The winners of the Premier’s Science Awards 2018 were announced at an awards ceremony on Wednesday 15 August 2018.

Scientist of Year

Professor Peter Newman AO
Professor of Sustainability (Curtin University)

Peter Newman 3Professor Newman is a Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University with decades of globally significant research and public advocacy on the science of cities and their sustainability. Professor Newman’s research focuses on transport practices and systems, and how urban redevelopment can be planned with sustainability in mind to enable residents to integrate with their bioregional and human environment. He has impacted public policy through government representation in Local, State and Federal government bodies, and was awarded Officer of the Order of Australia in 2014 for his contribution to urban design and transport sustainability, particularly in relation to Perth’s rail system.

Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year

Dr Melissa O’Donnell
NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow, Telethon Kids Institute (University of Western Australia)

Melissa ODonnell 1Dr O’Donnell is an NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow at the Telethon Kids Institute, The University of Western Australia and is internationally recognised for her work in the area of child abuse and neglect. Her research is improving knowledge around factors that increase vulnerability to child maltreatment, resulting in changes to policy and practice and contributing to the international monitoring of child abuse and neglect. Knowledge gained from her research has shaped the Western Australian Department of Communities’ Building Safe and Strong Families: Earlier Intervention and Family Support Strategy 2016, the Legislative Review of Western Australia’s Children and Community Services Act 2004 and Western Australia’s Youth Health Policy.  

ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year

In 2018 there are two joint-winners in the ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year award category.

Mr Arman Siahvashi
PhD Candidate (The University of Western Australia)

Arman Siahvashi 1.1Mr Siahvashi is in the final year of a PhD in natural gas process engineering. He has developed an innovative apparatus to visually measure the freezing temperatures of hydrocarbons at cryogenic temperatures. This data is crucial to solve the issue of shutdowns due to blockages caused by the freeze-out of impurities, which is a major problem facing the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry. Mr Siahvashi’s method of measuring data has been endorsed by NASA due to its relevance to NASA’s study on the weathering processes of Saturn’s moon Titan. 

Mr Ryan Urquhart
PhD Candidate (Curtin University)

Ryan Urquhart 1.1Mr Urquhart’s research into the Universe’s fastest feeding black holes has achieved important new insights into how they extract energy from in-falling matter and inject it into their surroundings. As well as discovering new black holes outside our own galaxy, his work has changed how astronomers view rapidly feeding black holes and helped to better understand how they recycle energy, a problem fundamentally linked to galaxy evolution. Mr Urquhart is actively involved with science outreach within Western Australia through regular engagement with primary and high school students, and mentoring undergraduate students.  

Chevron Science Engagement Initiative of the Year

Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park
(Kings Park - Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority)

Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park 1Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park is a place for connecting kids with nature and the unique home of Kings Park Education. It is a 60,000m2 outdoor precinct set in native bushland in Kings Park, with a public zone for families and an education zone for schools. Receiving around 80,000 visitors a year, with more than 20,000 students per year from kindergarten through to tertiary level, education programs are delivered outdoors in its “living classrooms”. Kings Park Education and Rio Tinto Naturescape work in tandem as ambassadors in leading science engagement and delivering a practical solution to evidence that children are spending less time outdoors.


About the Awards

The Premier's Science Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of the Western Australian science community. Award recipients exemplify the outstanding scientific research and engagement taking place in the State.

The Awards cover all fields of science, including natural, medical, applied and technological science, engineering and mathematics.

The Awards are supported by the Western Australian Government and administered by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation. Track the Premier’s Science Awards on Twitter using the hashtag #WASciAwards.

Key Dates in 2018

Winners announced – Wednesday 15 August
Finalists announced – Monday 16 July
Applications closed – 10.00am (AWST) Monday 21 May
Applications opened – Monday 26 March

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