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Globally Renowned Oceanographer Trevor McDougall Named NSW Scientist of the Year


Emeritus Professor Trevor McDougall AC FRS FAA from UNSW Sydney has been named NSW Scientist of the Year in this year’s NSW Premier’s Prizes for Science & Engineering.

Professor McDougall was one of 10 exceptional researchers, innovators and educators honoured at the 2023 Premier’s Prizes for Science & Engineering, held at Government House tonight.

Professor McDougall’s award, which comes with $60,000 prize money, follows his outstanding work on the ocean’s role in climate change, physical oceanography and as the world’s foremost authority on ocean thermodynamics.

Along with the top prize, nine category winners each received $5,000:

  • Excellence in Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry or Physics – Dr Anthony Murphy FAIP FInstP (CSIRO)
  • Excellence in Biological Sciences (Ecological, environmental, agricultural and organismal) – Professor Shinichi Nakagawa FRSN (UNSW Sydney)
  • Excellence in Medical Biological Sciences (Cell and molecular, medical, veterinary and genetics) – Professor Catherine Sherrington FAHMS FACP (University of Sydney)
  • Excellence in Engineering or Information and Communications Technologies – Distinguished Professor Jie Lu AO FIEEE FIFSA Australian Laureate Fellow (University of Technology Sydney)
  • NSW Early Career Researcher of the Year (Biological Sciences) – Dr Deborah Burnett BVSc BSc (Vet) PhD (Garvan Institute of Medical Research)
  • NSW Early Career Researcher of the Year (Physical Sciences) – Dr Chang Xu (University of Sydney)
  • Leadership in Innovation in NSW – Professor Michael Biercuk (University of Sydney)
  • Innovation in NSW Public Sector Science and Engineering – Dr Jodi Rowley (Australian Museum and UNSW Sydney)
  • Innovation in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics Teaching in NSW – Annie-Louise Martin (PLC Sydney)

NSW Premier Chris Minns said:
“It’s an honour to recognise just some of our state’s most outstanding experts, scientists and engineers.

“Professor McDougall’s outstanding work on the ocean’s role in climate have positioned Australia and our state at the forefront of ocean physics and climate research."

NSW Scientist of the Year, Emeritus Professor Trevor McDougall AC FRS FAA said:
“It is an amazing honour to receive this award from the NSW Government, reflecting how the State is punching above its weight in climate research, with the discoveries made here impacting the whole world. 

“The more we learn about how the climate system works on this planet, it become more obvious how fragile it is, and how important it is to decarbonise our economies.”

Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation Anoulack Chanthivong said:
“This year’s winners are a testament to the diversity of strengths in the NSW research community.

“This was a great chance to recognise the enormous contribution experts like Professor McDougall make to this state.”

NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer Professor Hugh Durrant-White said:
“Professor McDougall’s research has improved the understanding of the effects of climate change and has led to the discovery of several new ocean mixing processes, and the development of new methods of analysing oceanographic data.

“I congratulate Professor McDougall and our category winners and thank them for their outstanding contributions to science, engineering and education in NSW.”

Full details of the 2023 Premier's Prizes for Science & Engineering winners can be viewed at this webpage.

Rheuben Freelander | Minister Chanthivong | 0422 044 390