The University of Western Australia’s reputation for producing leaders in science research and teaching was recognised tonight when three staff members were recognised in the 2015 Premier’s Science Awards.
Premier Colin Barnett announced Professor Mark Cassidy, from UWA’s Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS) was Scientist of the Year, while Dr Hannah Moore from the Telethon Kids Institute was named Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year.
One of the world’s leading mathematicians and a former Scientist of the Year, Professor Cheryl Praeger, was also inducted into the Western Australian Science Hall of Fame.
In congratulating the winners, UWA Vice-Chancellor Paul Johnson said the news was testament to the excellence of the University’s academics and reinforced its place as the pre-eminent research and teaching institution in the State.
“Our international standing in science is well established and Professors Cassidy and Praeger and Dr Moore have all made outstanding contributions to society in ways that really matter,” Professor Johnson said.
As Director of COFS, Professor Cassidy, a former Prime Minister's Malcolm McIntosh Australian Physical Scientist of the Year, has secured millions of dollars in research grants for devising novel foundation solutions for the installation of oil and gas infrastructure in complex and uncertain seabed conditions off Australia’s coasts.
Dr Hannah Moore is a Senior Research Fellow at the Telethon Institute with 12 years’ experience in child health and leads a small research team investigating the epidemiology of infectious diseases. Her PhD investigated the epidemiology of acute lower respiratory infections in Western Australian Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children.
Professor Praeger is Australia’s most highly cited pure mathematician and has been designated a Highly Cited Researcher in international rankings. In 1983 she was only the second woman in Australia to be appointed a Professor of Mathematics.
In thanking the WA Science Awards Committee “for choosing a mathematician” to join the WA Science Hall of Fame said she was humbled by the honor.
“My subject Mathematics is so important to our digital society,” Professor Praeger said. “Science, technology, engineering a most business initiatives require increasingly sophisticated mathematical understanding. Our kids will need confidence and appropriate training to be proficient in the mathematical skills they will need for their future careers, no matter what they may be.
“Remaining at the cutting edge of new mathematical research is the best insurance WA can make to ensure that it is ready to meet future challenges - whether these are to face possible climate change, or manage large data sets, or understand the huge discrete mathematical structures my work focuses on.”
Professor Shaun Collin, a world leader in comparative neurobiology and vision at UWA was named a finalist for Scientist of the Year while Dr Nicole Smith, from the University’s School of Animal Biology, and Assistant Professor Scott Draper, also from COFS, were finalists in the Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year category.
The Premier’s Science Awards (formerly the Western Australian Science Awards) were established in 2002 to recognise and celebrate the achievements of the Western Australian science community
David Stacey (UWA Media and Public Relations Manager) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 32 637 716