Award for Innovation



Background Prize Criteria Judging
Past winners Eligibility/Conditions Annual timeframe How to nominate



The Award for Innovation, sponsored by ETS TOEFL, showcases organisations within ELICOS that support their staff in demonstrating original and creative problem solving initiatives in response to challenges faced. It is designed to celebrate new ideas and innovative approaches to any aspect of ELICOS delivery.

The Award recognizes that there are two key elements underpinning innovation: individuals and/or teams that develop initiatives to address challenges in ELICOS, and organisations that have a culture of support for these initiatives. The Award recognises both of these elements.

Previous winners of the Award can apply (but cannot nominate initiatives that have already won an English Australia award).


What is innovation?

Innovation is the action required to create new ideas, processes or products which when implemented, lead to positive change. Innovation creates new value for your language centre.

Innovation does not have to be the ‘next big idea’. It can start small. Everyone can look around and see problems that are waiting to be solved. It could be using new offerings, new business models, new services. The key is: does your innovation make a positive difference?

Ideas for innovation often come from your students. There may be issues that need to be solved to make their experience more interesting or enjoyable.

Innovation takes many forms, both large and small. It may be evolutionary or revolutionary. Its outcomes must improve the quality and value of your college offerings. It can be a product, a service or an approach that addresses an identified student need or improves the student experience. Examples are:

Course design
A program of study, including those using a variety of media.

Learner resources
A product or service focussed on assisting or supporting English language learners.

Teacher resources
A product or service for teachers, including an approach to training and development.

Digital technology
A digital product or service that enhances learning through the use of technology.

A product or service that enhances the operation of your college for both teachers and students.


Watch video : "What is innovation" looking at a case study of the Innovation Award winning nomination by Griffith English Language Centre in 2016.

Watch webinar: "Innovation Conversation" - a conversation between Katherine Olston, Centre for English Teaching, the University of Sydney, winners of the 2017 Innovation Award, and Catherine Moore from  ETS TOEFL.

What do you need to succeed with your innovation?


  • a realistic understanding of the challenges faced
  • practical and persistent problem solving skills
  • intelligent application of resources
  • an ability to take a calculated gamble
  • an organisational culture which values staff ideas.

 Click here to read about some of the innovations that have won past awards.



The winning individual/team receives up to $1,500 to cover costs of sending one or more representatives to the English Australia Conference to accept the award at the English Australia Conference gala awards dinner, to be held on 21 September 2017 in Adelaide. They will also receive a framed certificate and will be able to use the award logo in their email signature. The winning institution receives an engraved wall plaque and will be able to use the award logo on its promotional materials.

The winning organisation and individual/team will be profiled on the English Australia and ETS TOEFL websites. 

All nominees receive a Certificate of Nomination from English Australia.



The winning organisation is able to demonstrate an innovative approach they have taken to addressing a specific need /issue or to demonstrate how they have taken the lead in developing innovative products and / or services that will improve the student experience and keep their organisation at the forefront of ELICOS delivery.

Submissions should include a description of the nature of the innovation and give a rationale for the new approach and an account of how it was piloted and put into practice, together with the results of the innovation and the added value in comparison with previous practice.

Products and services in the following areas are eligible to be considered: 

  • innovative marketing approaches;
  • innovative approaches to delivering student support services;
  • innovative approaches to providing student induction / orientation
  • innovative new courses / products;
  • innovative teaching materials;
  • innovative self-study materials;
  • innovative approaches to assessment;
  • innovative approaches to helping learners develop their language skills outside the classroom;
  • innovative approaches to helping learners engage with Australians;
  • innovative approaches to helping learners get the most out of their time in Australia.

Submissions should demonstrate to the judging panel how the approach/product/service nominated meets the following criteria: 

  • addresses an identified area of student need;   
  • demonstrates original and creative thinking;    
  • has improved the student experience; and
  • has the potential for wider impact on ELICOS.



The winner is selected by a panel comprising the English Australia Executive Director, a representative of ETS TOEFL and an industry expert.


Past winners

2017 - Centre for English Teaching, the University of Sydney for its Academic Skills for University Success series of five MOOCs

2016 - Griffith English Language Institute (Dr Pamela Humphreys, Jacqui Ning & John Smith), QLD, for its HELP Yourself Resources

Highly commended: Ability English, Sydney, NSW for its Pronunciation and Fluency Course

2015 - Macquarie University English Language Centre, NSW, for their Book Club Café

Highly commended: Centre for English Teaching, University of Sydney, NSW, for their ‘University Heroes’ App; and Macquarie University English Language Centre, NSW, for their Framework to support Independent Learning

2014 - English Language and Foundation Studies Centre, The University of Newcastle, NSW for their Student Experience Program

Highly commended: Centre for English Teaching, University of Sydney for their exam preparation course; and QUT College for their student welfare programs

2013 - The University of Tasmania, English Language Centre, Launceston, TAS for a syllabus for a maritime English course

2012 - Griffith English Language Institute (GELI), QLD, for their online ILC

2011 - Ability English for their English pathway curricula to meet the needs of students with different learning styles

2010 - Embassy CES for their project to maximise student engagement in the language learning process through the use of learning technology, allowing for a more spontaneous, flexible and personalised learning experience.

Click here for details of past winners' initiatives.



The Award is open to any organisation registered on CRICOS to deliver ELICOS. The product and/or service developed by the institution and proposed for nomination was implemented within the previous calendar year.

The nomination for the Award must be supported by the principal administrator of that organisation.

Current members of the English Australia Board and employees of English Australia are not eligible, however staff working for colleges represented by English Australia Board members may apply.

Winners of other English Australia awards are welcome to apply for this award.  Previous winners of this award are eligible to apply for this award however cannot nominate projects or initiatives that have already won an English Australia Award.


Annual timeframe

Nominations open (April)

Nominations close (June)

Winner selected and informed (end of July)

Award presented (English Australia Conference 2018 in Sydney, NSW)


How to nominate

To nominate for this award, complete the application form and supporting information.

Nominations must be received by COB on Tues 5 June, 2018. Please email them to the PD Manager at English Australia: 


Questions?  Contact Sophie O'Keefe at


English Australia thanks    for its ongoing support of this Award.