Sunshine Coast data hackers turn the innovation tide at GovHack Awards
  • Thursday 25 October 2018

The Sunshine Coast’s best creative masterminds have taken out three major prizes in the State Awards for the nationwide GovHack competition.

On topics as diverse as “smart” litter to leveraging ocean currents to produce power, 17 Sunshine Coast teams made use of new Open Data from a range Queensland and Local Government agencies to create real solutions to real problems impacting the public.

The winning Sunshine Coast teams were:

  • Youth team The RoboRoyals, with their idea Trash Talk, took out the Sunshine Coast Community Challenge and the Most Commercially Viable Product Challenge for identifying the health and clean-up costs associated with litter and providing a smart tech litter unit solution, which builds on existing infrastructure.
  • The I'm Learning team, with their idea Academic Connect, won the Sunshine Coast Commercialisation Challenge for their solution of linking industry with academia to stimulate more real-world relevant honours projects.
  • Noosa Hydro won the Sunshine Coast Sustainability Challenge for its ocean current electricity generator proposal to power all of Noosa.

Sunshine Coast Council’s Economic Development and Innovation Portfolio Councillor Steve Robinson said the competition continued to deliver some amazing results.

“GovHack provides the perfect opportunity for Government agencies, students and industry to collaborate and develop solutions for this data driven world,” Cr Robinson said.

“It’s a fantastic example of how sharing data can turn into great ideas and outcomes for our region and community,” “Seeing what groups can develop within a 48-hour period is beyond impressive.

“It’s an exciting time for technology and innovation on the Sunshine Coast.

“The program also supports the growth of the high-value knowledge industries and professional services in our region as identified in the Regional Economic Development Strategy.”

Regional Innovation Manager Coby Sullivan from the Sunshine Coast Regional Innovation Pipeline Team (SCRIPT) said GovHack was an excellent initiative.

“We felt it was vital to support this event as our partners Sunshine Coast Council, Noosa Council, Peregian Tech Hub and the University of Sunshine Coast (USC) all work together to help enable data hacking activity and support new skills development,” said Mr Sullivan,

“It provides a chance for government agencies, students and industry innovators to come together in a supportive and fun environment and make great use of new open Government data for some pretty incredible outcomes.” 

What started in 2012 as a small local event, today has more than 3000 participants across Australia data hacking over a 46-hour intensive weekend.

GovHack celebrates technical and creative capacity, opens doors to collaboration with governments, and helps advance the use of open data to drive social and economic value.

This year saw an increase in youth participants on the Sunshine Coast.

Among the new entrants were the RoboGems and RoboKings from Chancellor State College and a competitor who was just 11-years-old.

USC had 50 students participating to explore science data on disaster preparedness, sustainability, litter and traffic challenges with Academic Connect winning for the Sunshine Coast Commercialisation Challenge alongside seven honourable mentions for Sunshine Coast Teams.

“The benefit of working on ‘real-world’ problems and having exposure to ‘messy’ data was something quite a few students told me was really beneficial for them,” Dr Helen Fairweather, Discipline Leader Engineering USC said.

“One of the youth competitors has also been offered work experience with one of the major sponsors Aurion which is a fantastic outcome to hear coming from the event.”

If you are interested in getting involved in events like GovHack, take a look at the events calendar to see the upcoming activities.

For more details on events and programs like GovHack visit the event page on the Sunshine Coast Regional Innovation Program Team (SCRIPT) website.

To find out more about entrepreneurship and innovation visit



Sunshine Coast Council is a key partner in the Sunshine Coast Regional Innovation Program Team (SCRIPT), a collaboration formed after gaining Advance Queensland Regional Innovation funding. A number of Sunshine Coast organisations collectively matched this funding to create the three year program of over $1 million to develop innovation and entrepreneurial activities in the Sunshine Coast region.

About the winners - Queensland State

Most Commercially Viable Project.

WINNER: TrashTalk  - a Sunshine Coast based team 'Robo Royals' of Chancellor State College.

Honourable Mentions also went to these Sunshine Coast teams as below:

Queensland State - Sunshine Coast Themed Challenges awards

Sunshine Coast Commercialisation Category

Winner: Academic Connect -  a Sunshine Coast based team

Honorable Mention: Failacorn. - a Sunshine Coast based team The Academic Connect team used 2018 intellectual property data and OECD innovation data to bring together businesses and academia so that honours projects reflect the innovation needs of industry.

Sunshine Coast Sustainability Category

Winner: Noosa Hydro - a Sunshine Coast based team

Honourable Mention: Smart Ways to Live  a non- Sunshine Coast based team. Using data on the East Australian Current, Noosa’s electricity consumption and population (just like Finding Nemo..) the Noosa Hydro team proved that it was possible to power that region entirely from current ocean electricity mega generator technology with 4000M anchored from shorter storm-tolerant barges 100KM offshore from Noosa Heads.  

Sunshine Coast Community Category

Winner: Trash Talk By RoboRoyals, Chancellor State College -  a Sunshine Coast based team

Honorable Mentions: Get Active and Weather Wizard -  Sunshine Coast based teams. With access to ARHW, Queensland Government and Sunshine Coast Government data, this group identified the health and clean up costs associated with litter and invent a smart tech disposal unit solution designed to build on existing technology with more live data and features to address the ‘needed cultural change’ to lead us into an ‘advanced, pristine and sustainable future’.