ANU researchers nominated for ‘Oscars of Australian science’

31 July 2019

An indigenous astrophysicist, the first female Dean of Engineering and Computer Science, and a leading mentor in the field of plant biology are among the researchers from The Australian National University (ANU) who're in the running for Australia's leading science awards.

A total of seven ANU researchers have been named as finalists for six 2019 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes, the most Eureka Prize nominations ANU has ever received.

Kamilaroi woman and astrophysicist Karlie Noon is a finalist for the 3M Eureka Prize for Emerging Leader in Science.

Ms Noon was the first Indigenous person in New South Wales to graduate with degrees in science and mathematics, and is passionate about helping to engage underrepresented communities in science.

"My focus is encouraging young girls and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to engage in STEM," Ms Noon said.

"By sharing my research on the evolution of the Milky Way and celebrating the scientific knowledge possessed by my ancestors, I can help shift the nation's idea of who can be a scientist." 

Professor Elanor Huntington, Dean of the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science, has been nominated for the CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science.

Professor Huntington is currently leading a project to reimagine a new type of engineering and computing, uniquely positioned to tackle 21st century challenges.

ANU Professor Barry Pogson is a finalist for the University of Technology Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers for the second year in a row.

Professor Pogson's vision is to create links between researchers, industry leaders and policy makers that collectively shape agriculture for the benefit of global food security.

He's had a significant impact on the personal development, career prospects and learning experiences of students at all tertiary levels.

Professor Michelle Coote from the ANU Research School of Chemistry is also among the finalists for a second successive year.

She's part of The Invisible Catalyst Team that's been shortlisted for the UNSW Eureka Prize for Scientific Research.

The group has shown that electric fields can be used to manipulate chemical reactions. This discovery may enable greener and safer methods for fabricating materials, from drugs to plastics.

The Australian Attosecond Team, also nominated for the UNSW Eureka Prize for Scientific Research, includes two ANU team members - Professor Anatoli Kheifets and Mr Alexander Bray.

Professor Ian Williams from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences is a member of the 'Dental Detectives' group, which has been nominated for the UNSW Eureka Prize for Interdisciplinary Scientific Research.

ANU Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation, Professor Keith Nugent, congratulated the seven ANU finalists, saying it reflects the strength and excellence of the University's research.

"Our finalists highlight the impactful and innovative research and leadership that takes place across our campus every day, and which is core to our national role."

"I congratulate each of the seven shortlisted nominees for this significant achievement. It is a terrific outcome for ANU as well as for the finalists."

The Eureka Prize winners will be announced at a gala award dinner at Sydney Town Hall on Wednesday 28 August 2019.