Researcher awards & recognition

Recognising achievement

UOW academics are regularly rewarded and acknowledged for their research outcomes and impact with external awards and prizes. 

Blue Horizons team- eureka winners
researchers in the garden

Past award winners

Climate Change Biologist  Distinguished Professor Sharon Robinson was recognised in the 2023 Kings Birthday Honours List and appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM)  by the Governor-General in recognition of  her significant service to science, particularly the study of Antarctic environmental change.

Associate Professor Jenny Fisher was awarded the Anton Hales Medal 2022 for research into how trace gases such as mercury and other pollutants are transported and distributed through the atmosphere, which informs the management of air pollution as well as climate modelling.

Professor Kerrylee Rogers was awarded the Frederick White Medal 2022 for research showing that coastal wetlands have the capacity to store carbon, protecting natural ecosystems, and helping fight climate change by responding dynamically to sea-level rises.

Media release: UOW researchers honoured for contributions to environmental sciences 

Dr Nicolas Flament has been awarded the David Syme Research Prize. This prize is one of the oldest science awards in Australia for the the best original work in biology, physics, chemistry or geology.

The NSW Bushfire Hub team, led by Associate Professor Owen Price and including fellow UOW researchers Dr Hamish Clarke and Dr Katharine Haynes alongside colleagues from University of New South Wales, University of Tasmania and University of Western Sydney, won the NSW Environment, Energy and Science (DPIE) Eureka Prize for Applied Environmental Research for their extensive research into the devastating Black Summer bushfires.

Dr Dana M. Bergstrom from the University of Wollongong and the Australian Antarctic Division, who for decades has championed evidence-based science in biodiversity, biosecurity and the impacts of climate change, won the Eureka Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science

Media release: UOW researchers win Eureka Prizes for environmental research and science leadership

World-renowned Antarctic environmental scientist Senior Professor Sharon Robinson has been named winner of Wollongong City Council’s Australia Day 2021 Innovation Achievement Award for her record of outstanding achievement locally, nationally and internationally.

Media release: UOW scientist wins Wollongong Australia Day 2021 Innovation Achievement Award 

University of Wollongong (UOW) researcher Professor Shujun Zhang is the recipient of the NSW Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry or Physics.

Media release: UOW researcher wins NSW Premier’s Prize

Distinguished Professor Shi Xue Dou  was honoured at the International Cryogenic Materials Commission biannual conference, receiving the ICMC Lifetime Achievement Award “in recognition of his studies of high-temperature superconductors, in particular silicon carbide doping of magnesium diboride; for pursuing industrialisation of high temperature superconductor devices; and for extensive training of graduate students and mentoring of postdoctoral fellows”.

Media release: Professor Shi Xue Dou wins ICMC Lifetime Achievement Award

Professor Kathleen Clapham has been named as winner of the new First Nations Health, Wellbeing and Health Services Research Award at the Health Services Research Association of Australia & New Zealand. She is the founding Director of the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First People’s Health and Wellbeing Research Centre based within the Australian Health Services Research Institute at the University of Wollongong (UOW).

Media release: Professor Kathleen Clapham wins First Nations Health, Wellbeing and Health Services Research Award

Dr Samantha Wade from the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute and the University of Wollongong has been named as the 2021 NSW Young Woman of the Year for her contributions to pancreatic cancer research.

Media release: Medical researcher named as NSW Young Woman of the Year

UOW Alumnus Senior Professor Anthony Okely was awrded the Alumni Award for Research and Scholarship for his pioneering research on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep in children that has translated into national and international policy and practice.

Media release: Leaders, innovators and game-changers celebrated

Professor Kristine French  was named as a 2021 Ecological Society of Australia (ESA) Gold Medallist, alongside Professor Richard Kingsford of the University of NSW.

The ESA Gold Medal is awarded to ecologists who have made a substantial contribution to the study of ecology in Australia over the course of their career and/or in recognition of an ESA members substantial contribution to the research community.

Media release: Kristine French honoured for contribution to study of ecology in Australia

University of Wollongong historian Dr Andre Brett has been named as the recipient of the Australian Academy of the Humanities’ 2021 Max Crawford Medal.

The Medal is Australia’s most prestigious award for achievement and promise in the humanities, and it is awarded to an Australia-based early-career scholar for outstanding achievement.

Media release: Historian Dr Andre Brett wins 2021 Crawford Medal

The Australian Academy of Science has awarded University of Wollongong (UOW) academic Dr Nicolas Flament the prestigious 2021 Anton Hales Medal in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the geosciences.

