Premier's Science Award Winners

The awards are an initiative of the Western Australian Government and administered by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation.
Last updated: 2 March 2023

The Premier's Science Awards cover all fields of science, including natural, medical, applied and technological science, engineering and mathematics. 

2022 Premier's Science Award Winners

Scientist of the Year - 2022 Winner

Australian Laureate Fellow and John Curtin Distinguished Professor Kliti Grice
Curtin University 

Professor Kliti Grice is an internationally renowned organic geochemist, recognised for her research into compound specific isotope analysis. She is demonstrably creating an enduring legacy in her research field, providing insights into the mass extinction events that have shaped life on Earth, and developing the tools to allow further exploration of the Earth's record of environmental change including species evolution/adaption to the role of microbes in exceptional fossil preservation. Professor Grice is one of Australia's leading scientists and a pioneering female in STEM. Her exceptional level of research output relative to the discipline standard is reflected by her 215 peer-reviewed publications, training of over 30 PhD scholars, and delivery of more than 50 talks internationally.

2022 Finalists

Professor YC Gary Lee 
The University of Western Australia / Institute for Respiratory Health / Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital 

Professor YC Gary Lee (MBChB PhD FRACPP FCCP FRCP) is a clinician researcher and world leader in Pleural Diseases (pleurisy) which affects 23 million people globally. He established the southern hemisphere's first translational pleural program in the University of Western Australia and founded the Australasian Malignant Pleural Effusion network. Using high-quality clinical trials, he has transformed pleural care worldwide, saved lives, improved quality-of-life, cut morbidity and hospitalisations, introduced new therapies and informed many clinical guidelines. His global reputation, track record in high-profile publications, competitive grant awards and training next-generation clinician-scientists have established Western Australia as a world hub of Pleural Diseases. His strong community engagement keeps his research patient-focused. 

Hackett Professor Kadambot Siddique 
The University of Western Australia 

Professor Kadambot Siddique is the Director of The University of Western Australia's Institute of Agriculture, with more than 35 years of experience in agricultural research, research training, technology exchange and management in Australia and overseas. He has a national and international reputation in various aspects of agricultural science, including crop physiology, production agronomy, farming systems, genetic resources and breeding, focusing on wheat, grain legumes (especially chickpea) and oilseed crops. In particular, his crop adaptation, physiology, genetics and agronomy research has boosted cereal and grain legume production in dryland environments. His numerous publications, fellowships and awards, including highly cited researcher in Agricultural Science and Plant Animal Sciences, reflect his research excellence. 

HBF Mid-Career Scientist of the Year - 2022 Winner

Professor Ajmal Mian 
The University of Western Australia 

Professor Ajmal Mian is a Professor of Computer Science at The University of Western Australia. His research aims to give machines the ability to see, make sense of their environment and describe it in natural language. Besides discovering new knowledge in Artificial Intelligence, Professor Mian collaborates with multiple disciplines to propose novel solutions in medicine, psychology, marine science, agriculture and mining. He is a Distinguished Speaker for the Association for Computing Machinery, President of the Australian Pattern Recognition Society and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow. He has published more than 240 scientific papers and is internationally recognised for his research in Artificial Intelligence and 3D vision. 

2022 Finalists

Associate Professor Hayley Christian 
Telethon Kids Institute / The University of Western Australia 

Associate Professor Hayley Christian is an internationally recognised public health researcher focused on turning challenges into opportunities to make a positive difference to children's health and wellbeing through promoting more active childhoods. Head of the Child Physical Activity, Health and Development Team at the Telethon Kids Institute, Senior Research Fellow at The University of Western Australia and a Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow, she heads a multidisciplinary team that works closely with families, children, government, non-government organisations, professional bodies and the private sector to uncover the best environments, policies and programs to facilitate physically active lifestyles for children's lifelong health and wellbeing. 

Dr Natasha Hurley-Walker 
Curtin University / International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research 

Dr Natasha Hurley-Walker has transformed our view of the radio sky. She uses powerful supercomputers to analyse petabytes of data from Western Australian telescopes to explore our Universe. Her discoveries include the remains of stellar explosions, insights into the lives of supermassive black holes, and a new kind of repeating radio source unlike anything astronomers have seen before. Giving public talks, media interviews, and filming for documentaries, she has reached tens of millions across the world, inspiring interest in STEM careers. Her work path-finds toward the Square Kilometre Array, which will be the world's largest radio telescope, here in Western Australia. 

Dr Ana Micaela Martins Sequeira 
The University of Western Australia 

Dr Ana M. M. Sequeira, a marine ecologist based at The University of Western Australia's Oceans Institute, leads breakthrough research in the field of marine megafauna movement and conservation. She is the founder, Lead Coordinator and Research Director of MegaMove, a decadal project endorsed by the United Nations Decade for Ocean Science. The project is focused on pushing forward a new frontier in dynamic marine spatial management to improve marine megafauna conservation and show how big data in marine telemetry can be synthesised and translated into ecologically significant behaviours, addressing global scientific and societal problems highlighted in the Australian science and research priorities. 

Associate Professor Danail Obreschkow 
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research / The University of Western Australia 

Associate Professor Obreschkow is an astrophysicist at The University of Western Australia (UWA) node of the International Centre of Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR). He is a Future Fellow of the Australian Research Council and the Director of UWA's International Space Centre (ISC). Danail's main research passion lies in the dynamics of galaxies, which holds important clues to understanding our own existence in the cosmos. His exceptionally broad research record, sustained success in winning large competitive grants, leadership in space and astronomy, as well as his dedication to science communication, make him a prominent figure in Western Australia's research sector. 

Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year - 2022 Winner

Dr Qi Fang 
Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research / The University of Western Australia 

Dr Qi Fang has been named by The Australian as one of "Australia's top 40 researchers who are less than 10 years into their careers" and awarded a prestigious Raine Robson Fellow. Dr Fang focuses on developing novel imaging tools for complete cancer removal during surgery. His research has contributed to the commercialisation of cancer imaging probes with a local start-up company OncoRes Medical. He is an inventor with two international patents developing next-generation cancer imaging devices, which have the potential to be widely used in rural and remote areas, improving equity of access to optimal cancer treatment across Western Australia.

2022 Finalists

Dr Rebecca (Bec) Bennett 
Curtin University 

Dr Rebecca (Bec) Bennett is a clinical audiologist and researcher at the Ear Science Institute Australia and an Adjunct Senior Clinical Research Fellow at Curtin University.  Her research focuses on the experience of hearing loss, including how hearing loss can affect us socially, emotionally and psychologically.  By applying her findings, an audiologist will better understand their client's whole life experience and be able to provide interventions that address not only hearing loss, but also the social, emotional and psychological impacts of hearing loss.  Dr Bennett is passionate about partnering with consumers and the community in research planning, execution and translation. 

Dr Nicole Hill
Telethon Kids Institute / The University of Western Australia 

Dr Nicole Hill's vision, as a Forrest Prospect Fellow at Telethon Kids Institute and The University of Western Australia, is to reduce the number of lives lost to suicide by improving equitable access to services for young people bereaved by suicide, and building capacity in youth suicide prevention research in WA. In 24 months, she has secured $1.8 million in funding and has fostered strong collaborations with the mental health and government sector. Dr Hill’s research output is in the top 1% of medical journals globally. In 2022 she was a WA 40Under40 winner for her research in suicide prevention.

Dr Aaron Jenkins 
Edith Cowan University 

Dr Aaron Jenkins is Australia's first Senior Research Fellow in Planetary Health and is internationally recognised for pioneering integrative approaches linking environmental change to human health outcomes. The excellence and quality of his research is evidenced by globally high impact publication, including citation in 23 different subject areas and 71 countries, and receiving over $17 million in research grant awards. With a world-class network of collaborators and donors supporting Western Australian research, his visibility and influence provide timely solutions for watershed management for both human and ecosystem health in Western Australia and our neighbouring regions of the Indo-Pacific.

Dr Rachael Zemek 
Telethon Kids Institute / The University of Western Australia 

Dr Rachael Zemek is a talented, early career cancer researcher at the Telethon Kids Institute.  Passionate about developing the science needed to underpin subsequent medical advances, she has developed unique techniques and made breakthrough discoveries to understand why some cancer patients are cured by immunotherapy and others are not.  Importantly, Rachael's work identified effective new drug combinations to improve the response to immunotherapy, with her end goal to replace the need for chemotherapy altogether.  Rachael has an impressive track record of high impact publications and competitive awards and dedicates her time to inspiring the next generation of scientists. 

ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year - 2022 Joint Winners

Nikhilesh (Nik) Bappoo 
Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research / The University of Western Australia 

Nikhilesh (Nik) Bappoo is a passionate biomedical engineer with a vision to develop and ethically commercialise novel solutions to unmet clinical needs, hence improving the delivery of healthcare. Nik specialises in blood flow simulations, from ‘engineering the placenta’ to predict abnormalities during pregnancy, to predicting aneurysm growth and rupture. Nik's entrepreneurial mindset has led to the formation of VeinTech, a WA medical device company, aiming to reduce the high rate of failure of cannulation. He also manages product development and regulatory affairs for VitalTrace, another WA company developing a novel biosensor to improve childbirth outcomes for mothers and babies. 

Kathryn Ross 
Curtin University 

Kathryn Ross is a postgraduate research student based at the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research. She studies supermassive black holes in the centres of galaxies, focusing on baby black holes that are smaller than typical galaxies. Using telescopes around Australia, Kathryn discovered these black holes are not as young as previously thought, but frustrated teens being restricted by a surrounding cloud of gas. She is a science communicator promoting STEM to audiences nationally and internationally. Kathryn is also an activist leading a national campaign, IncludeHer, working to diversify the representation of scientists in schools. 

