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2017 Research and Engagement Award winners

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Curtin hosted its annual Research and Innovation Week in September, which showcases some of the world-leading research being undertaken by Curtin researchers and our collaborative partners. A key part of the week was the 2017 Research and Engagement Awards, which combined, for the first time, the annual Curtin Excellence in Research Awards and the Curtin Media Awards.

The awards celebrate the research excellence of Curtin’s staff and recognise the important role academics play as thought and knowledge leaders, raising the quality of public discussion and debate through a focus on evidence and fact rather than opinion or emotion.

Congratulations to our winners and our nominees.

John de Laeter Research Leadership Award

The John de Laeter Research Leadership Award recognises an outstanding research leader at Curtin, encompassing internationally acclaimed research and fostering relationships and investment in research.

The shortlisted nominees were:

  • Professor Chris Reid – Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Professor Keith Hill – Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Professor Peter O’Sullivan – Faculty of Health Sciences.

The winner of the award, valued at $10,000, was Professor Chris Reid.

A prolific and internationally acclaimed researcher, Reid’s vision is based on leading research to improve cardiovascular outcomes through the conduct of large scale clinical trials, clinical registries, epidemiological modelling and translational research.

He has enjoyed considerable National Competitive Grant success and in 2017, established the Clinical Trial and Data Management Centre for the West Australian Health Translation Network funded by the Department of Health and Curtin University.

In addition to his own research, he is actively involved in mentoring and leadership, and works hard to foster a platform of high quality clinical research at Curtin University.

Early-Career Researcher Award

Dr Wensu Chen posing with certificate
Dr Wensu Chen

The Early Career Researcher Award recognises a researcher who has demonstrated excellence in their field of research within five years of completing their PhD.

The shortlisted nominees were:

  • Dr Wensu Chen – Faculty of Science & Engineering
  • Dr Gemma Sharp – Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Dr Vinicius Cavalheri – Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Dr Annette Regan – Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Dr Fabrizio Padula – Faculty of Health Sciences.

The winner of the award, valued at $5,000, was Dr Wensu Chen.

Chen’s research interests and expertise are structural engineering and protective structures.

Since 2012, he has generated 62 technical papers and reports, including 27 journal papers, and has received two ARC grants as a Chief Investigator.

Wensu is a finalist of the 2017 Premier’s Science Awards (Early Career Scientist of the Year) and the recipient of ARC DECRA Award.

Engagement and Impact Award

The Research Impact and Engagement Award recognizes a researcher or research group that has demonstrated outstanding engagement and impact across the private or public sector, in non-government organisations or in the community.

The nominees were:

  • Associate Professors Andrew Briggs and Helen Slater from the Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Associate Professor Suzanne Robinson from the Faculty of Health Sciences, and;
  • MWA GLEAM team from the Faculty of Science & Engineering

The winner of the award, valued at $ 10,000, was the MWA GLEAM team: Natasha Hurley-Walker, Paul Hancock, John Morgan, Steven Tingay, Andrew Williams, Carol Jackson, Cathryn Trott, David Emrich, Ron Ekers, Steve Ord and Tom Franzen.

The GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky MWA Survey (GLEAM), involved 43 researchers from six different countries. The lead author and half the core team were from Curtin.

The GLEAM team surveyed the sky for around 700 hours, with data used to construct images of the sky at many different radio frequencies and to catalogue more than 300,000 unique extra-galactic radio sources.

Among other things, the release of the GLEAM images and catalogue provided radio astronomers with their first deep low-frequency view of the southern skies.

Paul G. Dunn Research Development Award

The Paul G Dunn Research Development Award recognises a Head of Area who fosters, supports and helps to develop research at Curtin.

The shortlisted nominees were:
• Professor Fuming Jiang – Curtin Business School, and;
• Professor John Mamo – Faculty of Health Sciences

The recipient of the award, valued at $10,000, was Professor John Mamo.

As Director of the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI) since mid-2015, John has driven the rapid strategic evolution of CHIRI, which is now positioned as a national Biomedical Research Centre of Excellence.

John has worked hard to promote an inclusive practice mode, foster and support research performance and increase collaboration across Curtin and with external partners.

