Professor David White of The UWA Oceans Institute has been named Early Career Scientist of the Year for Western Australia.
Professor White, who is based at the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems at UWA, is a geotechnical engineer working on research involving offshore structures such as pipelines and oil and gas structures.
The award was announced last night in Perth.
“I’m very pleased for my research to be recognised in this way,” Professor White said from the United Kingdom, where he is currently on study leave.
“Geotechnical engineering is one of UWA’s strongest disciplines, and I hope this award will draw attention to the positive impact that our research has on the oil and gas industry in WA.
“The seabed around Australia presents unique engineering challenges to the oil and gas industry and when I moved to Australia five years ago I was attracted by the opportunity to conduct research that would be eagerly adopted by industry.
“The offshore oil and gas industry is often front page news in WA, so it provides an easy context in which to highlight engineering in action.
“The experimental research that I conduct is very much a team effort, and this award is also recognition of the world-leading capabilities at the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems, including our geotechnical centrifuge facilities and the new ‘O-tube’ cyclone simulator.”
Another UWA Oceans Institute researcher was also acknowledged at the science awards last night.
Winthrop Professor Mark Randolph, a colleague of Professor White’s, was a finalist in the Scientist of the Year category.
The head of the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems, Winthrop Professor Mark Cassidy, paid tribute to both engineers.
“David and Mark are outstanding researchers who have achieved international reputations for their work and leadership in areas of offshore engineering such as pipeline stability analysis,” said Professor Cassidy, who is also Deputy Director of the Oceans Institute.
“Their work, along with that of their COFS colleagues, has been adopted in the long pipelines being built offshore, and further strengthened UWA’s reputation as an international research centre for the oil and gas industry.
“It is also a further example of how UWA Oceans Institute focuses on ‘ocean solutions’.”
It’s the second major award Professor White has won this week.
On 7 December, he won WA Young ‘Tall Poppy’ Scientist of the Year award for his excellence in research and commitment to community engagement.
The award was organised by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science, with the support of Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, The University of Western Australia and the Department of Health and Ageing.