Australia’s highest-profile science awards, the Eureka Prizes, has recognised four University of Sydney researchers at the “Oscars of Australian science” on Wednesday night.
University of Sydney academics Professor Thomas Maschmeyer, Professor Nalini Joshi and Associate Professor Elizabeth New between them won all categories for scientific leadership, including Emerging Leader in Science, Leadership in Innovation and Science and Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers.
Professor Tony Weiss won the Eureka Prize for Innovation in Medical Research for his development and commercialisation of fast-acting surgical glue, MeTro and innovation in synthetic biomaterials.
“What stellar recognition for our academic community with seven nominations over five categories, resulting in four wins," said Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence.
"To have this acknowledgement from the science community is testament to the impact not only of our research and innovation but our culture of fostering leadership. We are immensely proud of all our Eureka Prizes winners, all of them having excelled in their own fields in their unique ways.”
Presented annually, the prestigious Australian Museum Eureka Prizes rewards excellence in the fields of scientific research and innovation, science leadership, school science and science communication.
The awards, now in their 19th year, were presented at a gala dinner at the Sydney Town Hall at the largest national celebration of Australian science.
With four winners from five finalists the University of Sydney has taken the lion’s share of prizes in 2018.
University of Sydney winners are:
Sydney’s research and its impact were recognised for:
Professor Iain Young, Dean of the Faculty of Science, said: “We are delighted to be recognised for our leadership in this annual celebration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. I’d like to congratulate all four of our outstanding winners.”
Winner of the Eureka Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science, Professor Thomas Maschmeyer has taken his decades of research in chemistry and applied this to real-world problems with spectacular results. The companies he has founded are active on four continents and worth millions of dollars.
Professor Maschmeyer from Sydney Nano and the School of Chemistry was recognised for his transformative and innovative leadership in the science of renewables. He said: “Using our planet’s resources more carefully to create a more sustainable future is an exhilarating and rewarding journey. I am very grateful to all my students and colleagues with whom I shared the ride – Australia and the world will be a better place because of them.”
Professor Nalini Joshi from the School of Mathematics and Statistics, was recognised for her leadership in mentoring and her support for women in science. She said: “Mentoring is sharing subtle ways of seeing the world. It helps people to hear the world in stereo and to see it in 3D. The people I have mentored have helped me grow in ways I never anticipated. I am deeply honoured to have been nominated for and won this award.”
Professor Tony Weiss’s work over two decades has made him a world leader in his field and his patented biomaterials inventions recently led to Allergan - the multinational behind Botox - acquiring his university spin-off Elastagen.
Professor Weiss from the Charles Perkins Centre, Sydney Nano and the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, said he was thrilled to receive the Eureka Prize. “I am delighted to thank the many amazing people who have contributed along the way,” he said. “This is a wonderful recognition of the value of biomedical innovation in Australia.”
Associate Professor Elizabeth New from Sydney Nano and the School of Chemistry said she was humbled to receive recognition at the Eureka Prizes. She said: “I am grateful to all those who have demonstrated leadership to me and I hope that through this award I will have the opportunity to advocate for continued improvement in conditions for young academics.”