2022 Finalists

Azadeh Ebrahimi Madiseh 
The University of Western Australia  

Azadeh Ebrahimi-Madiseh is a Senior Clinician and an early career scientist serving the WA community in ear and hearing health. She has committed herself to research strategies to improve service delivery in hearing aids, telehealth, cochlear implants and other hearing implants over the last five years. Azadeh's research is focused on improving service delivery to cochlear implant candidates and recipients. She studies barriers to accessing cochlear implants and how these can be overcome to provide the 90% of Australians in need of cochlear implants with the benefit of the intervention they desperately need. She is an advocate for value-based care delivery and use of digital health to improve access. Azadeh has been invited to present at more than 40 scientific and community events, professional organisations and panel discussions. 

Rebecca Russell
Curtin University 

Rebecca Russell is an Associate Nutritionist and final-year PhD student at Curtin University, focusing on diet and multiple sclerosis (MS). Rebecca is dedicated to assisting people with MS navigate the plethora of conflicting dietary advice available, by developing a tailored online nutrition education program. She has published eight scientific articles and presented at five national and international conferences. Rebecca has been awarded three competitive scholarships, and nearly $25,000 in research funding for a project that she runs as Chief Investigator A. She mentors and supervises a range of students, and actively engages with the Western Australian MS community. 

Frances Theunissen 
Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science / Murdoch University 

Frances Theunissen is undertaking her PhD at the Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science and Murdoch University. Her research seeks to identify novel genetic markers for motor neurone disease (MND) that can be used as enrichment tools to improve the success of MND clinical trials. Her publications include multiple high impact papers, and she reported the first genetic association between the gene STMN2 and sporadic MND. She formed and led international collaborations to launch a genetic marker pipeline project, recently funded $250,000 by FightMND. She is an ambassador for research, teaches and mentors students and passionately volunteers in science outreach programs.

Shell Aboriginal STEM Student of the Year - 2022 Joint Winners

James Hill 
The University of Western Australia / Telethon Kids Institute 

James Hill is a PhD student at The University of Western Australia and Telethon Kids Institute who is investigating how negative attitudes and actions (stigma) relate to the disproportionately poor mental health outcomes of trans and gender diverse young people. Improving understanding of this group's experiences is essential for creating targeted interventions. James' goal is to become a researcher and clinical psychologist and work with Indigenous and LGBTQAI+ people to assist them in living full and healthy lives. He believes that engaging with communities and learning from lived experience is imperative for the development and creation of interventions. 

Tahlia Prior 
Curtin University 

Tahlia Prior is a proud Ballardong Whadjuk Nyungar, Wajarri Yamatji woman and an outstanding final year Civil Engineering student. She has excelled academically in Elder and Traditional Owner community representation, and in connecting with industry partners and opportunities.  Tahlia is a bright, emerging female civil engineering and STEM leader. She has been recognised by significant organisations in her field for her technical engineering capabilities at this early stage of her career. Her focus on contributing to a wide range and at a depth and breadth of community initiatives throughout Western Australia, is recognised by wider Aboriginal and Engineering professional communities. 

2022 Finalists

Aaron Haji Ali 
The University of Notre Dame Australia 

Aaron Haji Ali is studying a Bachelor of Education (Secondary), with a major in physics. Following his graduation, Aaron's goal is to teach in remote areas of WA, bringing his passion and enthusiasm for STEM to Indigenous youth. In addition to his studies, Aaron has also undertaken a ten-week teaching placement at a school in Broome to inspire and motivate students to explore different aspects of STEM, and is also currently employed as a Teacher Assistant at a Perth school, splitting his time between classroom responsibilities and pastoral care and activities for Indigenous boarders. 

Brianna Ozies 
The University of Notre Dame Australia 

Brianna Ozies is a Djugun woman from Derby in the West Kimberley and is in her second year of a Doctor of Medicine at The University of Notre Dame Australia. To gain further medical experience, she returns home from Perth and works at Derby Aboriginal Health Service (DAHS) during her university breaks, where she most recently served as the DAHS Covid-19 Administrative Support Officer. With COVID's inevitable impact on the Kimberley, she helped to prepare her community by aiding in boosting vaccination rates, establishing a COVID clinic and raising COVID awareness, so she could do her part in keeping her community safe from the impacts of COVID.

Shoshanna Scott 
The University of Notre Dame Australia 

Shoshanna Scott is a second-year Nyungar medical student at The University of Notre Dame Australia who is passionate about research and the impact it can have on the community. In addition to Shoshanna's studies, she works as a Research Assistant at Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre, a Registered Nurse in the COVID Workforce, and has also previously held the Student Success Officer role at Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre. In these roles, Shoshanna advocates for patients, provides support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander undergraduate students, and contributes to research about covert racism in our community. Shoshanna is passionate about advocating for underrepresented groups in STEM and health care.

Chevron Science Engagement Initiative of the Year - 2022 Joint Winners

Autism Academy 
Curtin University 

Autism affects around one in every 100 people, and the number of autistic people in employment in Australia is low. Research shows less than one-third of autistic adults have paid employment, with more than half never having held a paid position. Curtin's Autism Academy is a social innovation initiative harnessing the talents of people with autism for the collective benefit of individuals, industry and community. The Autism Academy provides a suite of programs, starting in the first years of high school, to build interest in STEM learning and to provide pathways towards training and development. Through a mix of formal training courses, hackathons, bootcamps and paid internships, the Autism Academy transforms individual lives and workplace cultures. By the end of 2021, 45 people had transitioned into tertiary education, 75 people had participated in high-value internships and the Autism Academy had trained 400 young people.  

Marble Bar Virtual World 
Marble Bar Primary School 

Students at a Western Australian remote school are celebrating Indigenous culture through an exciting, cutting-edge STEM Virtual World. The school has collaborated with Elders and Airborne IT to create a first-of-its-kind VR world and virtual teacher development centre, showcasing the area's Nyamal Culture, opening a door to the East Pilbara’s rich Indigenous cultures locally and globally. Marble Bar's Virtual World has engaged schools, tourists, colleagues and government officials across Australia, the Americas, Asia and more. The STEM project exemplifies collaborative partnerships between Elders, students, community and industry leaders including CSIRO, BHP, Atlas Iron, Roy Hill, Australian Schools Plus and Horizon Power.

2022 Finalists

Dr Magda's and Nerdy Nard's Chemistry Zoom Party 
Edith Cowan University 

Dr Magda's and Nerdy Nard's Chemistry Zoom Party began in 2020 as an online science engagement initiative, designed to offer hands-on science activities, following the cancellation of National Science Week events due to COVID-19 restrictions. Over a three-year period (including 2022), 600 science kits containing resources for experiments have been sent across Western Australia, where more than 2,000 participants have joined the event online from home and conducted experiments alongside the presenters Dr Magda and Nardia live from the Edith Cowan University SuperLabs. The program has attracted significant interest from industry, including ChemCentre and education institutions, as well as funding from state and federal providers. 

Innovation Central Perth
Curtin University in partnership with Cisco 

Innovation Central Perth (ICP) started in 2015 as an industry and science collaboration centre located at Curtin University's Perth campus. ICP has developed innovative ways for science and technology to support a growing Western Australian economy and facilitates a productive and meaningful way to showcase science to industry, as well as a model for Western Australian organisations to successfully connect with the scientific community. ICP partners with organisations across the State to drive science engagement across industry and community and sits at the edge of science and industry, bridging the gap through a unique method that provides tangible solutions to government and industry, and real-world experience to students. ICP is designed to nurture innovation and growth for Western Australia through technology deployment to solve complex challenges. 

Peel Bright Minds
Peel Bright Minds, supported by Regional Development Australia Peel Incorporated 

Peel Bright Minds is a community-led initiative in WA’s Peel Region, on a mission to inspire a curious community. Through immersive, experiential learning activities, we aim to make the fascinating world of science, technology, engineering and maths accessible, inclusive and fun. Our flagship project, Trail Blazers, is a five-day residential camp with an intensive dual focus on immersing Peel’s young people into emerging STEM industries, and equipping them with the leadership and life skills needed to thrive in the new world of work. We also offer deliver a myriad of engagement activities including guest speaker events, regional STEM awards, pop-up stalls, and original short films and podcasts, all focused on enabling regional communities to connect, learn and grow.

Star Dreaming
Curtin University / International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research / Yamaji Art / Prospero Productions / Last Pixel 

Star Dreaming is a 180-degree immersive film experience that follows two children from Geraldton as they discover the Square Kilometre Array and the Yamaji culture of the Traditional Owners of the land on which it is built. The film explores science, art, technology and Indigenous culture side-by-side. Awarded the Best Astronomy Education award at the Dome Under Festival, its opening season at the WA Maritime Museum in Fremantle was experienced by thousands of people. Selected by international film festivals, it will be distributed internationally and will be Western Australian science and culture to the world. 

2021 Premier's Science Award Winners

Scientist of the Year - Winner

Professor Eric May
Professor of Chemical Engineering (the University of Western Australia), CEO (Future Energy Exports CRC)

Professor Eric May is an internationally recognised leader in the areas of fluid science, thermodynamics, metrology and natural gas engineering. His development and use of measurement technology has produced explanations for long-standing scientific mysteries, revealed unexpected physical phenomena, and helped improve industrial processes. Real-world outcomes of Professor May’s research include reducing the cost and environmental impact of liquefied natural gas (LNG) production, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from coal mines and optimising air conditioning cycles based on new, environmentally-friendly refrigerants. His work has also helped difficult offshore gas reserves be developed and advanced carbon capture and storage operations. He is now leading the new Future Energy Exports Cooperative Research Centre with major industry partners to help grow Australia’s hydrogen export industry.

