BRIEF – 15 JULY 2009 – The RMIT Design Research Institute has appointed a panel of experts to judge a design challenge to develop creative solutions to extreme bushfire events.

The 2009 Design Challenge will award a $25,000 research and development grant to the best bushfire design idea.

RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, will join the Victorian Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Innovation, Gavin Jennings, on the jury.

Mr Jennings said the challenge provided a fantastic opportunity to bring Victoria’s research, industry and community sectors together to find collaborative solutions to one of Australia’s biggest challenges.

“Through the use of intelligent and creative designs that embrace new systems, products, materials and technologies, these innovative proposals will hopefully offer us outcomes to help deal with extreme bushfires in the future.”

Other members of the 2009 Design Challenge jury are Jenny Bonnin (City Director, Clinton Climate Change Initiative), Naomi Brown (CEO, Australian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council), Brandon Gien (Executive Director, Australian International Design Awards and General Manager, Corporate Services, Standards Australia), Justin Leonard (Research Scientist, CSIRO) and Tim Shannon (Managing Director, Hassell).

More than 75 researchers, industry and community experts have collaborated in transdisciplinary teams and will present their ideas to the jury and the public at a free event on Friday, 24 July, as part of the 2009 State of Design Festival.

The Design for Fire: Challenge Pitch will be followed by a free public forum exploring the many challenges of designing for fire. See our What’s On section for more details.