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Win for early career researcher

8 October 2015
Dr Michael Bowen, from the School of Psychology, has won the NSW Early Career Researcher of the Year award

Research on a novel drug treatment for alcohol-use disorders - and a novel class of compounds targeting social deficits in psychiatric neurological disorders - has been recognised in the NSW Premier’s Prizes for Science and Engineering.

Dr Michael Bowen, from the School of Psychology, has won the NSW Early Career Researcher of the Year award, the first time this prize has been offered as part of the NSW Premier’s Prizes for Science and Engineering.

He received his trophy and $5000 prizemoney from Premier The Hon Mike Baird and NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Professor Mary O’Kane at the awards night at Government House on 7 October 2015.    

“It's a huge honour to receive this recognition of my work, but it's also fantastic that the significance of my broader field of neuropsychopharmacology has been recognised through this award,” said Dr Bowen.

“The establishment of this award sends a clear message to NSW's early career scientists and engineers that their work is appreciated by this state and that if they stay here and work hard, their efforts will be recognised.”

Dr Bowen has made significant contributions to his field of research and has received a prestigious National Health and Medical Research (NHMRC) Early Career Fellowship – the Peter Doherty Biomedical Research Fellowship.

Some of his most important work to date has been co-inventing a novel drug treatment for alcohol-use disorders and a novel class of compounds targeting social deficits in psychiatric and neurological disorders, such as autism. These disorders affect the lives of many Australians and many millions more around the world, but unfortunately the treatment options currently available for these disorders are severely limited. Michael is hopeful that his work will help to change this.

In recent years Dr Bowen’s research has led to clinical trials, patents, many highly-cited papers in top scientific journals, competitive research funding, his NHMRC Fellowship, numerous high-profile national and international research awards, more than 20 invited talks at national and international conferences and public forums, and worldwide media coverage.

“Premier Mike Baird and Chief Scientist and Engineer Mary O'Kane congratulated me on my award and emphasised how much they value the work early career scientists and engineers are doing in NSW,” said Dr Bowen.

At the awards night, Premier The Hon Mike Baird said, “I am very proud to host the Premier’s Prizes for Science and Engineering which recognise excellence and reward cutting-edge research in NSW. I commend the researchers and educators who have been awarded prizes tonight.

“This event allows us to honour and celebrate your research efforts, clever ideas and unwavering dedication to your chosen field.”

Professor Mary O’Kane, NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, said: “The number of entries for the NSW Early Career Researcher of the Year category was significantly higher than any of the other categories, making this prize very hotly contested! These prizes give us an opportunity to recognise and reward the outstanding work, indubitable talent and brilliant minds of researchers in NSW.”

Verity Leatherdale

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