The NSW Premier's Prizes for Science & Engineering seek to recognise excellence in science and engineering, and reward leading researchers for cutting-edge work that has generated economic, environmental, health, social or technological benefits for New South Wales.
The Prizes replace the NSW Science & Engineering Awards, held annually since 2008, and reflect the State Government's strong commitment to the local research and development community.
The Prizes also aims to raise community awareness and appreciation of the important contribution scientists and engineers make to our daily lives, and encourage careers in both fields.
The top award, the prestigious NSW Premier's Prize for Scientist of the Year, will be awarded to an outstanding individual who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of science and/or engineering which has benefited or has the potential to benefit the people of New South Wales.
Laureate Professor Scott Sloan from the University of Newcastle was named the NSW Scientist of the Year on Wednesday 7 October 2015.
Professor Sloan, who leads the $14-million Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Geotechnical Science and Engineering, has pioneered new methods to predict the collapse states of geostructures such as roads and buildings – allowing engineers to design cheaper and safer civil infrastructure around the globe.
He was presented a trophy and $55,000 cash prize at a ceremony at Government House, Sydney, which was attended by the Governor of New South Wales and Patron of the Prizes, His Excellency General David Hurley AC DSC (Ret'd), as well as Senior Ministers, the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer, academia, and members of the R&D community.
The Premier also announced the eight category award winners who each received a trophy and $5000 cash prize. The category prize winners were:
1. Excellence in Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry and Physics
Winner: Professor Victor Flambaum, University of New South Wales
2. Excellence in Biological Sciences (Ecology, environmental, agricultural, organismal)
Winner: Emeritus Professor John Patrick, University of Newcastle
3. Excellence in Medical Biological Sciences (Cell and molecular, medical, veterinary and genetics):
Winner: Scientia Professor George Paxinos AO, University of New South Wales
4. Excellence in Engineering and Information and Communications Technologies:
Winner: Scientia Professor Mark Bradford, University of New South Wales
5. NSW Early Career Researcher of the Year:
Winner: Dr Michael Bowen, The University of Sydney
6. Leadership in Innovation in NSW:
Winner: Professor Christoph Arns, University of New South Wales
7. Innovation in NSW Public Sector Science and Engineering:
Winner: Dr Hutton Oddy, NSW Department of Primary Industries
8. Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education in NSW:
Joint Winner: Ms Sheila Pooviah, James Ruse Agricultural High School
Joint Winner: Mr Eddie Woo, Cherrybrook Technology High School
"I commend the researchers and educators who have been awarded Prizes tonight and all those who were nominated," Mr Baird said. "Your research efforts, clever ideas and unwavering dedication to your chosen field have contributed significantly to our great State."
Chief Scientist & Engineer, Professor Mary O'Kane, also paid tribute to the prize winners and nominees.
"The number of nominations grows higher every year, and the calibre of entries is nothing short of excellent – this makes the judging process both exciting and challenging," Professor O'Kane said.
"I congratulate the winners on this significant achievement, and thank them for their contribution to knowledge in NSW," she said.
Ms Maryse Delorie, Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer
Phone: 02 9338 6616
The winners of the 2015 NSW Premier's Prizes for Science & Engineering at Government House, Sydney.