Scientists from The University of Western Australia have again scooped the State’s annual Science Awards with world-renowned astrophysicist Professor Peter Quinn leading the accolades as the 2012 Scientist of the Year.
As founding director of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research Professor Quinn has played a key role in the success of the nation’s bid to host the world’s biggest radio astronomy project, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).
UWA Associate Professor Ajmal Mian was named Early Career Scientist of the Year. The young Australian Research Fellow, from the University’s School of Computer Science and Software Engineering, has pioneered research in Australia on 3D face and object recognition.
The Student Scientist of the Year was awarded to UWA’s David Erceg-Hurn, whose PhD research focuses on evaluating strategies to reduce the stigma associated with seeking professional treatment for clinical depression. He has also evaluated programs designed to reduce drug and alcohol misuse and has helped to develop new statistical methods.
The Engineers without Borders High School Outreach Program was recognised as the Science Engagement Initiative of the Year. The program improves students’ understanding of issues related to water, climate change, sustainability and technology. It has also gained a reputation as an assessment tool for university engineering students and as a professional development opportunity for experienced engineers. The program was developed by the WA Chapter of Engineers without Borders, which includes students from The University of Western Australia.
Internationally acclaimed plant conservation biologist Professor Stephen Hopper AC FLS FTSE, who recently stepped down as director of the world heritage-listed Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, UK, to take up a new Chair in Biodiversity at UWA, was inducted into the Science Hall of Fame.
Professor Hopper was recognised for his outstanding contribution to biodiversity preservation in Western Australia. He has made significant improvements to a number of the State’s conservation programs and infrastructure and was earlier this year named a Companion of the Order of Australia for his service as a global science leader.
UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Johnson, congratulated the 2012 Western Australian Science Awards winners on their outstanding achievements. “These awards recognise the important achievements of world-class scientists at The University of Western Australia and confirm UWA’s stature as a centre of international excellence in collaborative research and innovation.
“Such recognition strengthens UWA’s drive to be counted among the world’s top 50 universities by 2050," Professor Johnson said.
The 2012 awards add to last year’s success, when Australian Laureate Fellow UWA Professor Richard Hobbs was named Scientist of the Year and Professor David White named Early Career Scientist of the Year.
The WA Science Awards were established in 2002 to honour the outstanding achievements of the State’s science and innovation community.
The State Government initiative, administered by the WA Department of Commerce, recognises and rewards excellence across science research, engagement and education, and promotes the importance of science and innovation in Western Australia.
The 2012 WA Science Awards winners were announced at a gala dinner attended by WA Science and Innovation Minister John Day last night (Thursday October 11) at the Burswood Entertainment Complex.
Further information is available at the Western Australian Science Awards.
Michael Sinclair-Jones (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 00 700 783
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