2020 Australian Museum Eureka Prize winners
Congratulations to the 2020 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes winners.
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Research & Innovation
2020 NSW Environment, Energy and Science (DPIE) Eureka Prize for Applied Environmental Research
Rebuilding Australia’s Lost Shellfish Reefs, The Nature Conservancy; James Cook University; University of Adelaide; and University of Tasmania
Shellfish reefs, once common across the temperate bays and estuaries of southern Australia, have been overexploited to near extinction. This research has documented the decline and provided the knowledge required to successfully commence restoring them and their vital ecosystem services, such as cleaner water, more fish and protected shorelines.
2020 University of Technology Sydney Eureka Prize for Excellence in Data Science
Professor Dacheng Tao, University of Sydney
Deep learning has been shown to reduce human bias, however practical challenges — such as accidents caused by driverless cars — have lowered society’s trust in artificial intelligence. Professor Dacheng Tao has advanced deep learning theory and technologies, enabling the design of innovative algorithms for tasks that include object detection and image enhancement.
2020 UNSW Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research
Social-Ecological Research Frontiers, James Cook University; University of Tasmania; Macquarie University; University of Technology Sydney; Australia Institute of Marine Science; Western Australia Department of Biodiversity, Conservation, and Attractions; and The Nature Conservancy
Coral reefs that are thriving despite human and environmental pressures can provide novel insights into confronting complex problems. The Social-Ecological Research Frontiers team assembled the largest dataset of its type on conditions in over 6,000 reefs across 46 countries, allowing them to locate and learn from these coral reef 'bright spots’.
2020 Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre Eureka Prize for Infectious Diseases Research
Professor Gregory Dore, Kirby Institute
People who inject drugs are a key population affected by hepatitis C, but often excluded from therapy trials due to perceived poor compliance. Professor Gregory Dore has led the first international trials to include a range of study populations from this marginalised group. His research informs clinical practices and improves these groups' access to hepatitis C therapy globally.
2020 ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology
Monash Pharmaceutical Milkshake Team, Monash University and ANSTO
The Monash Milk Team has developed novel synchrotron-based methods for studying the interaction of milk and milk-like systems, with drugs. Their work has potential applications across a wide range of drug classes and diseases, and has already advanced the development of safe and effective drug formulations for children, including the first single dose cure for malaria.
2020 Macquarie University Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher
Dr Qilin Wang, University of Technology Sydney
Dr Qilin Wang has developed a technology that would transform energy-consuming, high-emission sewage treatment plants into energy-producing, low-emission plants. This transformation is achieved by utilising a by-product of the sewerage treatment process, creating a closed-loop system. His technology, which is being commercialised globally, could provide major benefits for water utilities and communities worldwide.
2020 Defence Science and Technology Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia
Professor Benjamin Eggleton, Dr Eric Mägi, Dr Moritz Merklein, Dr Alvaro Casas Bedoya and Dr Yang Liu and Associate Professor Stephen Madden, University of Sydney and Australian National University
By harnessing the delicate interaction between light and sound, Professor Benjamin Eggleton and his team have produced a microchip that provides a unique advantage for defence platforms. With prototypes already developed in Australia and internationally, this compact technology heralds a new era in microwave signal processing and represents real gains in performance, efficiency and cost.
2020 UNSW Eureka Prize for Scientific Research
Professor Mark Febbraio, Monash University
Despite the existence of several established treatments for type 2 diabetes, a drug that halts or reverses disease progression is not yet available. Through his metabolic disease research, Professor Mark Febbraio has discovered that a compound called IC7Fc could improve glucose metabolism, progressing new drug therapies for people living with diabetes.
2020 3M Eureka Prize for Emerging Leader in Science
Associate Professor Asha Bowen, Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, Telethon Kids Institute
Regarded as one of the brightest clinician-scientists of her generation, Associate Professor Asha Bowen is a world-class early career researcher and rising leader in infectious disease research. Her passion for ending skin disease has driven breakthrough knowledge and policy change that is reducing the burden of skin infections for Aboriginal children living in remote communities.
2020 CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science
Professor Robert F. Park, University of Sydney
For nearly two decades, Professor Robert F. Park has led world-class efforts to develop cereal varieties with inbuilt genetic disease resistance. He is one of the few plant pathologists who has successfully translated their biological discoveries to the real world, his research having a sustained global impact on the economic viability of cereal production and food security.
2020 University of Technology Sydney Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers
Professor Carol Armour AM, Woolcock Institute of Medical Research and University of Sydney
Professor Carol Armour has devoted the past 20 years of her academic career to enhancing Australia’s research capacity. Harnessing her passion for mentoring and career development, she has created transformative programs and unique opportunities that are advancing the careers of Australia’s next generation of researchers.
2020 Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Eureka Prize for Innovation in Citizen Science
Victorian Coastal Monitoring Program, University of Melbourne; Deakin University; Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning; and Propeller Aerobotics
A world-first initiative, the Victorian Coastal Monitoring Program is empowering local communities to predict how beaches respond to storms and rising sea levels. Using lightweight drones, citizen scientists produce 3D models that precisely measure shoreline change. The open-source data informs coastal management and policy decisions.
2020 Finkel Foundation Eureka Prize for Long-Form Science Journalism
In Mining the Moon, Ceridwen Dovey questions the headlong rush among private industry to commercialise space activities and normalise the idea of mining the moon. She provides a detailed analysis of Australia's proud, yet little known, history as a leader in space diplomacy and sustainability, and suggests it could continue to advocate for internationally binding protections for the moon.
Published in The Monthly, 1 July 2019
2020 Celestino Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science
Associate Professor Alice Motion, University of Sydney
Associate Professor Alice Motion is a chemistry researcher, educator and public communicator of science who is committed to engaging new and underrepresented audiences. An important voice for the popularisation of science, she has reached millions of Australians through a range of methods that include original podcasts, musical festivals, television appearances and social media.
2020 Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Science Journalism
Tegan Taylor, Dr Norman Swan and Will Ockenden, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Coronacast is a podcast that breaks down the latest news and research to help listeners understand how the world is living through a pandemic. Hosted by physician Dr Norman Swan and health reporter Tegan Taylor, it gives evidence-based answers to audience questions and has emerged to become many Australians’ primary source of trusted information about the coronavirus pandemic.
Episodes submitted for this prize were published by ABC on 16, 26 and 27 March; and 8 and 17 April 2020
2020 Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Eureka Prize for STEM Inclusion
CSIRO Indigenous STEM Education Project
CSIRO’s Indigenous STEM Education Project is an evidence-based, national initiative that improves Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student aspiration, achievement and participation in STEM. The project has reached beyond the walls of classrooms to increase the skills, capability and ambition of whole communities. For some, the program has been life changing
2020 University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize - Primary
Scarlett P. and Scarlett O., Oak Flats Primary School, NSW
Super Cooled Science examines how water turns into ice and explains ‘supercooling’, the process of chilling a liquid below its freezing point, without it becoming solid. Using claymation and dance, Scarlett and Scarlett illustrate the role that energy plays in this transformation and describe one of the ways supercooled water is being used by scientists.
2020 University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize - Secondary
Himalaya J., Balwyn High School, Vic
Look at your windowpane on a rainy day and you’ll almost certainly see tiny water droplets move closer together until they merge. In The Secret Life of Droplets, Himalaya uses a lively combination of song and animation to explain the science behind this phenomenon.