2021 Finalists

Professor Johannes (Hans) Thieo Lambers
Emeritus Professor in the School of Biological Science (the University of Western Australia)

Professor Zheng-Xiang Li
John Curtin Distinguished Professor in the School of Earth and Planetary Sciences (Curtin University)

Professor Britta Regli-von Ungern-Sternberg
Chair of Paediatric Anaesthesia (the University of Western Australia),  Specialist Paediatric Anaesthetist (Perth Children’s Hospital), Leader of the Perioperative Medicine Team (Telethon Kids Institute)

Professor Christopher Reid
Professor in the Curtin School of Population Health (Curtin University)

Professor Craig Valli
Director of ECU Security Research Institute (Edith Cowan University)

Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year - Joint Winners

Associate Professor Edward Litton
Associate Professor of Internal Medicine (the University of Western Australia), Intensive Care Specialist (Fiona Stanley Hospital)

Associate Professor Edward Litton is an intensive care specialist whose goal is to improve the outcomes for critically ill patients requiring treatment in intensive care. Recently, his contribution to the COVID-19 response includes developing and helping to implement a large international clinical trial that has identified effective treatments for severe COVID-19, leading a study to inform Australian intensive care COVID-19 preparedness, and evaluating, reporting, and feeding back Australian intensive care COVID-19 outcomes. His research findings have been incorporated into international guidelines, informing intensive care policy and practice, and helping to improve outcomes for more than 10,000 Western Australians who require intensive care treatment each year.

Dr Arman Siahvashi
Forrest-Fulbright Fellow in the School of Engineering (The University of Western Australia)

Awarded two prestigious Forrest and Fulbright fellowships, Dr Arman Siahvashi is conducting a world-class research and developing cutting-edge technologies to reduce the costs and eliminate the safety hazards associated with clean energy production such as liquid hydrogen. He has developed a multi-award-winning apparatus to accurately measure the freezing temperatures of trace impurities at extreme cryogenic temperatures and high pressures. His research has led to collaborations with scientists at NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory on liquid hydrogen as a rocket fuel and also dissolution geology of Saturn’s moon, Titan. His work helps the environment by reducing carbon emissions, while also improving plant operation safety and risk assessments, and driving economic growth and sustainable development.

2021 Finalists

Dr Naveed Akhtar
Research Fellow (Australian Office of National Intelligence, the University of Western Australia)

Dr Eleanor Sansom
Research Associate in the School of Earth and Planetary Science (Curtin University)

Dr Alex Tang
Head Researcher (Brain Plasticity Lab at the Perron Institute, the University of Western Australia)

ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year - Joint Winners

Liam Scarlett
PhD Student (Curtin University)

Liam Scarlett is completing a PhD in theoretical physics, focussing on modelling the fundamental reactions which take place in fusion, medical, and astrophysical plasmas. A highlight of his research has included developing a theory and suite of computer programs to produce the most detailed database of electron-molecule reaction probabilities to date, which was used by scientists working on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. Liam has authored an impressive list of publications, championed a number of international research collaborations, been invited to speak at international conferences, and is a positive ambassador for STEM through his supervision of undergraduate research projects.

Niamh Troy
PhD Student (Telethon Kids Institute, the University of Western Australia)

Niamh Troy is a PhD candidate at the Wal-yan Respiratory Research Centre who is conducting research to better understand the immune response to respiratory viral infections in asthma using cutting-edge bioinformatics. Niamh’s work provides critical evidence for how we can use bacterial therapeutics to harness the innate immune system to protect against severe lung infections in infants. This work places Western Australia at the forefront in the global race to identify safe preventative therapies for lower respiratory infections that can be given during infancy. Niamh has an impressive track record of high impact publications, competitive awards and prizes and additionally extends her leadership skills beyond her own research, through collaborations, primary school outreach and communicating her research to the public.

2021 Finalists

Nikhilesh Bappoo
PhD Student (The Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, the University of Western Australia)

Eleanor Dunlop
PhD Student (Curtin University)

Katherine Landwehr
PhD Student (Curtin University, Telethon Kids Institute)

Shell Aboriginal STEM Student of the Year - Winner

Daniel Curran
Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery student (Curtin University)

Daniel Curran is an outstanding Aboriginal medical student committed to Closing the Gap. He completed the Indigenous pre-medicine enabling course through the Centre for Aboriginal Studies as the top achiever and is now in his third year of a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery at Curtin University. Daniel is the first Aboriginal tutor in the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme. He has acted on the Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association Student Representative Committee and is the First Nations representative for Curtin’s Health Sciences Student Consultative Committee. He is a role model for aspiring Aboriginal medical doctors and healthcare professionals.

2021 Finalist

Danielle Headland
Bachelor of Health Science student (The University of Western Australia), Aboriginal Research Project Officer (Telethon Kids Institute)

Chevron Science Engagement Initiative of the Year - Winner

Curtin University

The FIRST LEGO League in WA (FLLWA) is a collaborative project led by Curtin University and supported by community hubs around Western Australia. The project challenges teams of 9 to 16-year-old students to engage their minds and their communities to tackle STEM problems. FLLWA comprises two challenges which culminate in high-energy competitions – the Robot Game, which requires a team to design, build and program a LEGO robot that completes missions on a field, and the Innovation Project, which requires a team to identify, research and present a solution to a real-world problem. FLLWA has become embedded in the communities that embrace it, with an estimated 60,000 students, teachers, family members and local community members having been involved since its establishment in 2013.

2021 Finalists

3E’s - Engage, Experience, Expose - Community Engagement Program
Edith Cowan University

Exciting Enthusiasm for BioDiscovery in Young Minds
Lotterywest BioDiscovery Centre, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research

Innovation Central Perth
Curtin University

2020 Premier's Science Award Winners

Scientist of the Year - Joint Winners

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.

2020 Finalists

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)

Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year - Winner 

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.

2020 Finalists

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)

ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year - Joint Winners

Ms Morgan Cox
PhD Student (Curtin University)

Ms Morgan Cox is a PhD candidate and planetary geologist from Curtin’s School of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Ms Cox’s research seeks to uncover the evolution of the Earth and planetary bodies through identifying evidence of asteroid impacts in the geological record. Ms Cox has published multiple high impact papers, such as the discovery of the ultra-rare mineral ‘reidite’ near Shark Bay and confirming ‘Yallalie’ as the newest impact structure discovered in Western Australia. She has been instrumental in developing close ties with NASA, from which she has published work on the dinosaur-killing asteroid impact in Mexico. Ms Cox is an extremely passionate ambassador for planetary science in Western Australia, as she strongly believes that communicating science within the community is just as important as conducting the science.

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.

2020 Finalists

Mr Liam Scarlett
PhD Candidate (Curtin University)

Ms Penelope Strauss
Research Fellow in Youth Suicide Prevention & PhD Candidate (Telethon Kids Institute)

Shell Aboriginal STEM Student of the Year - Winner

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.

2020 Finalists

Ms Shondell Hayden
(The University of Western Australia)

Ms Kelly Reynolds
(The University of Notre Dame Australia)

Chevron Science Engagement Initiative of the Year - Winner

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.

2020 Finalists

First Lego League WA – Curtin STEM Outreach

Cliniface – 3D facial analysis for clinical translation – Curtin University

Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance – Curtin University

2019 Premier's Science Award Winners

 Scientist of Year - Joint winners

Professor Phil Bland
John Curtin Distinguished Professor of Planetary Science (Curtin University)

Professor Bland’s research explores the origin and evolution of the solar system through analysis of meteorites. This work has taken Professor Bland to meteorite ‘hot spots’ across the globe, ultimately leading to the establishment of the Desert Fireball Network in Western Australia, the multi award-winning Fireballs in the Sky outreach and citizen science program, and a partnership with global security and aerospace company, Lockheed Martin. Most recently, Professor Bland led the formation of the Space Science and Technology Centre at Curtin University – home to the largest group of planetary scientists in the Southern Hemisphere. The asteroid ‘(6580) Philbland’ is named in recognition of Professor Bland’s contributions to planetary science.

Professor Robert Newton
Associate Dean, School of Medical and Health Sciences (Edith Cowan University) 

Professor Newton is internationally renowned for his research on the applications of exercise medicine in cancer suppression and treatment. By advocating for exercise, he successfully challenges long-standing myths in the medical profession about the impact of targeted exercise on cancer prognosis. This work has resulted in substantial improvements in health outcomes and quality of life for cancer survivors. For his significant publications, citations, impact and community contributions, Professor Newton has been awarded over $35 million in competitive research funds and is on numerous advisory boards. Professor Newton co-authored the Western Australian and national guidelines for exercise and cancer, a body of work that resulted in Cancer Council WA’s development of the first-ever exercise medicine service for cancer patients and changed best practice patient management internationally.

2019 Finalists

Professor Wendy Erber 
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (the University of Western Australia), Haematologist (PathWest)

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)

Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year - Winner

Dr Adam Cross
Research Fellow, Curtin University

Dr Cross is a passionate ecologist and conservationist whose research transforms sterile mining landscapes into healthy ecosystems. His techniques are currently assisting the Australian mining industry in meeting regulatory requirements on landforms for which no previous rehabilitation strategies existed, and for which no successful revegetation has been demonstrated globally. The results are practical, scalable and economical, ensuring fundamental restoration science has been translated into end-user outcomes for industry partners. Dr Cross is also an internationally renowned expert on carnivorous plants, considered the world authority on two iconic genera (Aldrovanda vesiculosa and Cephalotus follicularis). Recognition of Dr Cross’s research excellence is highlighted by the award of the 2014 Perth Zoo Prize for Conservation Research for his seed biology studies. 

