ACES Director Distinguished Professor Gordon Wallace
ACES Director Distinguished Professor Gordon Wallace

Distinguished Professor Gordon Wallace elected to Royal Irish Academy

Distinguished Professor Gordon Wallace elected to Royal Irish Academy

UOW scientist honoured for pioneering research in materials science and advanced fabrication

In recognition of his exceptional contribution to the sciences, University of Wollongong researcher Distinguished Professor Gordon Wallace was admitted into the Royal Irish Academy at a ceremony in Dublin on Saturday (Australian time).

A world-leading research and an esteemed innovator and educator, Professor Wallace is a pioneer in materials science and advanced fabrication with a particular interest in the development of deployable technologies to tackle challenges in energy and health where medical devices complement the body’s own systems to treat disease and repair injuries.

With research interests in organic conductors, nanomaterials and non-destructive methods of characterisation, his extensive scientific contributions have broken new ground in every aspect of materials research, in academic performance and outcomes, in training the next generation of researchers, and in facilities development.

Professor Wallace is Director of UOW’s Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, Director of the Australian National Fabrication Facility – Materials Node, Director of the Translational Research Initiative for Cellular Engineering and Printing, and previously served as Director of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science.

“It is a great honour to be elected to the Royal Irish Academy. Over many years our Irish connections have been pivotal in realising what we have achieved together and ongoing collaborations mean there is still much more to come,” Professor Wallace said.

Born and raised in Belfast, Gordon Wallace immigrated to Australia at age 14, where his family settled in Geelong.

After completing undergraduate and PhD degrees at Deakin University in Geelong, Professor Wallace was given the opportunity to launch his academic research career at University College Cork in Ireland. He has maintained strong links with Ireland and with Irish academia throughout his career.

Since returning to Australia in 1986, where he took up a position at the University of Wollongong, Professor Wallace he has maintained ongoing collaborations with research groups at Dublin City University and Trinity College Dublin. These links were bolstered by the awarding of a prestigious Walton fellowship by Science Foundation Ireland in 2003.

His collaborative activities with Irish research groups have resulted in advances in materials science and new sensing technologies. A recently funded Australian Research Council (ARC) project with Dublin City University’s Professor Robert Forster involves the development of an innovative wireless electrical stimulation system to communicate with nerve cells.

At the Admittance Day ceremony Royal Irish Academy President Professor Pat Guiry welcomed the 24 newly elected Members as they were officially admitted into the Academy.

“These individuals, elected by their peers, have made exceptional contributions in their fields of endeavour. We are delighted to recognise their achievements,” Professor Guiry said.

“As Members of the Academy, they will support the RIA by engaging and leading in activities that strengthen the international recognition of the Academy’s scholarship and serve the public good through their knowledge and insight.”

The Royal Irish Academy has been honouring Ireland’s leading contributors to the world of learning since its establishment in 1785. It promotes high levels of scholarship, acts as a national and international body academic disciplines, advises government on science, research and education, and promotes collaboration between scholars and institutions nationally and internationally.

There are now 670 Members, almost equally divided between the sciences and the humanities. Past Members have included Nobel laureates: WB Yeats, Ernest Walton, Max Planck, Erwin Schrödinger, Bob Grubbs and Seamus Heaney.

UOW Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Patricia M. Davidson congratulated Professor Wallace on his admittance to the Academy.

“Professor Gordon Wallace is a brilliant researcher and innovator and a world leader in his field, working at the intersection of physical sciences, engineering and medicine,” Professor Davidson said.

“Not only has he significantly advanced the world’s knowledge through fundamental scientific research, he has also demonstrated a remarkable ability to translate theoretical research into practical solutions for complex real world problems.

“This honour from the Royal Irish Academy is thoroughly deserved.”

Among his previous accolades, Professor Wallace was awarded an ARC Laureate Fellowship (2011) and the Eureka Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science (2016).

In 2017 he was named NSW Scientist of the Year and appointed an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia in recognition of his distinguished contribution to research, his commitment to research collaboration and innovation, and the subsequent economic, educational, technological and health benefits on a national and international scale that have been generated by his research activities.