Friday 29 July 2016: Forty-nine entries have been shortlisted for 16 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes – the region’s premier science awards – worth a total of $160,000 in prize money.

Entries have been received from the brightest minds across the nation, with projects ranging from underwater robots that target the venomous Crown-of-Thorns Starfish, to the latest in microscopic 3D imaging technology developed through open source design.

Finalists even include two primary school students with a theory that red-lensed goggles may give our Olympic swimmers an advantage in the pool at Rio this year.

Now in its 27th year, the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes recognise excellence in research and innovation, leadership, science communication and school science across a broad spectrum – from environmental and innovative technologies, to science journalism, mentoring and for the first time, citizen science.

“The Australian Museum has an established and rich history of championing science – both as the nation’s second oldest scientific institution, and as the home of the world-leading Australian Museum Research Institute,” Kim McKay AO, Executive Director and CEO, Australian Museum said.

“The AM is proud to celebrate the very best of Australian science, and to continue the 27-year tradition of these prestigious awards positioning science in the national spotlight,” McKay said.

The winners of the 16 prizes will be announced in the presence of more than 600 science, government, industry and media leaders at the Eureka Prizes Award Dinner at Sydney Town Hall on Wednesday 31 August 2016.

A full list of 2016 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes finalists is available at


  • A Queensland University of Technology team that have developed a robot that uses GPS and visual recognition technology to track down the deadly Crown-of-Thorns Starfish and inject it with poison.
  • Three young scientists from the University of Newcastle who developed new ways to look at biological specimens in 3D and also custom built (using philanthropic funding and designs from the internet) a unique microscope to produce the required images.
  • Two Year 11 students from Victoria who created a rap video explaining how and where our ape-like ancestors developed into one species.
  • A pair of primary school students from Sydney who might have discovered a way we can win more gold medals in Rio: by putting all our swimmers in red-lensed goggles.
  • A citizen science project that gathers scientific data about meteorites and fireballs in the night sky.
  • A new mobility vehicle providing high-level protection for our defence forces on the battlefield against explosive blasts and ballistic projectiles.


The 2016 Eureka Prizes are in the categories of:

Research & Innovation

  • NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Eureka Prize for Environmental Research
  • UNSW Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research
  • Scopus Eureka Prize for Excellence in International Scientific Collaboration
  • Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre Eureka Prize for Infectious Diseases Research
  • Johnson & Johnson Eureka Prize for Innovation in Medical Research (new prize in 2016)
  • ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology
  • Macquarie University Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher
  • Defence Science and Technology Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia
  • UNSW Eureka Prize for Scientific Research Leadership


  • 3M Eureka Prize for Emerging Leader in Science
  • CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science
  • University of Technology Sydney Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers

Science Communication

  • Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Eureka Prize for Innovation in Citizen Science (new prize in 2016)
  • Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research
  • Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Eureka Prize for Science Journalism

School Science

  • University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize – Primary and Secondary