2019 Finalists

Dr Philipp Bayer 
Forrest Fellow (the University of Western Australia)

Dr Belinda Brown 
Senior Research Fellow (Murdoch University)

Dr Haibo Jiang 
Group Leader and Research Fellow (the University of Western Australia)

ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year - Winner

Jessica Kretzmann
PhD Candidate (the University of Western Australia)

Jessica Kretzmann’s research focuses on the design and evaluation of new gene therapies that have the potential to revolutionise cancer treatment and avoid traditional side effects of chemotherapy. As a recipient of the 2018 Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship, Jessica was selected by the Australian Academy of Sciences to attend the 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting and was 1 of 80 women worldwide selected for the Antarctic leadership and science initiative, Homeward Bound. Growing up in rural Western Australia, Jessica learnt firsthand how beneficial outreach programs are for science education and passionately pursues outreach programs for local and rural students as an Australian Nanotechnology Network Young Nanotechnology Ambassador. She is currently committed to a range of voluntary science engagement activities through Scitech, Education Lab and Ignite Mentoring.

2019 Finalists

Mr Mustafa Atee 
PhD Candidate (Curtin University)

Ms Belinda Martin 
PhD Candidate (the University of Western Australia)

Mr Samuel McSweeney 
PhD Candidate (Curtin University)

Ms Hayley Passmore 
PhD Candidate (Telethon Kids Institute, the University of Western Australia)

Shell Aboriginal STEM Student of the Year - Winner

Ms Sharynne Hamilton
PhD Candidate (the University of Western Australia, Telethon Kids Institute)

Ms Hamilton’s doctorate seeks to merge western neurodevelopmental science with the social determinants of Aboriginal health to provide a framework which promotes healing in Western Australian communities. Her research has led to peer-reviewed publications and invitations to publish in one of Australia’s most influential research-policy interface blogs, Power to Persuade. Ms Hamilton’s work on family inclusion in child welfare, sporting initiatives in the Kimberley and with Elders and senior Aboriginal women documenting their ‘on-country’ birthing stories provide insights into initiatives that have positive impacts for Aboriginal communities. Her research excellence is recognised through an impressive list of awards and study grants, including the Neville Bonner Honours Scholarship (2013) and the Peter and Anne Hector Award for Aboriginal Health (2017).

2019 Finalists

Mr Jedd Bell 
Masters Candidate (the University of Western Australia)

Simone Harrington 
Masters and PhD Candidate (the University of Western Australia)

Ms Kirsty McLean 
Medical Student (the University of Western Australia)

Chevron Science Engagement Initiative of the Year – Joint Winner


Astronomy WA Astrofest has grown to become one of the biggest science events in Perth and the largest astronomy festival in Australia. About 4,000 people attend each year to view the night sky through giant telescopes and hear local researchers and science communicators talk about astronomy. Every astronomy organisation in Perth takes part in the festival, providing a showcase of Western Australia’s expertise and capacity in space sciences to the public. The event has a lasting impact on visitors’ awareness of and participation in WA astronomy.

Perth Observatory, Gateway to the Universe – Perth Observatory Volunteer Group Inc.

Perth Observatory is managed by the Perth Observatory Volunteer Group Inc. (POVG), a not for profit, volunteer-run organisation dedicated to stimulating public interest in astronomy and its history. The observatory hosts more than 200 viewing events annually, offering thousands of visitors an intimate, interactive experience of the vastness of space on a site where history is tactile and accessible. By gaining the support of local astronomy enthusiasts, in just four years the 12.5-hectare site has been rejuvenated, the volunteer group has grown, key staff have been recruited, and education and tourism offerings have been expanded – all accomplished with very little core funding. In 2017, POVG received the Volunteering WA Community Organisation of the Year Award in recognition of the rapid transition to volunteer management. 

2019 Finalists

Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance – Curtin University

STEMinist Project – Curtin University

2018 Premier's Science Award Winners

Scientist of Year

Professor Peter Newman AO
Professor of Sustainability (Curtin University)

Professor Newman is a Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University with decades of globally significant research and public advocacy on the science of cities and their sustainability. Professor Newman’s research focuses on transport practices and systems, and how urban redevelopment can be planned with sustainability in mind to enable residents to integrate with their bioregional and human environment. He has impacted public policy through government representation in Local, State and Federal government bodies, and was awarded Officer of the Order of Australia in 2014 for his contribution to urban design and transport sustainability, particularly in relation to Perth’s rail system.


Professor Phil Bland
John Curtin Distinguished Professor of Planetary Science, Curtin University

Professor Robert Newton
Associate Dean, School of Medical and Health Sciences; Co-Director of the Exercise Medicine Research Institute, Edith Cowan University

Professor Stephen Zubrick
Head, Brain and Behaviour, Telethon Kids Institute

Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year

Dr Melissa O’Donnell
NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow, Telethon Kids Institute (University of Western Australia)

Dr O’Donnell is an NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow at the Telethon Kids Institute, The University of Western Australia and is internationally recognised for her work in the area of child abuse and neglect. Her research is improving knowledge around factors that increase vulnerability to child maltreatment, resulting in changes to policy and practice and contributing to the international monitoring of child abuse and neglect. Knowledge gained from her research has shaped the Western Australian Department of Communities’ Building Safe and Strong Families: Earlier Intervention and Family Support Strategy 2016, the Legislative Review of Western Australia’s Children and Community Services Act 2004 and Western Australia’s Youth Health Policy.  


Dr Adam Cross
Research Fellow (Curtin University)

Dr Haibo Jiang
DECRA Research Fellow (The University of Western Australia)

Dr Katarina Miljkovic
ARC DECRA Fellow (Curtin University)

Dr Wensu Chen
ARC DECRA Fellow, Senior Research Fellow, Deputy Director, Centre for Infrastructural Monitoring and Protection (Curtin University)

ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year

In 2018 there were two joint-winners in the ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year award category.

Mr Arman Siahvashi
PhD Candidate (The University of Western Australia)

Mr Siahvashi is in the final year of a PhD in natural gas process engineering. He has developed an innovative apparatus to visually measure the freezing temperatures of hydrocarbons at cryogenic temperatures. This data is crucial to solve the issue of shutdowns due to blockages caused by the freeze-out of impurities, which is a major problem facing the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry. Mr Siahvashi’s method of measuring data has been endorsed by NASA due to its relevance to NASA’s study on the weathering processes of Saturn’s moon Titan. 

Mr Ryan Urquhart
PhD Candidate (Curtin University)

Mr Urquhart’s research into the Universe’s fastest feeding black holes has achieved important new insights into how they extract energy from in-falling matter and inject it into their surroundings. As well as discovering new black holes outside our own galaxy, his work has changed how astronomers view rapidly feeding black holes and helped to better understand how they recycle energy, a problem fundamentally linked to galaxy evolution. Mr Urquhart is actively involved with science outreach within Western Australia through regular engagement with primary and high school students, and mentoring undergraduate students.  


Miss Claire Ross
PhD Candidate (The University of Western Australia)

Miss Lucy Furfaro
PhD Candidate (The University of Western Australia)

Mr Fernando Perez
PhD Candidate (The University of Western Australia)

Chevron Science Engagement Initiative of the Year

Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park
(Kings Park - Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority)

Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park is a place for connecting kids with nature and the unique home of Kings Park Education. It is a 60,000m2 outdoor precinct set in native bushland in Kings Park, with a public zone for families and an education zone for schools. Receiving around 80,000 visitors a year, with more than 20,000 students per year from kindergarten through to tertiary level, education programs are delivered outdoors in its “living classrooms”. Kings Park Education and Rio Tinto Naturescape work in tandem as ambassadors in leading science engagement and delivering a practical solution to evidence that children are spending less time outdoors.



Perth Observatory Volunteer Group Inc.

Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology

Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority

2017 Premier's Science Award Winners

Scientist of the Year 

In 2017 there were two joint-winners in the Scientist of the Year award category.

Professor Harvey Millar
Centre Director, Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology (The University of Western Australia) 
Professor Millar is an award-winning leader in plant science research with a focus on the function of proteins that enhance the energy efficiency of plants in harsh environments. His novel research on wheat and barley is opening new opportunities in crop improvement directly relevant to WA industries. Professor Millar is the National Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology (PEB) which is headquartered at UWA. Under his leadership, PEB now boasts the world’s largest concentration of specialist researchers in the energy efficiency of plants and leads its Australian activities from WA.

Professor Christobel Saunders
Professor of Surgical Oncology, Head, Division of Surgery (The University of Western Australia) 
Professor Saunders is a Consultant Surgeon at Royal Perth, St John of God and Fiona Stanley Hospitals, and Professor of Surgical Oncology at UWA. She is a leader in surgical practice and cancer research in Australia and internationally. She has a particular research interest in breast cancer including clinical trials of new treatments, supportive care, and translational and health services research which have led to better treatments for people with cancer and improved survival. Professor Saunders is directly involved in strategic planning of Australian cancer services and research through her senior roles on numerous cancer boards, networks and taskforces.