Media release: Dr Nicolas Flament awarded 2021 Anton Hales Medal

Archaeobotanist Dr Anna Florin has received the 23rd Tübingen Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology prize for her thesis, Archaeobotanical investigations into 65,000 years of plant food use at Madjedbebe, Mirarr Country, northern Australia.

Media release: CABAH Research Fellow wins prestigious international prize

Professor Tracey Moroney, was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to medical education, particularly to nursing.

Associate Professor Philip Laird was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his significant contributions to the rail freight and passenger transport industry.

Media release: Australia Day honours for UOW academics

The Australian Synchrotron Research Award for early career researchers has been awarded to Dr Wei Kong Pang from the University of Wollongong. Dr Pang is an ARC Future Fellow and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials (ISEM).

Read more

Two University of Wollongong (UOW) academics have been named as recipients of New South Wales Premier's Prizes for Science and Engineering in recognition of their pioneering research work.

Distinguished Professor Antoine van Oijen received the Prize for Excellence in Medical Biological Sciences and Distinguished Professor Zaiping Guo received the Prize for Excellence in Engineering or Information and Communications Technology.

Read more

UOW’s ARC Future Fellow Dr Wei Kong Pang is the recipient of the Australian Synchrotron Research Award for his contribution in the popularization of synchrotron diffraction techniques. Dr Pang’s research (based at the ISEM), focuses on understanding and developing rechargeable metal-ion battery technologies, including the atomic-scale characterisation of electrode materials, where he has made significant advances in understanding their structure and chemistry, using a variety of neutron and X-ray scattering methods. As part of the award Dr Pang will present the plenary address at the Australian Synchrotron User Meeting 2020.

Read more

Professor Danielle Skropeta has been awarded the Royal Australian Chemical Institute’s Margaret Sheil Leadership Award for 2020. The award recognises Danielle as an outstanding female leader working in the chemical sciences, and who has helped to inspire and mentor junior female chemists and/or help to provide a more equitable work place.

Read more

 Distinguished Professor David J. Adams, CEO and Executive Director of Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI) has been selected as Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health & Medical Sciences, recognising his outstanding contributions to the health and medical research landscape in Australia.

Read more

Dr Voltaire A. Velazco together with his team from UOW’s School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences, are co-recipients of the NASA Group Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to the Agency's mission. The award, which was recently conferred on CAMP2Ex (Clouds, Aerosols, Monsoonal Processes - Philippines Experiment), is based on Dr. Velazco leading the CAMP2Ex-HABAGAT team and supporting NASA’s airborne measurements aimed to better understand water vapor, aerosols and gas-phase chemistry at the Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON) Philippines site.

Read more.

Two podcasts co-produced by the University of Wollongong’s Associate Professor Siobhan McHugh have received top honours in the New York Festival Radio Awards,  which has bestowed honours on the best audio storytelling from around the world since 1982. Professor McHugh, a journalism lecturer in the School of the Arts, English and Media, was part of the team behind The Last Voyage of The Pong Su and Gertie’s Law, which each took out a Gold medal in their respective categories. Read More.

PhD candidate Samantha Wade was awarded the Dr Margaret Gardiner scholarship for medical research this International Women's Day. "The awards encourage women in our community who might not otherwise have the opportunity, to expand their knowledge, skill and experience in a field of their interest or in which they have shown great potential" Says committee chair Vicki Tiegs. 

Andrew Zammit-Mangion receives the prestigious 2020 Abdel El-Shaarawi Early Investigator Award from The International Environmetrics Society (TIES). The award Committee took this decision in virtue of Andrew’s relevant interdisciplinary work in Environmental Statistics and in the development of important computational instruments for space-time data analysis.

Nursing lecturer Dr Sue McInnes is recipient of Sigma Nursing Oceania Emerging Nurse Researcher award for 2020. Since 2015, the Emerging Nurse Researcher/Scholar Award has recognized early career nurse researchers and scholars from each of Sigma’s seven global regions whose research or scholarship has influenced the nursing profession and the people it serves.

UOW PhD candidate Kayla Steele is the winner of the Pitch It Clever Universities Australia Award for her video ‘Parenting with borderline personality disorder’.

Pitch it Clever is an annual competition from Universities Australia challenging early career researchers to communicate their research and why it matters to non-specialist audiences via a 1-2 minute video. Watch her winning video here. 

Kayla is supervisored by Professor Brin Grenyer and Dr. Michelle Townsend. The award involves a $1,000 cash prize, and return flights, accommodation and entry to the Universities Australia Higher Education Conference.

Engineering student Meg Cummins is the recipient of the Jacobs Engineering Consulting Award at the Top100 Future Leaders Awards. The awards are recognised as one of Australia’s top future graduate talents.  Students are put through their paces and given a taste of a full graduate recruitment process – appearing in front of Australia’s top employers for interviews. 

