As a fearless leader inspiring innovation, Professor Karen Reynolds has been recognised for her achievements fostering collaborations between research, industry and government as a finalist in the Advertiser-Sunday Mail Woman of the Year Awards Innovator category, ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8.

Fresh from having led her team to a win for Excellence in Science and Industry Collaboration at the South Australian Government 2020 SA Science Excellence and Innovation Awards last week for the Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP), the Woman of the Year nomination highlights Professor Reynolds’ outstanding drive and leadership – especially in harnessing Flinders University’s advanced research facilities and expertise to test personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Professor Reynolds’ leadership qualities were immeasurable in establishing the South Australian Mask Testing Facility at Tonsley with the support of the SA Government, and then extending the facility’s testing capacity to include surgical gowns.

Her role leading the MDPP also continues, with some 633 companies and entrepreneurs having received support since its launch in 2008.

It’s an honour to be a finalist amongst so many inspiring women – all of whom have made a significant difference – particularly through the challenges we have faced in 2020,” says Professor Reynolds.

“I’m honoured to be recognised for supporting South Australian innovators translating ideas to products that improve the care of patients and protect our frontline staff responding to the pandemic in 2020.”

Recent examples of MDPP receiving national recognition include a braces mouthguard for young athletes playing contact sports on Channel 9 Adelaide and a feature article on the growth of the MedTech sector benefiting investment and jobs.

Flinders University alumni Kali Graham and Alana Giaccio are also on the shortlist of finalists for the Advertiser-Sunday Mail Woman of the Year Awards in the respective categories of community champion and inspiration.

The full list of Flinders-affiliated nominees includes:

  • Rikki Cooke(BBehavSc(Psych) ’14, MSW ’17) – Treasure Boxes
  • Meg Clothier (BHlthSc,MOccTherapy ’18) – Two Young Nomads
  • Alana Giaccio (GradCertDisSt ‘20) – All Abilities Cheer and Dance
  • Kali Graham (BParamedicSc ’18) – Whyalla paramedic
  • Eloise Hall (Current Business Student) – TAB OO social business enterprise
  • Wendy Johnson (BA ’80, MEdAdmin ’92) – Glenunga International High School
  • Professor Karen Reynolds (GradCertTertEd ’98) – Staff member and Graduate
  • Professor Nicola Spurrier – Academic Status, College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University

The Advertiser-Sunday Mail Woman of the Year winners will be announced on Thursday night at a gala ceremony at SkyCity Adelaide.