Academy medal for thee scientists

For their outstanding research on gene function in the brain, climate change, and the probability of hard-to-predict events, three UNSW scientists have been awarded prestigious Australian Academy of Science medals.

The Academy presents the annual honorific awards to recognise scientific excellence by a range of researchers, from those in the early stages of their careers to those who have made life-long achievements.

Dr Alex Sen Gupta (School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences), Dr Zdravko Botev (School of Mathematics and Statistics), and  Dr Irina Voineaguwere (School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences) were awarded early career medals for achievements made within 10 years of their PhDs. Professor Anushka Patel, of UNSW Medicine and the George Institute for Global Health, also received a mid-career award.

In all, 18 bright stars of Australian science were honoured, with UNSW receiving more awards than any other university or institute. The recipient of the Dorothy Hill Award – Associate Professor Tracy Ainsworth of James Cook University – will also be joining UNSW Science as a new Scientia Fellow in the School of BEES in 2018.

President of the Academy of Science congratulated all the award winners for their inspiring research.

“Research by this year’s awardees is addressing some of society’s biggest challenges and also changing the world for the better,” he said.

“It is absolutely crucial that we continue to recognise and support their outstanding contributions so that people can be reminded of the important role of science for humankind.”

UNSW Dean of Science Professor Emma Johnston said: “This is a very impressive result for the Faculty of Science, with three of our researchers from three different Schools recognised by these awards as emerging leaders in their respective fields.

“It demonstrates the great depth and diversity of research talent we have in UNSW Science and I congratulate the medal recipients on their outstanding achievements," she said.

Dr Alex Sen Gupta, of the Climate Change Research Centre in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, was awarded the 2018 Frederick White Medal.

Dr Sen Gupta is one of Australia’s foremost experts in large‐scale climate variability and change with a particular focus on the Southern Hemisphere ocean and atmosphere. His world‐class research achievements have provided new insights into improving seasonal forecasts; identifying and correcting errors in modern climate models, improving climate projections, and improving our understanding of how physical changes to our oceans affect marine biology and important fisheries.

The majority of the awards will be presented at the Academy’s Science at the Shine Dome event on 24 May 2018. The full list of awardees is here.

Photo: Dr Alex Sen Gupta