A starfish-destroying robot is a finalist in this year's Eureka Prizes

Alfred Manta Feeding, by Gary Cranitch, Queensland Museum. Finalist New Scientist Eureka Prize for Science Photography

Scientists using a robot to hunt down and destroy crown-of-thorns starfish and medical researchers growing a kidney in a test tube are among finalists in the 2016 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes for Science announced today.

A contender for the environmental science prize is QUT Environmental Robotics, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision.

The robotics team developed, COTSBot, the first autonomous underwater vehicle to be equipped with an injection system.

The robot seeks out and injects the starfish with a lethal liquid.

Crown-of-thorns starfish are responsible for an estimated 40% of the Great Barrier Reef’s decline in coral cover.

Robot starfish hunter. Image: QUT

Finalists for the UNSW Eureka Prize for Scientific Research include Professor Melissa Little and Dr Minoru Takasato at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.

They recreated human kidney tissue from stem cells, opening the door to disease modelling, drug screening and ultimately replacement organs.

Kidney disease affects one in 10 Australians, with kidney failure increasing at 6% a year.

A full list of the 2016 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes finalists is HERE.

The winners are announced August 31 at an award dinner.

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