Colin Jackson named ACT Scientist of the Year

19 August 2015

Research School of Chemistry's Dr Colin Jackson has been named the ACT Scientist of the Year.

The award was presented by ACT by Chief Minister Andrew Barr during National Science Week, in recognition of Dr Jackson's work, which covers areas as diverse as ageing, poisons, agriculture and disease.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young AO congratulated Dr Jackson on his award.

"This award is well-deserved recognition for the pioneering research Colin is leading at ANU, and for the tremendous hard work and energy he brings to helping to solve real-world problems," Professor Young said.

As part of the award, Dr Jackson will be a science ambassador for the ACT.

The Future Fellow said he was honoured and humbled by the recognition.

"This award is great because it will give me the opportunity to talk to more people about science and try to communicate both my work and the work that is done at the Research School of Chemistry and the ANU," he said.

"It is nice to be recognised for all the hard work everyone puts in at the lab.

"I take credit for the group but ultimately a lot of work is done by students and postdoctoral fellows so this is more recognition of their work."

Dr Jackson supervises 20 students and postdoctoral fellows working on different projects and teaches in a number of undergraduate courses in chemistry and chemical biology.

He is passionate about encouraging the next generation of scientists.

"When I was a kid everyone had to write down what they want to do when they grow up. Others wrote astronauts or rugby player and I wrote down a scientist. I guess I am living the dream," he said.  

"When a student who has been struggling for something for two or three years finally makes a breakthrough and gets it to work, or they get their papers published and you see the smile on their face, it makes the tough parts of the job worthwhile."

The scientific outreach program run by ANU sends active scientists into schools to talk to students about science, what it means to be a scientist and what career opportunities are available.

"Ultimately we are all paid by the taxpayer. I think it is an obligation to give back to the people that are ultimately paying our salary," Dr Jackson said.

"It is really great if it results in an increase in the number of people that have an interest in science or go on to study science at university."