Three lecturers at the University of Wollongong (UOW) have received national recognition of their dedication, leadership, and support of student learning.

Dr Hironori (Nori) Onuki, from the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, Associate Professor Montserrat Ros, and Dr Sasha Nikolic, both from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, were all recipients of the Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning during the 2019 Australian Awards for University Teaching. Read more. 

Professor Allen Nutman from School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences, has been awarded 2020 Mawson Medal from the Australian Academy of Science

He has made some fundamental discoveries concerning the evolution of early Earth, through numerous field campaigns in arduous conditions. He has revolutionised our understanding of Greenland geology by applying necessary, detailed geological mapping and applying necessary geochronological dating obtained through state-of-the-art geochronological techniques which he personally obtained.

He is considered to be one of the leaders in the understanding of early history of Earth. Professor Nutman also made significant contributions to ancient rocks through successful international collaboration. Read more

 Professor Elizabeth Halcomb from the University of Wollongong’s School of Nursing has been named in the 2020 List of 100+ Outstanding Nursing and Midwifery leaders around the world.

 MEDIA - RELEASE: International honour for UOW Professor of Primary Health Care Nursing

Media release: International honour for UOW Professor of Primary Health Care Nursing

Director of the Legal Intersections Research Centre at UOW’s School of Law, Professor Nan Seuffert has been named the 2019 Legal Academic of the Year at the NSW Women Lawyers Achievement Awards - recognised for excellence in research, her advocacy and support for the legal rights of all women, and for advancing women within the legal profession. Read more

The Australian Academy of Science has named UOW PhD student Ms Allison Broad as one of the recipients of the 2020 Max Day Environmental Science Fellowship Award. Ms Broad, an Early Career Researcher in Marine Science in the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences, will study the impacts of anchor scour on the seafloor near Port Kembla. Read more

IHMRI CEO Distinguished Professor David J Adams was awarded the position of Fellow of The Physiological Society. He is only the fourth person in Australia to be offered a fellowship. The rank of Fellow is an elite member status reserved to honor distinguished leaders who have demonstrated excellence in science, have made significant contributions to physiological sciences and related disciplines.

UOW’s Senior Professor Paul Cooper was awarded the prestigious James Harrison Medal at the recent Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air conditioning and Heating industry awards in Sydney. The Sustainable Buildings Research Centre Director was awarded the institute’s highest honour for his focus on developing the most efficient and effective engineering solutions to improve the quality of living and working environments for all.

Along with Professor Cooper’s award, Desert Rose won the Excellence in HVAC&R Research award and SBRC’s Brendan Banfield won Student of the Year – Higher Education or Research. 

New fellows to Academy of Social Sciences:  Professor Gordon Waitt, Professor Mark McLelland and Professor Terry Walter were appointed as Fellows of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia - an honour conferred for scholarly distinction in research and the advancement of social sciences.

For Gordon Waitt (Faculty of Social Sciences) - his qualitative research methods bring to the fore the importance everyday experiences to address key global challenges such as household sustainability, energy poverty and urban liveability.

For Mark McLelland (Faculty of Law Humanities and the Arts) - his historical work on the globalisation of western discourses of sexology, particularly in Japan, has provided previously unexamined data for scholars working on the history of sexuality and on minority sexual histories and cultures in both western and East Asian contexts. Congratulations to both from the UOW research community.

For Terry Walter (Faculty of Business) – his applied empirical research in finance theory as it relates to the behaviour of capital markets; models of earnings management, takeovers and mergers and initial public offers, behavioural finance, executive remuneration and corporate governance, among other topics.

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) has taken out the coveted Frontiers Research Award at the 2019 Research Australia Health and Medical Research Awards.The project team led by ACES Chief Investigator Associate Professor Jeremy Crook, ACES Director Professor Gordon Wallace and ACES Research Fellow Dr Eva Tomaskovic-Crook from the University of Wollongong, were acknowledged for their work in creating novel ways to use human stem cells to assist in regenerative tissue engineering research for the treatment of diseases. The group is investigating the use of electrical stimulation to influence cell behaviour as a way to treat traumatic brain injuries and neurological disorders such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.

Dr Sharon Crozier-De Rosa, Senior Lecturer in History from University of Wollongong, has been awarded a 2020 National Library of Australia (NLA) Fellowship for her project: ‘Memory-Keepers: Women activists’ strategies to document their history and preserve their own memory’ Only 10 of these distinguished fellowships are awarded yearly. They support top researchers – from within and outside of Australia – to make intensive use of the NLA’s rich and varied collections through residencies of three months.

Professor Frank Deane is the 2019 winner of the AACBT Distinguished Career Award - for outstanding contributions to Cognitive or Behavioural research.