Dr Ravinder Anand

Chief Research Scientist (CSIRO)

Professor Donna Cross

Head, Health Promotion and Education Research (Telethon Kids Institute)

Professor Zheng-Xiang Li

Australian Laureate Fellow, Co-Director (Australia) of the Australia-China Joint Research Centre for Tectonics and Earth Resources, WA School of Mines (Curtin University)

Professor David Mackey

Managing Director, Lions Eye Institute and Professor of Ophthalmology, Centre for Ophthalmology and Visual Science, The University of Western Australia 

Professor Una Ryan

Professor in Biochemistry (Murdoch University) 

Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year 2017

Dr Asha Bowen
National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Early Career Fellow (Telethon Kids Institute) 

Dr Bowen is a clinician-NHMRC early career researcher at Telethon Kids Institute and Paediatric Infectious Diseases specialist at Princess Margaret Hospital. As leader of the Telethon Kids Institute Skin Team, Dr Bowen uses an integrated approach to reduce the burden of skin infections in Aboriginal children. Dr Bowen’s PhD was a world-first trial of the treatment of impetigo (a skin disease which can lead to life-threatening conditions) in remote Aboriginal children. The trial results have been translated into local, regional and national treatment guidelines. Dr Bowen is also leading the first comprehensive skin control program for WA, which aims to halve the incidence of skin infections in Kimberley Aboriginal children.


Dr Wensu Chen

ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award Fellow (Curtin University)

Dr Jun Li

Senior Lecturer/ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award Fellow (Curtin University)

Dr Anais Pages

Research Scientist (CSIRO) 


ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year 2017

Mr David Gozzard
PhD candidate (The University of Western Australia) 

Mr Gozzard is completing a PhD in experimental physics, developing stabilised transmission systems to send atomic clock signals over long distances with improved precision. This research has direct application to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project and the Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space (ACES) mission. His research has required significant collaboration with major national and international research organisations. Mr Gozzard has had success at numerous national and international science competitions and devotes considerable efforts to science outreach. Mr Gozzard promotes science to school and university students through presentations, demonstrations and social media, as well as through direct involvement with Astrofest and the Gravity Discovery Centre.


Mr Patrick Hayes

PhD candidate (The University of Western Australia) 

Ms Jessica Kretzmann

PhD candidate (The University of Western Australia) 

Mr Ryan Urquhart

PhD candidate (Curtin University)  

Chevron Science Engagement Initiative of the Year 2017

CoderDojo WA
Fogarty Foundation

CoderDojo WA is the WA node of CoderDojo, an open source network of fun, free and social computer programming clubs, Dojos, for young people aged seven to 17. The international CoderDojo movement was founded to address the looming worldwide shortage of computer programmers and highly skilled ICT professionals. The Fogarty Foundation initiated the CoderDojo WA network by launching the State’s first Dojo in 2013. Since then, the WA network has expanded to more than 100 WA Dojos. As a result, more than 2000 young Western Australians have been able to access opportunities to learn computer programming and develop their digital skills.


60 Second Science, Telethon Kids Institute

Old Ways, New Ways - Aboriginal Science Outreach Program, Edith Cowan University

TravelingGeologist, Curtin University  

2016 Premier's Science Award Winners

Scientist of the Year 

Professor Kingsley Dixon
Curtin Professor and Visiting Professor at Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (Curtin University)
Professor Dixon's efforts in conservation science, restoration ecology and plant science have been fundamental to conserving threatened species and transforming ecological restoration practice in Australia. 

His discovery of the specific chemical in smoke that is responsible for germination in Australian species has had widespread application, being valued at $100M per annum in terms of potential global benefits to agriculture, mining restoration and horticulture. As Foundation Director of Science at the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority for 32 years, he is acknowledged as the driving force behind the creation of its world-recognised research laboratories.


Professor Carol Bower
Senior Principal Research Fellow (Telethon Kids Institute)

Professor Zheng-Xiang Li
Australian Laureate Fellow, Co-Director (Australia) of the Australia-China Joint
Research Centre for Tectonics and Earth Resources, WA School of Mines (Curtin University)

Professor David Sampson
Director, Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis and Head, Optical+Biomedical Engineering Laboratory (The University of Western Australia).

2016 Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year

Dr Scott Draper                 
Senior Lecturer, School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering (The University of Western Australia)
Dr Draper is known internationally for his research in offshore fluid mechanics. He has developed models to optimise the configuration of offshore wind and tidal turbines for renewable energy, predict seabed scour and estimate the stability of offshore structures in extreme wave conditions. His research on marine renewable energy provided the first accurate assessment of marine renewable energy resources in the UK.

Across all fields of offshore fluid mechanics, Dr Draper has published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers, has worked on multiple Australian Research Council projects and has supervised award winning PhD and Master students.


Dr Kaiming Bi
Lecturer, ARC DECRA Fellow (Curtin University)

Dr James Fitzpatrick
McCusker Clinical Research Fellow in Aboriginal Child Health (Telethon Kids Institute); Director (PATCHES Paediatrics)

Dr Jun Li
Senior Lecturer/ARC DECRA Fellow (Curtin University)

2016 ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year

Mr Christopher Brennan-Jones   
PhD Candidate (The University of Western Australia / Ear Science Institute Australia)
Mr Brennan-Jones' PhD research focused on improving efficiency and access to ear and hearing healthcare services in Western Australia. He led an international consortium that assessed the reliability of automated hearing tests for use in the absence of specialists.

Mr Brennan-Jones discovered some common inconsistencies that, if not corrected, could result in missed diagnoses of middle ear disease or tumours. Building on this work, he has developed diagnostic protocols that can be applied to automated audiometry to correct these errors and is translating this research into practice, by establishing an Indigenous ear health program in the East Pilbara.


Carl Blair
PhD Candidate (The University of Western Australia)

Tim Rosenow
PhD Candidate (Telethon Kids Institute / The University of Western Australia)

Melanie Walls
PhD candidate (The University of Western Australia) 


2016 Chevron Science Engagement Initiative of the Year

Fireballs in the Sky (Curtin University)
The Desert Fireball Network aims to understand the early workings of the solar system by studying meteorites, fireballs and their pre-Earth orbits by capturing the paths of fireballs in the sky from multiple viewpoints. With this data, the fireball's pre-Earth orbit and eventual landing position are tracked. Fireballs in the Sky is the outreach arm of the project.

Over 89,000 Western Australians have engaged with the program through hands-on activities, talks and events, and it has received international media coverage. The citizen science smartphone app has had 23,000 downloads world-wide and in 2015 the app was awarded the National iAward for Innovation in Education.


iPREP WA (Edith Cowan University)

Old Ways, New Ways - Aboriginal science outreach program (Edith Cowan University)

2015 Premier's Science Award Winners

Scientist of the Year

Professor Mark Cassidy
Director, Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems, UWA

Professor Mark Cassidy is a distinguished civil engineer whose research has underpinned the safe and economic construction of oil and gas platforms in our oceans. His advice has been incorporated into the design of platform and pipeline infrastructure currently being constructed off the coast of Western Australia. As an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow, Professor Cassidy’s research seeks solutions to unlock the vast reserves of stranded gas in our remote and deep oceans, where the geotechnical response of the seabed sediment is poorly understood. Email:


Professor Shaun Collin
Winthrop Professor in the School of Animal Biology and Director of the Oceans Institute, UWA

Professor Richard Oliver
Chief Scientist, Centre for Crop and Disease Management, Curtin University

Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year

Dr Hannah Moore
Senior Research Fellow, Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines & Infectious Diseases, Telethon Kids Institute

Dr Moore, an epidemiologist, is currently investigating how to prevent and reduce serious respiratory infections in children. Her primary focus is Respiratory Syncytial Virus, and she has successfully developed the first model for how the disease develops and spreads in the community. Dr Moore’s impressive research career includes her being awarded various research grants, prizes and fellowships; most notably a Fellowship to attend the 64th Meeting of Nobel Laureates.


Dr Scott Draper
Senior Lecturer, School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering and the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems, UWA

Dr Nicole Smith  
Research Associate, School of Animal Biology/School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UWA

ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year

Mr Thomas Russell
PhD Candidate, International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research-Curtin University

Mr Russell's research into black holes is shaping our understanding of one of the greatest mysteries of the Universe. Using state-of-the-art facilities, including space-based and ground-based telescopes from around the world, he is studying how black holes extract and recycle energy from in-falling matter; an extremely efficient source of power that shapes the formation of stars, the evolution of galaxies and the distribution of matter in the Universe. 


Mr Christopher Brennan-Jones 
PhD Candidate, Ear Sciences Centre, UWA 

Ms Kalina Makowiecki 
PhD Candidate, Department of Experimental and Regenerative Neurosciences, UWA

Ms Melanie Walls 
PhD Candidate, School of Women’s and Infant’s Health, UWA

Chevron Science Engagement Initiative of the Year

Earth Science Western Australia (ESWA)
Earth Science Western Australia (ESWA) supports earth science education by developing teaching and learning resources, providing professional development for teachers, offering free classroom incursions, assisting with field experiences for students and supporting events. These services are freely available to schools across Western Australia for students and teachers from Kindergarten to Year 12. 


Fireballs in the Sky - Curtin University
Lotterywest BioDiscovery Centre - Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research

2014 Premier's Science Award Winners

Scientist of the Year

Professor Ian Small
Chief Investigator ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Professor Small's research focuses on understanding how plants capture, store and release energy. Investigating how genes are controlled, his discoveries have provided the basis for efficiencies in large food production with implications for agriculture and the environment.

Since coming to Western Australia as a Premier's Fellow in 2006, he has established the world leading Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence of Plant Energy Biology and attracted over $57 million ARC funding to the Centre. This year he was listed by Thomson-Reuters as one of the world's most highly-cited authors, ranking in the top one percent for his subject field and was recently announced as an ARC Australian Laureate Fellow.


