewed here: Australian finalist in international science prize | ATSE

The winners of the CAETS Communications Prizes will be announced on 19 September in Buenos Aires.

First published by The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering

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