Academy of Science awards scientific excellence

The Australian Academy of Science has revealed the 2014 winners of its prestigious annual awards for scientific excellence. 

Honorific awards are presented to career researchers for life-long achievements and to outstanding early-career researchers under the age of 40. The academy also gives a number of awards for research and travel support.

“It is the academy’s privilege to recognise excellence in diverse fields of science,” said Academy President, Professor Suzanne Cory. “These awards celebrate both career-long contributions by some of Australia’s most distinguished researchers and remarkable discoveries made by younger investigators. Each recipient is an outstanding scientist.”

Most of the winners will receive their awards at the academy’s annual conference, Science at the Shine Dome, to be held in Canberra at the end of May, where they will be invited to make short presentations of their work.

Here’s a list of the winners:

2014 Career research awards

  • Professor Jerry Adams from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research received the Macfarlane Burnet Medal and Lecture for scientific research of the highest standing in the biological sciences.
  • Emeritus Professor Curt Wentrup from the University of Queensland was awarded the David Craig Medal for research in chemistry.
  • Dr Neil Williams, formerly of Geoscience Australia, was given the Haddon Forrester King Medal in earth and related sciences.
  • Dr Gavin Young from the Australian National University (ANU) received the Mawson Medal and Lecture for earth sciences in Australia.
  • Professor Min Gu, based at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, received the Ian Wark Medal and Lecture for his contribution to the prosperity of Australia through scientific research in microphotonics.

2014 Early-career research awards

The early-career achievements of eight researchers conducting research in veterinary science, geoscience, mathematics, medical science, physics and chemistry were recognised.

  • Professor Katherine Belov from the University of Sydney was awarded the Fenner Medal for research in biology (excluding the biomedical sciences).
  • Dr Kieran Harvey, based at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, was awarded the Gottschalk Medal for research in the medical sciences.
  • Dr Maria Seton at the University of Sydney received the Dorothy Hill Award for female researchers in the earth sciences including reef science, ocean drilling, marine science and taxonomy in marine systems.
  • Associate Professor Richard Payne from the University of Sydney received the Le Fèvre Memorial Prize for research in basic chemistry.
  • Dr Julie Arblaster with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology received the Anton Hales Medal for research in earth sciences.
  • Associate Professor David Warton at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) received the Christopher Heyde Medal for mathematical sciences.
  • Professor Geoffrey Pryde with Griffith University was given the Pawsey Medal for research in physics.
  • Professor Chris Turney at UNSW was awarded the Frederick White Prize for scientific achievements contributing to the understanding of natural phenomena.

2014 Research support awards

The following researchers were awarded research support under the Margaret Middleton Fund for endangered Australian native vertebrate animals: Laurence Berry from ANU, Christopher Henderson at Griffith University, Stephanie Hing at Murdoch University and Wendy Neilan from ANU.

The Ruth Stephens Gani Medal for distinguished research in human genetics was awarded to Winthrop Professor Ryan Lister at the University of Western Australia for his work in genome biology and the development of techniques to accurately map millions of DNA modifications throughout the genome.

2014 Travelling Fellowships

  • Dr Catherine Foley at CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering was awarded the Lloyd Rees Lecture in chemical physics.
  • Dr Huy The Nguyen at the University of Queensland received the AK Head Travelling Scholarship for Mathematical Scientists.
  • Professor Ullrich Steiner from the University of Cambridge was awarded the Selby Travelling Fellowship for excellence in science.
  • Dr Rodney van der Ree with the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne was given the Graeme Caughley Travelling Fellowship in ecological science.

For more information on the winners and those who received travel fellowships, go to the academy’s website.

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