Curtin-State Government Collaboration Award

In 2017, the first of our Curtin collaboration awards was presented to recognise that much of the impactful research we undertake is done in partnership with Government, industry, not-for-profit and community collaborators.

Next year we are going to remodel our research awards to ensure that these Government, Industry and Community collaborations are appropriately acknowledged and celebrated.

The Curtin-State Government Collaboration Award recognises outstanding research collaboration between Curtin University and the State Government, resulting in tangible benefits for Western Australia.

The shortlisted nominees were:

  • Professor Euan Harvey – Faculty of Science and Engineering
  • Professor Marian Tye – Centre for Sport and Recreation Research
  • ICRAR – Curtin University
  • Professor Peter Newman AO – CUSP – White Gum Valley Initiatives

The winner was ICRAR – Curtin University.

The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) was founded in August 2009 with the specific purpose of supporting Australia’s bid to host the world’s largest radio telescope and one of the largest scientific endeavours in history, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

ICRAR is enhancing Australia’s position in the international astronomy research agenda by contributing to the development process for the SKA in scientific, technological and operational areas. Through the promotion of scientific, technical, commercial and educational opportunities through public outreach, educational material, training students ICRAR is making positive contributions how Western Australians engage in the fast growing field of radio astronomy.

Media Engagement Awards

The Media Engagement Awards recognise academic staff who have made a significant contribution toward raising the University’s profile in the media during the period Quarter 4, 2016, through to the end of Quarter 2, 2017.

The data used to determine the awards comes from our media monitoring undertaken by Isentia, and analytics from The Conversation and the Australian Science Media Centre.

Most Prolific New Media Commentator Award

The Most Prolific New Media Commentator Award recognises an academic who has made a significant contribution to Curtin’s media coverage in the period under review, but had undertaken little or no engagement with the media for Curtin prior to this.

The finalists were:

  • Professor Lee Ingram – School of Psychology and Speech Pathology
  • Dr Ben Rich – Department of Social Sciences and Security Studies
  • Professor Rebecca Wellard – Centre for Marine Science and Technology

The 2017 winner was Dr Ben Rich.

Most Prolific Media Commentator Award

The Most Prolific Media Commentator Award recognises our most active media commentator.

The finalists were:
• Associate Professor Rebecca Cassells – Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre
• Professor Martin Hagger – School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, and;
• Professor Rachel Ong – Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre

The winner was Associate Professor Rebecca Cassells

Highest Contribution to Scimex

Scimex is an online news portal that helps journalists cover science. This award recognises a Curtin academic for the most engagement with Scimex.

The finalists were:
• Professor Mike Daube – Health Sciences Research and Graduate Studies
• Amanda Lambros – School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, and:
• John Curtin Distinguished Professor, Peter Newman AO

The winner as determined by Scimex and by the closest of margins was Professor Peter Newman

The next two awards recognise academics who contribute regularly to The Conversation, the independent media outlet using content sourced from the academic and research community.

Article with the Highest Readership on The Conversation

The winner for the Article with the Highest Readership on The Conversation was Professor Simon Lenton from the Faculty of Health Sciences for his article Why do our friends want us to drink and dislike it when we don’t? relating to peer pressure in social drinking.

Other contenders in the category were: Professor Alan Duncan and Associate Professor Rebecca Cassells (BCEC), Professor Steve Allsop and Dr Tina Lam (National Drug Research Institute), and Dr Julie Netto (School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work)

Highest Contribution to The Conversation

Dr Nicole Lee
Dr Nicole Lee

The award for the Highest Contribution to The Conversation – being seven articles – goes to Dr Nicole Lee from the Faculty of Health Sciences.

The other contenders in the category were Associate Professor Rebecca Cassells (BCEC), Professor Rachel Ong (BCEC) and Associate Professor Lee Smales from the Curtin Graduate School of Business.

Research News Story Award

The Research News Story Award recognises the research news story that achieved the highest coverage across print and broadcast media.

The finalists were:

  • Dr Natasha Hurley-Walker – Physics and Astronomy
  • Professor Birger Rasmussen – Applied Geology, and;
  • Dr Martin Whitely – John Curtin Institute of Public Policy

The winner was Dr Martin Whitely for coverage relating to his research: Influence of birth month of West Australian children on the probability of being treated for ADHD.

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