University dominates inaugural Premier's Science Excellence Awards

Tuesday, 30 August 2005

The inaugural Premier's Science Excellence Awards announced in August 2005 came close to becoming an all-University of Adelaide affair with our scientists winning three of the five categories while seven others were finalists.

The winners and finalists shared $120,000 and were recognised for their leadership in raising the public awareness of science in South Australia.

It was also a night to remember for the Rathjen family. Professor Peter Rathjen, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Sciences, won the award for Research and Leadership for his research and work in stem cell biology and stem cell therapies; and his father Dr Tony Rathjen was a member of the South Australian Cereal Breeding team that won the award for Excellence in Research for Commercial Outcomes.

In a third award, University scientists teamed with the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) for Excellence in Research for Public Good.

"This result is a clear indication of the outstanding work being undertaken by our scientists at this University," said Professor Neville Marsh, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).

"There is a mix of youth and experience among this list which is a healthy position for us to be in," he said.

The 2005 winners and finalists from the University of Adelaide were:

Research and Leadership:
Winner: Professor Peter Rathjen, Executive Dean, Faculty of Sciences.
Finalist: Professor Rob Norman, Director, Research Centre for Reproductive Health.

Excellence in Research for Commerical Outcomes:
Winner: South Australian Cereal Breeding Team - Dr Tony Rathjen, Dr David Sparrow, Professor Andy Barr and Professor Gill Hollamby.
Finalists: Turbulence, Energy & Combustion (TEC) Group, Schools of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering; and Professor John Wallace, School of Molecular & Biomedical Science.

Excellence in Research for Public Good:
Winner: SARDI Food Research Program, SA Research and Development Institute (with University of Adelaide). Team: Andrew Pointon; Ben Daughtry; David Padula; David Hamilton; Tom Madigan; Dr Andreas Kiermeier; Dr Ian Delaere; Jo Slade; Geoff Holds; Viv Mattei; Felicity Brake; Samuel Phua; Sita Balshaw; Dr Connor Thomas and Dr Ken Davey.
Finalist: Don Roberton, Professor of Paediatrics, Department of Paediatrics and Women's and Children's Hospital.

Science Educator of the Year:
Finalists: Belinda Barr & Heather Bray, Joint Leaders, Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics and Molecular Plant Breeding Cooperative Research Centre, Waite Campus.

Science Communication Excellence:
Finalist: Dr Chris Daniels, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Story by Howard Salkow


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