Premier's Science Awards

The Premier's Science Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding scientific research and engagement taking place in Western Australia.
Government of WA logo; Premier's Science Awards 2021 logo; Celebrating 20 years logo

The awards are a keystone in the Western Australian government’s efforts to raise the profile of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in Western Australia. Over the years, awards alumni have become important ambassadors for the state, helping to inspire future generations to take up courses and careers in STEM.

Meet the 2021 winners

The 2021 winners of the Premier's Science Awards were announced at the awards ceremony on Monday 16 August 2021, held at the WA Museum Boola Bardip. Meet the winners of the 2021 Awards below.

You can follow the Premier’s Science Awards using the hashtag #WASciAwards. View the previous Premier’s Science Award winners.

Scientist of the Year - Winner

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Awarded to a world class scientist who, over the past 10 years, has demonstrated excellence in a field of science, scientific research or technological advancement.

Professor Eric May
The University of Western Australia

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
The University of Western Australia

Professor Zheng-Xiang Li
Curtin University

Professor Britta Regli-von Ungern-Sternberg
The University of Western Australia | Perth Children’s Hospital | Telethon Kids Institute

Professor Christopher Reid
Curtin University

Professor Craig Valli
Edith Cowan University

Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year - Joint Winners

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Awarded to an outstanding scientist who is within the first five years of completing their highest degree and who has demonstrated excellence in a field of science, scientific research or technological advancement.

Associate Professor Edward Litton
The University of Western Australia | 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
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
The University of Western Australia

Dr Eleanor Sansom
Curtin University

Dr Alex Tang
The University of Western Australia

ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year - Joint Winners

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Awarded to an outstanding postgraduate student who has demonstrated a commitment to science at an early stage and shows great promise in reaching the highest levels of excellence.

Liam Scarlett
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
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
The Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research | The University of Western Australia

Eleanor Dunlop
Curtin University

Katherine Landwehr
Curtin University | Telethon Kids Institute

Shell Aboriginal STEM Student of the Year - Winner

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Awarded to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander undergraduate or postgraduate student who has demonstrated excellence in STEM studies.

Daniel Curran
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
The University of Western Australia | Telethon Kids Institute

Chevron Science Engagement Initiative of the Year - Winner

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Recognises an initiative that has made an outstanding contribution to community awareness, interest and/or participation in science in Western Australia.

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

Official sponsors and supporters

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The department gratefully acknowledges the official sponsors and supporters of the awards.

The Premier’s Science Awards are proudly sponsored by Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and Woodside.

The Premier’s Science Awards are also supported by Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University, The University of Western Australia, CSIRO, Western Australian Museum and Telethon Kids Institute.

a group of logos from the sponsors

Apply for an award

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Applications for the 2021 Awards are now closed.

If you would like to receive information about applications for the 2022 Awards please email

Page reviewed 17 August 2021