Floodplain studies win rich reward

Celine Steinfeld in the field
Thursday, 21 May, 2009

Research into the sustainable management of floodplains has netted UNSW doctoral student Ms Celine Steinfeld an important $60,000 award  - the inaugural Peter Cullen Postgraduate Scholarship.

The NSW Water Minister, Mr Phil Costa, announced the prestigious prize during the Australian Water Association Awards Dinner held at Darling Harbour this week.

Mr Costa said: "This is a very prestigious scholarship that honours the work and achievements of the late Professor Peter Cullen.

"It gives me great pleasure to present the first scholarship to Ms Steinfeld, whose  studies into water management in the Macquarie Marshes and Gwydir Wetlands will  assist our understanding of NSW floodplains."

As the scholarship recipient, Ms Steinfeld will receive $20,000 each year for three years to help with the cost of her studies. She will also be invited to participate in a mentoring program run by the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, of which Professor Cullen was a founding member.

"Professor Cullen was larger than life and had a great passion for using sound science to help inform decision-making and water management by all levels of government," Mr Costa said.

Ms Steinfeld said it is a tremendous honour to receive the inaugural Scholarship: "It inspires me to pursue research into the science and management of our precious  wetlands and rivers.

"This scholarship gives me an opportunity to access key wetland systems, explore emerging wetland mapping techniques and engage with the scientific community and specialists within government."

Her PhD studies are supervised by Professor Richard Kingsford, of the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

The Peter Cullen Postgraduate Scholarship will be awarded each year. Applications for 2010 will be advertised later this year.

The scholarship is co-sponsored by NSW Government water agencies including the Department of Water and Energy, Sydney Catchment Authority, State Water, Hunter Water and Sydney Water.

Media contact: Peter McCabe 0439 707 101