TALL POPPY SCIENCE AWARDS
The Hon. ROBYN PARKER
[6.01 p.m.]: As a board member of the Australian Institute of Policy and Science I would like to congratulate all winners of the New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory Young Tall Poppy Science Awards, which were presented at a ceremony here in Parliament House last Thursday night. Thirteen young scientists were selected for their passion and excellence in research achievements and communicating science. They are in the early stages of their careers and are already making discoveries. They represent the future of great science in Australia. They are inspiring others to take up a career in science. Indeed, that is what the Tall Poppy Awards are for. It is not a monetary award; it is an award that recognises achievements but encourages participants to go out into schools and the public arena to promote science as a valid and exciting career option and encourage young people to keep participating in science at school. We have noticed a great drop in those numbers in recent years.
This is the eleventh year of the Tall Poppy campaign and previous winners have gone on to win more senior science awards such as the Eureka Prize, the Prime Minister's Prize for Science and the Cosmos
magazine Bright Sparks Awards. Tall Poppy Awards have been presented to more than 150 researchers and scientists in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory in such fields as medical research, health care, basic sciences, engineering, information technology, veterinary science and environmental studies.
The winners come from broad and diverse fields. The 2008 winners were: Associate Professor Ian Anderson from the University of Western Sydney, who is studying the influence of carbon dioxide levels on the abundance of fungi and their capacity to enhance carbon sequestration in Australian forests; Dr Kathy Belov from the University of Sydney, who studies immunity, health and disease in our native wildlife; Dr Culum Brown from Macquarie University, whose research aims to understand the evolution and development of fish behaviour and apply this to conservation and fisheries; Professor Bryan Gaensler from the University of Sydney, who studies the static and crackle of radio waves produced by stars and galaxies to study magnetic fields in the universe; Associate Professor Rebecca Ivers from the George Institute for International Health, who is conducting studies to measure injury in motor vehicle accidents and contributing to effective injury prevention programs; Dr Malcolm McLeod from the Australian National University, who is conducting research into the synthesis of organic molecules to solve real-world problems such as treating drug resistant superbugs and catching sports drug cheats; Dr Ben McNeil from the University of New South Wales, whose research focuses on oceanic carbon dioxide uptake and developing better greenhouse gas emission and energy policies; Dr Angela Moles from the University of New South Wales, whose research aims to understand the different ecological strategies that plants use when they grow in different environments—she featured on the Catalyst
program that same evening; Dr Ajay Narendra from the Australian National University, whose research aims to understand the mechanisms that aid decision making in the day-to-day life of animals; Dr Peter Rutledge from the University of Sydney, whose research crosses many areas of chemistry including developing new antibiotics; Dr Pall Thordarson from the University of New South Wales, whose research interests are in developing new molecular devices and materials for applications in fields such as biosensing and tissue engineering; and Dr David Wilson from the University of New South Wales, who works on developing models to describe and forecast HIV-AIDS.
It was a fantastic night. As I said, one of the award winners featured on ABC television programs Catalyst
and The Science Show
. I congratulate all winners. Not only are they an inspiration to high school students seeking a career in science; they are also enriching our nation and our knowledge through their work. New South Wales's first Chief Scientist and Scientific Engineer, Mary O'Kane, was present in the audience on the night. She is a previous recipient of a Tall Poppy Award and has gone on to a great career in science. It was encouraging to see her there supporting young scientists. We look forward to watching her career and the contribution she will continue to make to science in New South Wales. [Time expired.