Science

Award: Premier's Prize for oceanographer

Scientia Professor Trevor McDougall
Monday, 23 October, 2017
Deborah Smith

For discoveries that have influenced understanding of ocean dynamics and their key role in the climate, Scientia Professor Trevor McDougall has won a prestigious NSW Premier’s Prizes for Science and Engineering.

The annual prizes, awarded in nine categories, reward leading researchers, innovators and educators for cutting-edge work that has led to economic, environmental, health, social or technological benefits for New South Wales.

Professor McDougall, from UNSW Science, and two other UNSW winners, Professor Maria Kavallaris from UNSW Medicine and Dr Brett Hallam, from UNSW Engineering, will be presented with their awards this evening by Premier Gladys Berejiklian at a ceremony at Government House. 

Ms Berejiklian said the prizes recognize the contributions that scientists and engineers make to our everyday lives.

“A strong and dynamic research and development system is critical to driving innovation in the state’s economy,” she said. “This year’s prizes again demonstrate NSW has some of the world’s best and brightest scientists and technologists across a diverse range of disciplines right here in our own backyard.”

NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Professor Mary O’Kane said: “The standard of nominations for this year’s prizes was again very high. I congratulate all of this year’s winners and thank them for the outstanding contribution they have made to science and engineering in NSW.”

Professor McDougall, from the UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistic, won the award for Excellence in Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry and Physics.

Scientia Professor Trevor McDougall with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian 

As an internationally renowned researcher, his work on ocean mixing processes and temperature and salinity variables has greatly improved ocean climate models and changed the way oceanographic data is analysed. In particular, his recent research has forced a major rethink of how the deep ocean moves.

He holds an ARC Laureate Fellowship and is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, CSIRO and the Australian Academy of Science.

Professor Maria Kavallaris, of  the Children’s Cancer Institute, won the award for Leadership in Innovation in New South Wales. She is an internationally recognised authority in cancer biology research and nanomedicine therapeutics.

Dr Brett Hallam, from the UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, won the award for Energy Innovation in New South Wales for his research on silicon solar cells.

Professor Sally Dunwoodie, of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, will also be awarded the Excellence in Medical Biological Sciences prize for her research on the genetic and environmental causes of birth defects.

The $60,000 award for NSW Scientist of the Year went to Professor Gordon Wallace of the University of Wollongong, for his ground-breaking work fusing robotics with human biology.