2021 Australian Museum Eureka Prize winners
17 individuals and teams recognised across the categories of Research & Innovation, Leadership, Science Engagement and School Science.
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Research & Innovation
NSW Environment, Energy and Science (DPIE) Eureka Prize for Applied Environmental Research
NSW Bushfire Hub, University of Wollongong; Western Sydney University; University of Tasmania; and UNSW
The NSW Bushfire Hub, a consortium of four research groups, undertook extensive research into the devastating Black Summer bushfires. Their findings addressed major knowledge gaps relating to droughts, fuel dynamics, and the social and environmental impacts of the fires — directly influencing many of the NSW Bushfire Inquiry recommendations and setting the future direction for fire management.
Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research
Lindell Bromham, Felicity Meakins, Xia Hua and Cassandra Algy, Australian National University; University of Queensland; and Karungkarni Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation
Bringing together an Indigenous community member, linguist, mathematician and biologist, this team is studying Gurindji, an Indigenous language of northern Australia. Their research is developing new ways to understand the processes of language change and factors that help keep Indigenous languages strong and vibrant.
Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre Eureka Prize for Infectious Diseases Research
Professor Julie Bines, Murdoch Children's Research Institute and University of Melbourne
Rotavirus is a major cause of death among children and despite evidence of vaccine effectiveness, significant barriers to access remain. Professor Julie Bines is leading the development of RV3-BB, a safe, effective and affordable newborn rotavirus vaccine that will prevent rotavirus gastroenteritis from birth, potentially saving thousands of lives.
ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology
Professor Justin Gooding, Professor Maria Kavallaris AM, Dr Julio Ribeiro, Dr Aidan O'Mahony, Dr Robert Utama and Dr Lakmali Atapattu, UNSW; Australian Centre for NanoMedicine; Children’s Cancer Institute; and Inventia Life Science Pty Ltd
While 3D cell culturing offers vastly enhanced models of cell structures than 2D methods, it remains slow and expensive. This team has developed a breakthrough bioprinting system that can rapidly produce 3D cell structures with unprecedented cell viability and tunability — a game-changer for cancer research and therapeutic development.
Macquarie University Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher
Dr Emma Camp, University of Technology Sydney
Dr Emma Camp’s discovery of corals thriving in extreme conditions is informing new adaptive management solutions in both Australia and abroad. Together with government and nature conservation agencies, she is developing improved management strategies for coral reefs worldwide, while using her work as a platform to advocate for action on climate change.
Defence Science and Technology Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia
Cross Domain Desktop Compositor, University of Melbourne; Defence Science and Technology Group; UNSW; and CSIRO’s Data61
Simple, secure and trustworthy: easy to say, but often difficult to achieve. By combining a world-class secure operating system with novel hardware architecture, the Cross Domain Desktop Compositor team has defied the trend of increasing complexity in computing technologies to enable a new method for keeping sensitive information secure from internet attacks.
UNSW Eureka Prize for Scientific Research
Associate Professor Diane McDougald and Dr Gustavo Espinoza Vergara, University of Technology Sydney
Associate Professor Diane McDougald and Dr Gustavo Espinoza-Vergara discovered that the bacterium responsible for cholera, Vibrio cholerae, becomes more virulent when passaging through a previously unknown vector. Their finding reveals where pathogenic bacteria hide before causing infectious disease outbreaks, which will have wide-ranging impacts on the development of control strategies.
AstraZeneca Eureka Prize for Emerging Leader in Science
Associate Professor Kristin Carson-Chahhoud, University of South Australia
Driven by her commitment to lung health and vision for a smoke-free Australia, Associate Professor Kristin Carson-Chahhoud is using innovative augmented reality technology to disrupt health communication. Her mentorship, advocacy and research leadership has led to high-impact public health outcomes in both respiratory medicine and tobacco control and sustained benefits for the broader community.
Eureka Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science
Dr Dana M. Bergstrom, Australian Antarctic Division and University of Wollongong
For decades, Dr Dana M. Bergstrom has championed evidence-based science in biodiversity, biosecurity and the impacts of climate change. Skilled at science translation and distilling complexity, she has led the exploration of ecosystem collapse from Australia’s tropics to Antarctica, delivering innovative options for modern conservation.
University of Technology Sydney Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers
Dr Melina Georgousakis, Franklin Women
Dr Melina Georgousakis is committed to developing the next generation of Australia’s researchers and ensuring that women are equally represented among them. Through the establishment of Franklin Women, she is providing the infrastructure for a sector-first mentoring program, delivering events and building a community to foster the establishment of new mentoring relationships.
Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Eureka Prize for Innovation in Citizen Science
AUSMAP, Total Environment Centre and Macquarie University
The Australian Microplastic Assessment Project (AUSMAP) is a world-first, national citizen science program that empowers people of all ages to document microplastic pollution. An immersive experience, participants are educated on the prevalence of microplastics around our waterways and trained to collect scientifically valid data that is used to design effective mitigation strategies for plastic pollution.
Finkel Foundation Eureka Prize for Long-Form Science Journalism
Dr Dyani Lewis
In 2020, a little-known field of science was behind pandemic policies that upended life as we knew it. In Role Models in a Time of Pandemic, Dr Dyani Lewis explains how the fledgling discipline of mathematical disease modelling grew into the influential field it is today.
Published by Cosmos, 4 June 2020
Celestino Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science
Dr Niraj Lal, Australian National University and Australian Energy Market Operator
Science communication at its best showcases the wonders of our universe while sparking critical thinking. Dr Niraj Lal excels at both. Through mediums including prime-time television, ground-breaking podcasts and a popular children’s book about gravity, he has increased understanding and appreciation of science among Australians of all ages.
Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Science Journalism
Patient Zero, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Patient Zero tells stories of disease outbreaks: where they begin, why they happen and how we found ourselves in the middle of one. From the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to medical mysteries of the past, this eight-part series provides a new lens through which to view pandemics.
Published by ABC Radio National on 21 and 28 August 2020; 4 September 2020; and 7 and 28 May 2021
Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Eureka Prize for STEM Inclusion
Corey Tutt and Team DeadlyScience
Driven by the belief that “you can’t be what you can’t see,” Corey Tutt and Team DeadlyScience are committed to increasing STEM participation among Indigenous Australians. Together, they have provided thousands of culturally appropriate science resources to schools in remote communities and connected nearly 10,000 young Indigenous people with mentors.
University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize - Primary
Scarlett O. and Scarlett P., Oak Flats Public School, NSW
If a super volcano erupted, the impacts would be widespread and catastrophic. In their film Super Volcanoes, Scarlett and Scarlett demonstrate the science behind these high magnitude eruptions and explain how they could be used as a source of power, providing green energy for future generations.
University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize - Secondary
Jonathan D., Townsville Grammar School, Qld
In Rewilding Earth, Jonathan discusses the implications of climate change and investigates how enhancing biodiversity could help address this pressing issue. Through a series of interviews, he shares community concerns about the future of climate change then draws on research to explain the process of rewilding.