News

Professor Rick Shine wins NSW Science and Engineering Award



24 November 2011

Professor Rick Shine, from the School of Biological Sciences, has won the Plant and Animal Research category of the NSW Science and Engineering Awards.
Professor Rick Shine, from the School of Biological Sciences, has won the Plant and Animal Research category of the NSW Science and Engineering Awards.

Professor Rick Shine, from the School of Biological Sciences, has won the Plant and Animal Research category of the NSW Science and Engineering Awards, announced at a ceremony at Government House on 23 November 2011.

Professor Shine received his $5 000 prize from The Honourable Andrew Stoner MP, Deputy Premier of NSW, Minister for Trade and Investment, Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services, at the awards ceremony.

Previously known as the NSW Scientist of the Year Awards, the newly named NSW Science and Engineering Awards recognise the state's leading researchers conducting cutting edge work that generates economic, health, environmental or technological benefits for NSW.

Professor Shine won his NSW Science and Engineering Award for the excellence and impact of his research on the ecology and evolutionary biology of Australian reptiles and amphibians. His research has transformed our understanding of big questions in biology, but also paved the way for innovative and effective solutions to practical problems in wildlife conservation.

"It's an honour to win the NSW Science and Engineering Award for Plant and Animal Research. It's a great recognition of my lab's work on a number of problems facing native reptiles and amphibians, as well as research on introduced amphibians such as cane toads," said Professor Shine.

The award recognises work conducted over the past five years, a period in which Professor Shine has published 230 scientific papers and been cited by other scientists in their papers more than 6 000 times.

"Our work has identified processes that endanger NSW snakes and lizards, and we've devised and field-tested solutions to those threats. The award also recognises the fact that I've worked closely with state-based management agencies to implement my results," said Professor Shine.

"Working on the ecological impacts of invasive cane toads, our results have led to a major re-think by federal authorities on how to mitigate those impacts. Specific work on cane toad pheromones has revealed novel opportunities to control cane toads by exploiting the chemical arsenal that toads use to compete with each other."

Another example of his effective conservation solutions, is his work showing that selective tree-felling and the provision of artificial shelter sites can substantially increase biodiversity in the vulnerable rock-dwelling reptile populations of coastal NSW.

In addition to his outstanding research, Professor Shine has invested considerable effort in communicating his research to the general public through many media appearances, articles in popular magazines and developing and contributing to websites specifically designed for non-scientists.

The School of Biological Sciences has dominated these awards since their creation in 2008, with Professor Chris Dickman winning the Plant and Animal Sciences category in 2010 and Professor Steve Simpson winning NSW Scientist of the Year in 2009.

In addition to Professor Shine's award in Plant and Animal Research, eight other categories of NSW Science and Engineering Awards were presented on 23 November, including the categories of Climate Change and Environment; Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy; Biomedical Sciences and Engineering; Engineering and Information and Communications Technology; Emerging Research; Invention; Innovation in Public Sector Sciences and Engineering; and Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education. Read more about the NSW Science and Engineering Awards at: http://www.business.nsw.gov.au/networking-and-events/awards/nsw-science-engineering-awards

Contact: Carla Avolio

Phone: 02 9351 4543

Email: 170c25354a6b18141605301526214b530a5429492915375f3922