• Award winner: Dr Jane Oppenheim (right) receiving the Clunies Ross Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Hon Karen Andrews MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, at the annual Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering Innovation Dinner.
    Award winner: Dr Jane Oppenheim (right) receiving the Clunies Ross Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Hon Karen Andrews MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, at the annual Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering Innovation Dinner.
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Scientific and Operations director of Ego Pharmaceuticals, Dr Jane Oppenheim, has taken out the annual Clunies Ross Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

The award, organised by the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, recognised the leadership and innovation provided by Dr Oppenheim, which has seen an Ego manufacturing plant expand 10 times, creating valuable jobs and a significant export market.

Oppenheim leads the research and development of skin products, all based on strong science, that help resolve issues like skin tears and eczema. They include brands such as QV Skincare and SunSense sunscreen.

Exports now make up 50 per cent of the sales; demand for Ego’s products across 24 nations has grown by a compound average rate of 12 per cent over 30 years, laying the basis for continuous modernisation of manufacturing facilities, and the provision of hundreds of jobs in Australia.

Over the past decade, staff numbers in Melbourne have grown from 192 to 450, with another 157 marketing staff based overseas.

Academy President, Professor Hugh Bradlow FTSE, congratulated Dr Oppenheim. “The Clunies Ross Awards have been offered since 1991, recognising people who have applied outstanding technological achievements for the benefit of Australia.

“The nation’s future prosperity depends on embracing new technology to address critical national challenges.

“More than ever, we need knowledge creation, technology and innovation that can be harnessed to drive commercialisation and economic and social benefit.

“Dr Oppenheim has made a tremendous contribution – delivering skin products that change people’s lives and in the process creating export-based jobs,” he said.

Dr Oppenheim said she was honoured to be given a Clunies Ross Award. “My focus is on creating and manufacturing products that can treat and prevent skin problems.

“Use of our QV Skin Lotion twice daily reduces skin tears in residents of aged care home by up to 51 per cent – which is significant, given up to 40 per cent of residents can suffer tears, each of which costs $488 to treat.

“I am also proud of our work on improving eczema among children. Our QV Intensive Moisturiser reduces children’s hospital stays and gets them back to school and family faster.

“At Ego, we are constantly upgrading our production facilities so we can manufacture better products, more efficiently. Our next step is industry 4.0 – having all our machines connected and talking to each other,” she said.

Sir Ian Clunies Ross, born in 1899, was best known for his pioneering work in veterinary science. In 1949, he became Chairman of the newly renamed CSIRO.

The Clunies Ross Awards are administered by the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.

See a video of Dr Oppenheim talking about her work:

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