Professor Colin MacLeod

Professor David Sampson 

Professor Steven Tingay

Curtin University

Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year

Dr Ryan Loxton
Senior Lecturer in Industrial Optimisation, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Curtin University

Dr Loxton's research focuses on developing new mathematical techniques to optimise industrial processes in areas including robotics, electronics and chemical engineering. He has published over 50 peer reviewed research papers and delivered key-note addresses at several international conferences.

He promotes the importance of science and mathematics to students through the Curtin Mathematics Enrichment Program and in 2012 was awarded a WA Young Tall Poppy Science Award. He currently holds three prestigious grants from the Australian Research Council, including an Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship.


Dr Prue Cormie

Associate Professor Paul Stanwix


ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year

Mr Mark Zammit
PhD Candidate, Curtin University

Mr Zammit's research focuses on modelling the collisions of atoms and molecules for application in fusion technology, materials research, cancer detection and radiotherapy treatment; and he has developed the world's most accurate model for describing some of these fundamental interactions of matter.

He has published nine papers in high impact journals and presented at over 20 national and international conferences. As a passionate promoter of science, Zammit has provided career and education advice to hundreds of students and is involved in a range of voluntary science engagement activities.


Mr Tobias Prosin

Murdoch University
Mr Thomas Russell

Curtin University

Chevron Science Engagement Initiative of the Year

Centre for Integrative Bee Research (CIBER) Science Engagement Initiative
CIBER's Science Engagement Initiative aims to increase community awareness about honeybees. It showcases the links from bees to pollination, food and honey and the industries and people that depend on them.

CIBER uses a variety of strategies to engage audiences, including an academy award nominated documentary, an annual public Honey Festival in the Swan Valley, a permanent honeybee exhibition at Scitech and a dedicated social media page encouraging users to follow ongoing activities.


Astrofest Astronomy WA
Dinosaur Discovery WA Museum

2013 Premier's Science Award Winners

Scientist of the Year

Professor Mark Randolph
Professor of Civil Engineering Centre for Offshore Foundations, UWA; Director, Advanced Geomechanics.

Professor Mark Randolph is a distinguished geotechnical engineer who has excelled both in academia and in solving real world issues for industry. Since the mid-1980s, Randolph has applied his expertise to meet the scientific and engineering challenges of our local offshore oil and gas industry. Randolph's contributions have ranged from analysis and design of piled foundations; to solutions for offshore foundations, anchoring systems and pipelines.

Most importantly, Randolph's leadership has established Perth as an internationally recognised hub for excellence in geotechnical engineering, attracting many international companies to seek solutions in Perth for their geotechnical engineering problems. Much of this innovative research has been adopted by industry internationally.  


Professor Igor Bray
Professor Stephen Powels
Professor Stephen Tingay

Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year

Associate Professor Shazzad Hossain
Research Associate Professor, ARC Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems, UWA

Associate Professor Shazzad Hossain is a geotechnical engineer who is pioneering a new field of research contributing to the mining industry, specifically in terms of rehabilitation of tailings. This is likely to be incorporated in the Western Australian Guidelines on the Safe Design and Operating Standards for Tailings storage. His research also focuses on developing safer foundations and anchoring systems for both shallow and deep water offshore oil and gas developments in Australian frontiers. Since completing his PhD in 2008, he has built a research team of seven and is an ARC Postdoctoral Fellow. 


Dr Hayley Christian
Dr Ryan Loxton 
Dr Debbie Silvester

ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year

Mr Tristan Clemons 
PhD Candidate, Chemistry and Biochemistry, UWA

Mr Tristan Clemons' research focuses on applying nanoparticle technology to treat heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer and central nervous system injuries. His cross disciplinary research has resulted in the filing of an international patent describing nanoparticles for imaging and drug delivery.

He is also committed to inspiring students to pursue science careers and is involved in a range of voluntary science engagement activities. He combines his academic work with sporting excellence, representing Australia in hockey. 


Mr Matthew Fraser
Mr Mark Zammit

Science Ambassador of the Year

Professor Myra Keep
Professor, Structural Geology and Tectonics, UWA

Over the last ten years Professor Myra Keep has developed a range of geological research, teaching and outreach activities in East Timor through significant collaboration with all levels of government, schools and the local community. She initiated the program and has raised all the required funds for her research and engagement activities.

Her outreach activities have included the training of young geologists, students, government officials and industry personnel leading to significant community development. She has been instrumental in the development of student links between UWA and East Timor. A number of these students have now returned to Timor as trained geologists, having completed degrees in Australia and elsewhere. 


Professor Ralph Martins
Professor David Pannell

Chevron Science Engagement Initiative of the Year

ARC CoE Plant Energy Biology's Education and Outreach Programs 

The ARC Centre for Excellence in Plant Energy Biology's Education and Outreach program includes a variety of strategies to engage the community with plant science. Programs target students, the general public, farmers and industry professionals and aim to promote the importance of science, increase the understanding of the importance of plants and their ability to capture, process and convert energy, and create dialogue between scientists, growers and the general public.

The program also showcases the fun and beauty of science, along with its benefits to crop productivity, West Australian agricultural exports, health, and our ability to protect the environment and economy from future threats like climate change and food shortages. 


South West Super Science Spectacular
The Ancient Science Initiative

2012 Premier's Science Award Winners

Scientist of the Year

Professor Peter Quinn
Director, International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research

Professor Quinn is a world renowned astrophysicist who has conducted pioneering research in galaxy formation and dark matter using large astronomical facilities and high performance supercomputing technologies.

His efforts to develop the State's radio astronomy capabilities have played a central role in the success of the Australian Square Kilometre Array campaign.


Professor Hans Lambers
Professor Stephen Powles.

Early Career Scientist of the Year

Associate Professor Ajmal Mian
Australian Research Fellow, The University of Western Australia 

Associate Professor Ajmal Mian has pioneered research in Australia on the challenging problem of 3D face and object recognition for a range of multidisciplinary applications.

Since graduating, he has built a research team of seven, comprising himself, one postdoctoral fellow and five PhD students. 


Dr Ullrich Eker
Dr Mark Paskevicius

Student Scientist of the Year 

Mr David Erceg-Hurn
Master of Clinical Psychology/PhD Student, The University of Western Australia

Mr Erceg-Hurn's 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.


Mr Terry Boyle
Ms Jennifer Girschik

Science Ambassador of the Year

Professor Steven Tingay
Director, Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy

Professor Tingay has played a key role in communicating the significance of radio astronomy and the Square Kilometre Array project to the public, the science community, industry and to government at a state, national and international level.


Professor Kevin Kenneally AM
Professor Jessica Meeuwig

Science Engagement Initiative of the Year

Engineers without Borders - High School Outreach Program 

Developed by the Western Australian Chapter of Engineers without Borders, this 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 Kimberley Marine Research Station (KMRS)

Educator of the Year

Mrs Mady (Marion) Colquhoun
Science Specialist Teacher, Armadale Primary School 

Mrs Mady Colquhoun is a dedicated teacher who has taken a significant leadership role within the primary science education community in Western Australia.

She has provided extensive input to the Australian Curriculum, is an active member of the Science Teachers' Association of WA and runs a range of extra-curricular activities for the school community.

2011 and prior Premier's Science Award Winners

2011 award winners

Scientist of the Year

Professor Richard Hobbs
Professor of Restoration Ecology, The University of Western Australia, Australian Laureate Fellow, Australian Research Council

Professor Hobbs is a distinguished ecologist who has worked untiringly to preserve key elements of our unique ecosystems for future generations of Western Australians. He is a leading researcher in an area of key importance for the State as it seeks solutions to the major environmental issues facing the state both now and in the future. His ongoing contributions have both local relevance and international reach.

Professor Hobbs’ research results have laid the foundations for important developments in our understanding of the management and conservation of ecosystems and landscapes, the management of invasive species, and the restoration of degraded ecosystems. He has maintained many long-term field experiments, the longest of which has now run for 29 years. Professor Hobbs has a demonstrated ability to mesh world-class science alongside working with managers and policy makers in environmental science.

He is widely regarded as one of the most prolific and highly cited ecologists in Australia. He has published 19 books, 200 refereed journal papers and 125 edited book chapters.

Early Career Scientist of the Year

Professor David White 
ARC Future Fellow, Professor, Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems, UWA

Professor White is a geotechnical engineer who is pioneering a new field of research into the behaviour of shallow seabed sediments. He is internationally renowned for devising analysis techniques for the response of foundations and pipelines laid on soft and unstable seabed sediments, and for the development of new tools for in situ characterisation of the seabed. These advances have been rapidly adopted in practice – results from his research are being used to assess the stability of all the major pipelines currently being designed to tap Australia’s offshore gas resources. Professor White’s research provides techniques that can overcome the unique challenges associated with the design of seabed pipelines and foundations in the unusual conditions faced by Australia’s offshore industry.

He left a lectureship at Cambridge University to become the youngest professor at UWA in 2007 at the age of 31 and currently holds an ARC Future Fellowship. Professor White is in wide demand as a speaker at industry and community forums, and at international conferences. He is also a strong proponent of science and engineering to the wider community.

Science Communication Initiative of the Year

Farm Business Resilience Program 

The Farm Business Resilience Program (FBR) is a partnership between the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA), Curtin University and the West Australian Rural Business Development Corporation that seeks to assist WA Farming Businesses undertake changes to farming practices in response to climate change and other external factors.

The key challenges to the program were developing: the 5 module curriculum; new delivery approaches; the logistics of operating across the state and multiple agricultural industries and in training and supporting 50 facilitators to deliver a new style of program.

Approximately 400 participants were involved from 30 locations, 36 groups and 67 local government areas over the 12 month period of the pilot program. At the outset of the program, 21% of participants stated they thought they were prepared or well prepared for drought and climate variability. This number increased to 55% by the conclusion of the program. This result has been truly remarkable and unique and exemplifies what can be achieved through listening to the needs of the community, developing appropriate materials and delivering the content in a participative learning style.