2019 Australian Museum Eureka Prize - Environmental Research.
Blue Carbon Horizons team – led by A/Prof. Kerrylee Rogers
has won a prestigious Eureka award. The UOW led research team is behind a study that found coastal wetlands capture more carbon as sea levels rise. The team also includes Dr Jeff Kelleway (UOW), Professor Neil Saintilan (Macquarie University), Dr Debashish Mazumder (ANSTO), Ms Atun Zawadzki (ANSTO) and Professor Colin Woodroffe (UOW). Listen to Kerrylee's interview with Hamish McDonald on ABC radio.

Associate Professor Martina Sanderson-Smith: The Australian Society for Microbiology (ASM) has awarded the ASM Frank Fenner Award to A/Prof. Martina Sanderson Smith from the School of Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience, for her distinguished research contributions in Australia in the field of microbiology. She receives a plaque, $1000 prize money and the opportunity to present her work at the Fenner Lectures at the ASM Annual Scientific Meeting.

Dr Dominique Tanner: Geologist Dr Dominique Tanner, who is researching how precious metals are concentrated in undersea volcanoes, is one of the ABC’s Top 5 Scientists for 2019. The Top 5 program is an annual quest to find five of the brightest science communicators in Australia, to help them share their ideas with the country. ABC broadcaster Robyn Williams, presenter of RN’s The Science Show, was one of the adjudicators of the Top 5 Scientist applicants. Dom will be based at ABC studios throughout July working with ABC journalists and broadcasters to spread the word about science and her research.

Professor Liz Halcomb: Professor Liz Halcomb in the School of Nursing was awarded the prestigious Bridges Web Medal from the Australasian Association for Academic Primary Care. The medal recognises those who have made internationally significant teaching and/or research contributions to academic primary care. Notable, as the first nurse to win a medal, historically won by GP’s and Research Psychologists.

Dr Natalie Matosin: Dr Natalie Matosin's research provide critical steps towards new medications to improve quality of life for people who suffer from mental illness. For her research she was a recipient of the 2019 New South Wales Tall Poppy Science Award. The prestigious NSW Young Tall Poppy Science Awards from the Australian Institute of Policy & Science (AIPS) attract nominations from young researchers across a diverse range of fields and many universities.

Associate Professor Xiaoqi Feng: Founding Co-Director of PowerLab at School of Health and Society, has been awarded the Research Award for NSW/ACT Parks and Leisure Australia Awards of Excellence. The award is for Dr Feng’s research using longitudinal data to understand how much green space is needed to maximise health in children and mums in communities across Australia.

  • Professor Colin Murray-Wallace: Australian Academy of Science 2016 Mawson Medal and Lecture (awarded in 2015)
  • Professor Buddhima Indraratna: Railway Technical Society of Australasia Individual Award - Thomas Telford Premium Award for 2014 Best Paper: Ground Improvement
  • Distinguished Professor Richard (Bert) Roberts: Thomson Reuters Citation Award
  • Associate Professor Zenobia Jacobs: Thomson Reuters Citation Award
  • Associate Professor Adam Trevitt: Bowie Medal for Research Excellence in Mass Spectrometry
  • Professor Lesley Head: Vega Medal
  • Professor Linda Tapsell: Member of the Order of Australia
  • Honorary Professor Hugh Mackay: Officer of the Order of Australia
  • Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie: Pitman Medal
  • Professor Buddhima Indraratna: Chandra S. Desai Medal
  • Professor Marc in het Panhuis: Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Distinguished Professor Gordon Wallace:Honorary Doctorate in Science, Hanbat University (Korea)
  • Dr Siobhan McHugh: Inaugural Anne Dunn Scholar of the Year; Bronze Medal, New York Radio Festival
  • Dr Ngamta Natalie Thamwattana: John Henry Mitchell Medal, Australian and New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics
  • Professor Neil Williams: Haddon Forrester King Medal, Australian Academy of Science
  • Professor Lorna Moxham, Susan Liersch-Sumskis, Renee Brighton, Chris Patterson: Major Partnerships in Wellbeing Award 2013, Australian College of Mental Health Nurses
  • Dr Michael Kelso: RACI Biota Award
  • Professor Hua Kun Liu: ATSE Fellow
  • Dr Zenobia Jacobs: Scopus Young Researcher of the Year
  • UOW-DSTO partnership: Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia
  • Professor Paul Cooper and Team UOW Solar Decathlon 2013
  • Professor Alison Jones: American Academy of Clinical Toxicology Fellow
  • Dr Gerald Nanson: David Linton Award, British Society for Geomorphology
  • Dr Bronwyn Carlson: Stanner Award, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies