The Premier's Science Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding scientific research and engagement taking place in the State. The Awards cover all fields of science, including natural, medical, applied and technological science, engineering and mathematics. The Awards are an initiative of the Western Australian Government and administered by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation. Track the Premier’s Science Awards on Twitter using the hashtag #WASciAwards. Applications for the Awards are now closed.
In 2020 the five categories are:
Professor Steven Tingay
John Curtin Distinguished Professor of Astrophysics (Curtin University), Deputy Executive Director of ICRAR
Steven Tingay is an internationally renowned radio astronomer, spanning astrophysics, engineering, instrumentation, high performance computing, and project governance. Professor Tingay has written major papers across a broad range of topics in astrophysics and is the driving force behind the $50 million Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). The MWA is a precursor to the multi-national €1.7 billion Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope. Professor Tingay is a central figure in international SKA developments and played a leading role in securing this investment for Western Australia. Professor Tingay was appointed a WA Premier’s Fellow in 2007. His personal research has resulted in over 280 refereed publications, accumulating over 12,000 citations.
Professor Ryan Lister
Professor of Genome Sciences (Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, the University of Western Australia)
Professor Lister is a pioneer in the field of epigenomics, the study of the molecular code that controls gene activity. He generated the world’s first complete maps of the human epigenome, and his groundbreaking research in plant and animal systems has revolutionized our understanding of genome regulation, stem cell biology, and brain development. These major advances in knowledge underpin future improvements to human health and agriculture, with his discoveries already being used in dozens of patents in diverse fields, including prenatal testing, cancer detection, and regenerative medicine technologies. Professor Lister has also spearheaded the formation of Genomics WA, a new cutting-edge genomics research facility to serve scientists across Western Australia.
Professor Wendy Erber
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (the University of Western Australia), Haematologist (PathWest)
Professor Eric May
ARC Future Fellow, Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, Chemical Engineering, (the University of Western Australia)
Dr Chris Brennan-Jones
Senior Research Fellow and Team Leader of Ear Health (Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, Telethon Kids Institute)
Dr Chris Brennan-Jones is Head of Ear Health at the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, based at Telethon Kids Institute, and a paediatric audiologist and outstanding early career scientist at Perth Children's Hospital and The University of Western Australia. Awarded a National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship, Dr Brennan-Jones is using cutting-edge technology to change clinical practice and treatment of chronic middle ear disease/otitis media (OM). OM affects 650,000 Australian children each year and can cause permanent hearing loss, which is entirely preventable when treated early. Dr Brennan-Jones has developed a multi-award-winning telehealth program (Ear Portal), that is directly benefitting children in WA by cutting the waiting time for specialist treatment from up to two years to just ten days.
Dr Xihong Zhang
Senior Research Fellow (Curtin University)
Dr Arman Siahvashi
Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow (The University of Western Australia)
Dr Sam Buckberry
Postdoctoral Research Development Fellow (The University of Western Australia)
Ms Morgan Cox
PhD Student (Curtin University)
Mr Todd Bond
PhD researcher (The University of Western Australia)
Mr Todd Bond is a PhD researcher at The University of Western Australia investigating how fish and fisheries interact with oil and gas subsea pipelines. He works alongside oil and gas operators to help them understand how their decisions on the fate of pipelines when they are no longer needed might impact animals and fisheries that utilise these structures. This work has taken Mr Bond around the globe, and facilitated collaboration with scientists in the United Kingdom, Asia and the United States. Mr Bond calls on almost a decade of research experience using underwater video techniques to survey fish - skills that he shares with students and scientists around the globe.
Mr Liam Scarlett
PhD Candidate (Curtin University)
Ms Penelope Strauss
Research Fellow in Youth Suicide Prevention & PhD Candidate (Telethon Kids Institute)
Ms Simone Harrington
(The University of Western Australia)
Simone’s goal is to become the first Aboriginal Clinical Psychologist to graduate from the University of Western Australia. Her contributions within Psychological Science at her university has increased Indigenous content, culturally safe practices and engagement with Indigenous students.
Simone is the first Aboriginal student to undertake a postgraduate course in Psychology at her university, she obtained first class Honours in Psychology and has consistently achieved high grades. Her PhD research is looking at evidence behind the theory and effectiveness of a new transdiagnostic therapy, the ‘Manage my Emotions’ program, which is being provided free of charge to the community.
Ms Shondell Hayden
(The University of Western Australia)
Ms Kelly Reynolds
(The University of Notre Dame Australia)
Diving deep in the #NingalooCanyons - Western Australian Museum
This deep-sea expedition aimed to document and describe biodiversity in two deep-sea canyons off the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area, and to engage people with the Gascoyne Marine Park. Most deep marine waters off Western Australia are under-explored, and this creates difficulties in assessing and monitoring any environmental changes. It is also very much an environment that is out of sight, out of mind to the public.
The #NingalooCanyons expedition was operating for 32 days in the field, but included a diversity of engagements that continue to follow. Our outreach goals included engaging the community through live-streaming deep-sea dives, social media, and providing onboard opportunities for students, including high-achieving Aboriginal students. We collected over 1000 biological samples for the WA Museum collections from 20 Remotely-Operated Vehicle dives. These included many of the deepest faunal records for the state, including up to 30 new species, and the discovery of significant faunal communities for the Gascoyne Marine Park.
This work was made possible through a partnership which included the Schmidt Ocean Institute, Curtin University, Geoscience Australia, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the Foundation for the WA Museum. Our challenges included carrying out the expedition during the covid pandemic.
Cliniface – 3D facial analysis for clinical translation – Curtin University
Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance – Curtin University
For further information about the Premier’s Science Awards please contact Penny Hyland by email at email@example.com or phone on 6277 3070.
WA Science Ambassadors
Winners in the Premier’s Science Awards are important ambassadors for science and participate in public engagements promoting science to the wider community. If you are interested in involving an award winner in an event or activity, please contact them directly using the WA Science Ambassadors Directory. Alternatively, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Premier’s Science Awards are proudly sponsored by Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and Woodside.
WA Science Hall of Fame
The Premier’s Science Awards are proudly supported by Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University, Notre Dame University and The University of Western Australia.
In addition, Telethon Kids Institute has joined as an minor sponsor this year, proudly supporting the Premier’s Science Awards ceremony in August 2020.
Photo credit: MCB Photographics and Cathy Fogliani