Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

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Each year the Australian Government honours Australia’s best scientists, innovators, and science teachers through the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science.

The 2018 winners were announced at a prize ceremony in Canberra on Wednesday 17 October.  

Media materials for the PM’s Prize winners are available below. Contact Niall on 0417 131 977 or via email at niall@scienceinpublic.com.au to arrange interviews with the winners.

Read more about the history of the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science and all past recipients at the Australian Government’s Science website.

2016 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science

Defending Australia’s snakes and lizards

Richard Shine

Rick Shine (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)

Rick Shine (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)

Northern Australia’s peak predators—snakes and lizards—are more likely to survive the cane-toad invasion thanks to the work of Professor Richard Shine. [click to continue…]

2016 Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation

Fairness underpins efficiency: the profitable innovations saving Australia billions

Michael Aitken 

Michael Aitken (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)

Michael Aitken (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)

Global stock markets are fairer and more efficient thanks to the work of Professor Michael Aitken. Now he’s applying his information technology and markets know-how to improve health, mortgage, and other markets. He says there are billions of dollars of potential savings in health expenditure in Australia alone, that can go hand in glove with significant improvements in consumers’ health. [click to continue…]

2016 Prime Minister’s Prize for New Innovators

Creating new manufacturing jobs by replacing glass and metal with plastic

Colin Hall

Colin Hall (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)

Colin Hall (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)

Dr Colin Hall and his colleagues have created a new manufacturing process that will allow manufacturers to replace components made from traditional materials like glass, in cars, aircraft, spacecraft, and even whitegoods—making them lighter and more efficient. [click to continue…]

2016 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year

Re-engineering nature to fight for global health

Richard Payne

Richard Payne (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)

Richard Payne (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)

Richard Payne makes peptides and proteins. He sees an interesting peptide or protein in nature, say in a blood-sucking tick. Then he uses chemistry to recreate and re-engineer the molecule to create powerful new drugs, such as anti-clotting agents needed to treat stroke. [click to continue…]

2016 Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year

Conservation that works for governments, ecosystems, and people

Kerrie Wilson 

Kerrie Wilson (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)

Kerrie Wilson (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)

What is the value of the services that ecosystems provide—services such as clean air, water, food, and tourism? And what are the most effective ways to protect ecosystems? Where will governments get the best return on their investment in the environment? These questions are central to the work of Associate Professor Kerrie Wilson. [click to continue…]

2016 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools

Turning students into scientists

Suzy Urbaniak

Suzy Urbaniak (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)

Suzy Urbaniak (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)

Geoscientist Suzy Urbaniak combined her two loves—science and education—by becoming a science teacher 30 years after finishing high school. But she couldn’t believe it when she saw how little the teaching styles had changed over the years. [click to continue…]

Media overview: 2015 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

Announced Wednesday 21 October 2015

This post includes: media call information, summary of recipients and links to the full profiles, photos and videos.

Prizes were announced at a press call: 12.30 pm Wednesday 21 October 2015, Great Hall, Parliament House, Canberra with the winners, and the Chief Scientist.

Dinner: from 7 pm 21 October, Great Hall Parliament House

The winners are:

  • Graham Farquhar (ANU, Canberra)—Prime Minister’s Prize for Science
  • Graeme Jameson (University of Newcastle)—Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation
  • Cyrille Boyer (UNSW)—Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year
  • Jane Elith (University of Melbourne)—Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year
  • Ken Silburn (Casula High School)—Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools
  • Rebecca Johnson (Windaroo State School)—Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools

Read on for more about the 2015 winners.

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Address to Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science Dinner

22 October 2015
Parliament House, Canberra
Prime Minister
E&OE

Address to Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science Dinner | Prime Minister of Australia

Well, thank you very much, Christopher, and can I say right at the outset, before I embark on the extravagant praise that is due to Ian Chubb, can I second the remarks that Christopher made about his predecessor in the industry and science portfolio, Ian Macfarlane.

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2015 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year

Making polymers with light

A/Prof Cyrille Boyer

Cyrille Boyer_headshot

Cyrille Boyer (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)

Cyrille Boyer uses light to make new and complex polymers.

It’s the latest in a series of techniques that have enabled him to create materials which are being applied in areas as widespread as non-stick coatings, anti-fouling technology, precision drug delivery, medical diagnosis and imaging. [click to continue…]

2015 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science – Secondary teaching

Bringing students to science

Ken Silburn

Kenneth Silburn_headshot

Ken Silburn (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)

Fifteen years ago Casula High School was just an average state school in Sydney’s south-western suburbs with just eight students doing science at year 12. But something extraordinary has happened. Two-thirds of Year 11 and 12 students now choose science subjects and they are performing well above the state average. [click to continue…]

2015 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science – photos of winners

  • For photos from the night, email Niall on niall@scienceinpublic.com.au
  • Graham Farquhar – Prime Minister’s Prize for Science
  • Graeme Jameson – Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation
  • Cyrille Boyer – Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year
  • Jane Elith – Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year
  • Ken Silburn – Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools
  • Rebecca Johnson – Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools

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Media release from the Prime Minister and the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP

21 October 2015
Prime Minister
Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science
The Hon. Christopher Pyne MP

OUR BRIGHTEST SCIENCE MINDS RECEIVE PRESTIGIOUS PM’S PRIZES

An Australian National University professor whose work has transformed our understanding of the world’s most important biological reaction – photosynthesis – is one of the recipients of the prestigious Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, announced today.

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