One Queensland researcher could deal a big blow to the 160-year-old needle and syringe.

University of Queensland's biomedical scientist Professor Mark Kendall has won the CSL Young Florey Medal for his pioneering work on needle-free vaccines.

Prof Kendall has spent 20 years developing nanopatch technology that can deliver vaccines through the upper layers of the skin.

“The nanopatch is a tiny piece of silicon with 20 thousand microscopic needles on one side, coated with a dry vaccine,” he said.

“When you apply the patch to the skin, that tough outer layer of the skin is breached and the vaccine is placed to thousands of cells in the skin.

“It gets wet in the cellular environment and within just a minute the vaccine has been delivered.”

Professor Kendall said the nanopatch works with all classes of vaccine, including influenza, malaria and cervical cancer.

The World Health Organisation is running a polio vaccine trial with the patch next year.

Among its many advantages, the nanopatch does not need refrigeration, so it can be mailed out for people to self-administer in the event of an emergency.

It is cheaper too, with estimates that producing nanopatch vaccines would cost about $0.50 per dose, as opposed to the near $50 it take to deliver an HPV vaccine.

“I want to make a difference and to be remembered as someone who at least contributed,” he said.