Three Year 12 graduates from Sydney Catholic Schools received seed funding through education initiative UpRising to develop their 2023 HSC Design and Technology major works.

The strategic partnership with the NSW Government, Institute of Technology Education (iTE), universities, and future-focused businesses aims to give senior Design and Technology students the entrepreneurial skills and support to turn their major works into viable commercial products, supporting the innovation ecosystem.

It was started by former Sydney Catholic Schools Technology and Applied Studies (TAS) teacher Richard Hainsworth in 2021, with 50 students from nine NSW government, Catholic and independent schools in the pilot.

Here UpRising’s 2023 seed funding recipients share the concepts behind their societal need-driven designs.

The projects

Eva Kolokotsas, Domremy College Five Dock

Mycelium coffee table

Domremy College Year 12 student Eva Kolokotsas with her HSC Design and Technology major project, a coffee table grown from mycelium.Eva grew a biodegradable coffee table after observing the amount of curb-side furniture around Sydney destined for landfill.

She discovered mycelium – mushroom fibres that can be harvested and heat treated to create a strong lightweight, sustainable building material – while researching sustainable packaging.

“There is a lot of waste of fast furniture,” she said. “I thought I could use mycelium to solve that need.”

Eva grew and harvested mycelium before mixing it with hemp hurd, water and other materials to produce her design, then baked it in an oven. 

“The heat kills off all the active mycelium, so I’m left with the raw material,” Eva said. “It doesn’t alter the size but it makes it much lighter. You can biodegrade it.”

Eva plans to study law at university next year. Through UpRising, a potential partnership with a North Sydney-based mushroom farmer is in the works to develop other mycelium products.

She said suggestions and mentoring from businesses affiliated with UpRising helped her to work through project challenges.

“I had so many experiences where I just kept growing mould but I kept changing my approach and I was successful.” – Eva Kolokotsas

Annabelle Mansour, Brigidine College Randwick

Swimwear that does not get wet

Annabelle Mansour with the swimwear she designed for her HSC Design and Technology major project.Annabelle designed aesthetically-pleasing waterproof swimwear to discourage the bacterial infections that can come from wet material’s prolonged contact with skin.

She tested about 20 fabrics, weighing them while wet and dry with a precision scale to assess their waterproof ability, before finding a 100 per cent recycled waterproof fabric for her women’s and children’s swimwear designs.

“When you come out of the water you are completely dry, the water just beads off the fabric,” – Annabelle Mansour

Annabelle plans to study commerce or business information systems at university. She said that Design and Technology provided a nice balance to her HSC study load which included Mathematics Extension 2. 

“I really enjoy the creativity aspect,” she said. “It felt like a nice time where I could just relax and sew.”

Anabelle said she appreciated the $300 funding toward her project and the mentoring, contacts and ideas she received through UpRising. She hopes to start a pop-up or business for her swimwear.

“UpRising was very useful when choosing prototype fabrics,” she said. “I’m excited to see where it can go.”

Ella Howard, Brigidine College Randwick
Dry-rescue water safety device

Ella Howard with the dry-rescue device she created for her HSC Design and Technology major project.Ella plans to pursue product design and commerce at university after successfully designing a compact water-rescue device for emergency services’ use.

The surfer’s Hydrolife Line is a flotation device that can be thrown from land to rescue people in distress in the water, made after consultation with local lifeguards and emergency services. Ella received $200 seed funding to support the idea.

“I discovered that emergency services are not trained to go in the water for rescue and they don’t have a product to save someone from land that is suitable for their use,” Ella said.

Ella said it was important her design be compact, affordable, all-weather and waterproof and could be used quickly in a range of scenarios.

“Drowning happens within 30 seconds to a minute, and swallowing so much water can cause long-term damage,” she said.

“It is very important that they are rescued and their head is above water as soon as possible so there is less harm or injury.”

Ella said she loved the design process and was keen to pursue product design at university.

“I love the creativity within it,’ Ella said. “It opens your mind because to get to a sophisticated design you have to think about so many different factors.

“In Year 12 we put in all this effort to create these products.

“For them to end up in storerooms is really a shame because there are a lot of ideas that are trying to meet a genuine need in society.” – Ella Howard

“It would be amazing to get them on the market.”