Science / Mathematics Educator of the Year: Secondary

Mr Heath Dullard 

L3 Science teacher, Pinjarra Senior High School

Heath Dullard is a passionate and enthusiastic teacher committed to ensuring the students in his regional school have similar enrichment opportunities to their metropolitan counterparts. Since commencing at Pinjarra SHS he has linked Pinjarra SHS into the SPICE science development program. He also initiated Pinjarra SHS’s involvement in the Thinking Science Program resulting in the school being selected to run the national pilot for the program. He continues to support the program’s growth by providing training and demonstration lessons of the program for other teachers.

The results of Mr Dullard’s work in the Thinking Science Program, which seeks to develop thinking cross curricula, are borne out by the improvement in his students’ achievement shown through Pinjarra’s MSE results in Science showing 20% of the cohort in the top 20% of the state and NAPLAN results show marked improvement against Year 7 NAPLAN data. The school Principal has stated that these are the best results she has seen in many years.

Science / Mathematics Educator of the Year: Primary

Mrs Linda Townend 

Science Specialist Teacher, Maylands Peninsula Primary

Linda Townend uses innovative strategies to engage her students, such as cartoons and puppets, and designed a collection of challenging science investigation activities. Each activity comprises a class set of resources and a teacher resource guide of suggestions on how to build on and develop students’ knowledge and skills across year levels.

Linda has been acknowledged with regional and state awards for her ability to assess and plan for students with different learning styles, needs and cultural backgrounds. To further foster student curiosity and enthusiasm for science, Linda set up weekly activities for students to engage in during free time or before school. She also has a science chat board in her classroom where she posts questions and offers different view points to challenge students’ thinking and encourage interaction.

2010 award winners

Western Australian Scientist of the Year 

Professor Michael Tobar 

Australian Laureate Fellow, UWA

Professor Tobar is a world leading scientist carrying out cutting-edge research in the invention, creation and applications of precise time, frequency and phase measurement techniques. Professor Tobar’s work has resulted in the most pure oscillators and precise measurement systems so far manufactured, with use in radar, telecommunications, fundamental physics and defence applications. His recent work has involved some of the most stringent testing of fundamental physics, including the testing of Einstein’s theories of relativity and fundamental constants. His research aims to examine and unite Einstein’s theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, and to provide new tools for industry to use.

Western Australian Early Career Scientist of the Year

Professor Eric May 

Chevron Chair in Gas Process EngineeringChevron Chair in Gas Process Engineering, UWA

Professor May’s research combines several aspects of engineering, physics and chemistry and can be described as ‘Fluid Science for the Next Generation of Natural Gas Engineering.’ His development of new techniques to more accurately measure gas properties has advanced fundamental science and improved engineering models. His progress is evidenced by having secured more than $5.5 million in funding for new research, constructed the infrastructure to conduct industry-driven projects and commenced the training of seven PhD students. In 2009 he was awarded the Australian National Metrology Institute Prize.

Western Australian Science Educator of the Year - Secondary 

Lynette Hillier

Science Teacher, Newton Moore SHS

Lynette is a passionate science teacher who develops and implements new curriculum material, catering for students of all levels. Lynette’s innovative science programs have elevated Human Biology from the weakest performing subject to the top performing subject at the school. She has also played a critical role in the development and implementation of exciting science programs in the school. She has worked with the Dolphin Discovery Centre and a number of local industry partners to develop and enhance the Marine Managers program which sees students monitoring dolphin populations.

Western Australian Science Educator of the Year - Primary 

Brooke Topelberg

Westminster PS

Brooke has facilitated positive and measurable changes in student attitudes, results and teacher involvement in science education. She has implemented a Primary Science Outreach Program and developed a collaborative Investigation in Science DVD. More than 200 copies of the DVD have been distributed to schools throughout the State. Brooke has also initiated an Upper School Science Challenge within the school, which involves an inspiring day of science activities. Due to the success of the initiative, she now coordinates the Upper School Science District Challenge between five schools within the Swan District.

Western Australian Science Outreach Initiative of the Year 

Marine Discovery West and the Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre

The Department of Fisheries through its Marine DiscoveryWest education programs, incorporates State-wide, integrated delivery of aquatic environmental education activities and programs, with a central education hub at the Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre in Perth. The programs engage the community to participate in and contribute to a sustainable future for Western Australia’s fisheries and aquatic ecosystems by delivering innovative and hands-on education activities, resources and programs for students, teachers and the wider community. The programs delivered Statewide and at the Discovery Centre reflect the science that underpins the sustainable management of the aquatic environment.

2009 award winners

Scientist of the Year

Professor Cheryl E Praeger AM FAA

Professor of Mathematics and Australian Research Council Federation Fellow, University of Western Australia

Professor Praeger, WA’s most highly-cited pure mathematician, leads a major research team in Group Theory and Combinatorics at The University of Western Australia. She is also a leading international researcher, renowned for her works in group theory, algebraic graph theory and combinatorics. Professor Praeger’s work has resulted in findings that have led to new thought being adopted by mathematicians worldwide.

Young Scientist of the Year

Research Associate Professor Kevin Pfleger

Head, Laboratory for Molecular Endocrinology, WA Institute for Medical Research and Chief Scientific Officer, Dimerix Bioscience

Professor Pfleger co-invented a novel technology to identify and study „G protein coupled receptors - a family of receptors found on the surface of cells that mediate communication with other cells. The receptors are extremely important in treating disease and are the target of about 50 per cent of all therapeutic drugs.

Science Educator of the Year - Primary

Mark Pager

Science Specialist Teacher, Cable Beach Primary School

As Primary Science Specialist and Kimberley District Science Programme Coordinator, Mr Pager has implemented science programs throughout Cable Beach Primary School and the wider community to improve science learning in the area. He has developed a number of useful resource and assessment tools and is committed to using science and literacy to create a successful learning journey.

Science Educator of the Year - Secondary

Richard Meagher

Senior Chemistry and Physics Teacher, Mt Lawley Senior High School

Mr Meagher displays exemplary classroom practice, engages extensively with external agencies and avidly promotes science as a career to his students. His passion for ICT has enabled him to engage students by using a variety of digital technologies in his teaching to deliver positive results.

Science Outreach Program of the Year


ECOCEAN is a WA-based not-for-profit group and the driving force behind the global campaign to protect the world’s declining population of whale sharks. The campaign is designed to monitor, research and encourage collaboration and discussion through its internet site.

2008 award winners

Premier's Prize for Western Australian Scientist of the Year

Professor Jorg Imberger 

Director, Centre for Water Research

Professor Imberger is a world leader in the field of water research and management. He established the internationally recognised Centre for Water Research at the University of Western Australia. Technologies created at the centre benefit more than 100 million people world-wide.

Premier’s Prize for Young Scientist of the Year

Dr Ben Corry

ARC Research Fellow, School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Science, University of Western Australia

Dr Corry has developed a strong independent research career in the field of molecular biophysics and significantly advanced the understanding of biological ion channels - the proteins that regulate electrical signalling between cells. He recently applied his understanding of biological pores to propose cheaper ways for generating clean drinking water.

Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Science Communication outside the Classroom


School of Anatomy and Human Biology, University of Western Australia

SymbioticA is an internationally recognised art and science collaborative research laboratory dedicated to the artistic research, learning and critique of life sciences. The first of its kind in the world, the laboratory enables artists to engage in wet biology practices and collaborate with scientists in a biological science department.

Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching: Secondary

Lorraine Ellis

Head of Science Learning Area, Newton Moore Senior High School

Lorraine Ellis is an energetic and enthusiastic science educator who has lifted the profile of science at Newton Moore by establishing the Science Specialist Program - Science Horizons, as well as the Wetlands Project, a hands-on course that enables students to save wetlands in their area. Her students have won numerous awards as a result of her teaching skills and the courses she has developed.

Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching: Primary

Richard Johnson

Science Support Teacher, Rostrata Primary School

Richard Johnson’s role as a science support teacher has improved the science knowledge and skills of the students at Rostrata Primary. He develops innovative, motivating and challenging lessons for his students, and is responsible for running professional learning courses for staff from five neighbouring schools.

Premier’s Prize for Science Student of the Year: University

Jacinta Delhaize

Student, Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Western Australia

Jacinta is completing her Honours in Astronomy and Astrophysics, tutors physics and assists with programs to promote astrophysics to high school students. She is also involved in many radio astronomy related programs outside of university, including the promotion of astronomy to high school students and preparations for the Square Kilometre Array project.

Premier’s Prize for Science Student of the Year: Secondary

André Rhine-Davis

Year 12 student, Carmel School

André is a gifted science student with a passion to teach others about science through tutoring and organising science events. He has an exceptional academic record in science-based subjects, with a distinction or high distinction average and has competed in many science and mathematic competitions.

2007 award winners

Western Australian Scientist of the Year

Professor David Blair

Professor of Physics at The University of Western Australia 

David Blair has worked for many years on the worldwide quest to detect gravitational waves. Alongside many students and colleagues at UWA, he has developed a very sensitive detector and the first sapphire clocks. Professor Blair is currently developing the gravitational wave observatory facility near Gingin and the exciting public facility, The Gravity Discovery Centre.

Western Australian Young Scientist of the Year

Dr Kristen Nowak

Research Fellow for the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research

Dr Nowak researches rare muscle disorders, which can sometimes lead to complete paralysis at birth. She has made world-first discoveries into the genetics of these diseases, helping to make Perth a global leader in diagnosing these muscle disorders. Dr Nowak is dedicated to finding a therapy for patients with actin-caused muscle diseases.

Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Science Communication Outside the Classroom

Mr Roger Harris

Centre Manager at Herdsman Lake Wildlife Centre

Roger Harris has seen a 300 per cent increase in school student participation in the WA Gould League’s education program in the last five years. Last year more than 13,000 students participated in the environmental science and indigenous learning experiences and Mr Harris received an Education Award of Excellence in recognition of his outstanding contribution. Mr Harris’ three keys to success in environmental education are partnership, collaboration and passion.

Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching: Tertiary

Professor Paul McMenamin

Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning), Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and School of Anatomy and Human Biology at The University of Western Australia

Professor McMenamin uses innovative methods, such as body painting and model building, to teach clinically important aspects of human anatomy. His role in the medical faculty is to inspire colleagues to strive towards excellence in their teaching and learning with the aim of producing better health professionals for WA.

Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching: Secondary

Mr Warwick Mathews

Shenton College 

Mr Mathews is a passionate educator with a remarkable capacity to create a sense of excitement and discovery. His work has been critical to the success of the science program at Shenton College, initiating programs including the student research vineyard, wine science, and the participation in UWA’s scientists in school program and the international biotechnology competition, the sanofi-aventis International BioGENEius Challenge of Western Australia.

Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching: Primary

Mr Allan Whittome

Badgingarra Primary School

Mr Whittome is a highly valued colleague among his peers, who holds a depth and intensity of passion for all things scientific. His science lessons are engaging, hands-on, energetic and constantly evolving for students and staff alike. He teaches science through interactive activities and integrating several learning areas.

2006 award winners

Premier’s Prize for Achievement in Science

Professor Graeme Hankey

Professor Hankey is a consultant neurologist and head of the Stroke Unit at Royal Perth Hospital and clinical professor at the School of Medicine and Pharmacology at The University of Western Australia. Professor Hankey is one of the world’s leading doctors in stroke research. Since 1999, Professor Hankey has led one of the world’s most comprehensive clinical trials.

Taking in a network of clinicians and research patients in 100 medical centres in 20 countries, the VITAmins TO Prevent Stroke (VITATOPS) trial is the only study comparing the effect of B-vitamin supplements with a placebo in preventing a recurrence of stroke. The professor is also involved with the Perth Community Stroke Study which tracked a group of stroke survivors for more than a decade. It is one of only two such studies in the world.

Premier’s Prize for Early Career Achievement in Science

Professor Mark Cassidy

By the age of 33, Professor Mark Cassidy has become a full professor at The University of Western Australia and director of the world-class Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems. Also a Rhodes Scholar, Professor Cassidy has built an international reputation in the field of offshore geotechnical engineering. His leading role in the Western Australian Energy Research Alliance pilot project and $1.4 million in research grants show his firm commitment to the development of WA science.

Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching: Tertiary

Christine Howitt

Christine Howitt is a lecturer in Primary Science Teacher Education at Curtin University of Technology. Her boundless passion for teaching science is evident in her innovative and refreshing curriculum. As a dedicated educator, she instils enthusiasm in her students and provides future generations with a better understanding of scientific processes and a positive attitude towards science.

Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching: Secondary

Alison Siciliano

At Christmas Island’s District High School, Alison Siciliano ensures science is taught throughout the school in a meaningful way. With a large student population of Chinese and Malay immigrants, she has been instrumental in creating a strategic plan for science teaching from Kindergarten to Year 10, catering for English as a Second Language learners. 

Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching: Primary

Monique Hill (joint winner)
Monique Hill’s dedication to science and the environment manifests itself in everything she does at Rossmoyne Primary School. She actively encourages students to experience real life science situations. She is involved in Primary Connections, a federally funded Science Literacy Program. Her efforts have elevated the status of science at the school.

Penny Kelliher (joint winner) 
Penny Kelliher believes that no child should be excluded from learning and has applied this to her role as a science specialist and deputy principal at Leeming Primary School. She has developed a cross-curricular program for students with learning and behaviour management difficulties such as ADHD. As a result of this hands-on program these students have engaged science learning and returned to their classrooms.

Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Science Communication

Fremantle Light and Sound Discovery Centre - Richard Rennie 

Since 2003, Fremantle Light and Sound Discovery Centre has been communicating science from the WA Museum’s Fremantle History facility. The centre demonstrates science concepts through a collection of rare and historic light and sound technologies and gadgets. The centre offers 25 educational programs for all learning levels, professional development for teachers and support for special events. Founder Richard Rennie has 37 years’ experience as a science teacher, and uses his skills to inspire young people and young teachers alike and performs his role as a volunteer.

2005 award winners

Premier’s Prize for Achievement in Science

Professor Simon Mallal

Profesor Mallal is the Executive Director of the Centre for Clinical Immunology and Biomedical Statistics at Royal Perth Hospital. Professor Mallal is an HIV physician and immunologist who, with his team, has been internationally credited for making several key advances in HIV research, including the discovery that the HIV virus can mutate to avoid recognition by the immune system. This crucial discovery has received worldwide acclaim in the search for more effective vaccines against the deadly disease.

Premier’s Prize for Early Career Achievement in Science

Dr Graham Hall

Dr Hall is a Senior Respiratory Scientist at Princess Margaret Hospital. His research work focuses on the development and validation of non-invasive research methods, allowing critical information to be obtained on the causes or progressions of disease as they relate to children’s respiratory medicine.

Premier’s Prizes for Excellence in Science Teaching: Tertiary

Professor Robert Stick

Chemistry Professor at The University of Western Australia

Premier’s Prizes for Excellence in Science Teaching: Secondary

Ms Julie Weber of Merriden High School (joint winner)
Mr Hao Ta of Willetton High School (joint winner)

Premier’s Prizes for Excellence in Science Teaching: Primary

Mrs Natalie Birrell

pre-primary science specialist at Huntingdale Primary School

2004 award winners

Premier's Prize for Achievement in Science

Professor Bruce Robinson

Professor of Medicine at the University of Western Australia, Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre

Premier's Prize for Early Career Achievement in Science

Dr Robert Hough

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at CSIRO Exploration and Mining

Premier's Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching: Tertiary

Associate Professor Adrianne Kinnear

Associate Professor of Natural Sciences, Edith Cowan University

Premier's Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching: Secondary

Mr Darren Hamley

Science Teacher at Willetton Senior High School (joint winner)

Mr Denis Smith

Head of Science Department at Esperance Senior High School (joint winner)

Premier's Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching: Primary

Ms Susan Doncon

Acting Deputy Principal at Woodlupine Primary School

2003 award winners

Premier’s Prize for Achievement in Science

Emeritus Professor Ian Ritchie

Professor Ritchie is recognised as the leading international expert in hydrometallurgy. He has received two international awards for his work and the 2003 International Conference in Hydrometallurgy was named after him and held in his honour. Professor Ritchie has made many novel discoveries in chemistry - spanning an unusually wide range of research areas. He also initiated and developed the A J Parker Co-operative Research Centre for Hydrometallurgy, which produces millions of dollars worth of research savings for the State’s mining industry.

Premier's Prize for Early Career Achievement

Dr Harvey Millar

Plant biochemist Dr Harvey Millar, from the University of Western Australia, won the Premier's Prize for Early Career Achievement.

Excellence in Science teaching: Tertiary

Dr Mauro Mocerino

Curtin University chemistry lecturer Dr Mauro Mocerino won the award for his commitment to fostering in students the ability and the desire to learn chemistry. Dr Mocerino has developed online pre-laboratory exercises for students studying chemistry for the first time.

Excellence in Science Teaching: Secondary

Ray Priskich

Trinity College’s Science Department Head Ray Priskich, has developed an Astronomy and Space Sciences Program that operates as an extensive online web document.

Excellence in Science Teaching: Primary

Mark Merritt

Marmion Primary School science teacher Mark Merritt, won for his commitment to providing professional development and training to teachers and educators in the area of science. 

2002 award winners

Premier’s Prize for Achievement in Science

Professor Barry Marshall

Professor Barry Marshall won the $10,000 major prize for his work related to ulcer causing bacterium. Professor Marshall had persevered to uncover the cause of a significant health problem that was suffered by half the world’s population. The research to identify the causes and to develop diagnostic testing and therapies to eradicate this bacterium was conducted in Perth. Professor Marshall was the co-discoverer of the ulcer causing bacterium Helicobacter pylori with Dr Robin Warren. Professor Marshall developed a blood test, a biopsy test and a breath test to easily diagnose the bacterium. All these methods are now widely used and Professor Marshall holds several patents related to diagnosis and treatment.

Premier’s Prize for Early Career Achievement

Dr Kliti Grice and Professor Andre Luiten (joint winners) 

Dr Kliti Grice from Curtin University and Professor Andre Luiten from the University of Western Australia were both awarded the Premier’s Prize for Early Career Achievement, receiving $5,000 each.

Dr Grice's work in geochemistry has application for petroleum exploration while Professor Luiten’s work as a physicist has attracted the attention of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Dr Grice has more than 10 years experience in carbon compound specific isotope research and is the only stable isotope geochemist with experience in both carbon and hydrogen compound specific analysis in WA and one of a few in Australia. Her research can be applied to a number of WA industries including petroleum exploration, water geochemistry and environmental geochemistry.

Professor Luiten had spent his career testing the validity of fundamental laws governing our understanding of the world by developing instruments to test scientific theory. His validation experiments of Einstein's theory of special relativity have a 50 times higher confidence of special relativity than previous attempts. Professor Luiten was invited to conduct research for NASA and along with his UWA team, awarded a $13 million Federal Government grant.