This year’s Australian Museum Eureka Prizes have recognised Australian science and engagement in fields across public health, climate change and biodiversity conservation.
The annual awards celebrate outstanding achievements in research, leadership, science engagement and school science.
Australian Museum Director and CEO Kim McKay congratulated winners and emphasised the importance of science in addressing global challenges.
“Scientific knowledge and innovation is key to progress,” McKay says. “Researchers and scientists help us understand how our universe works and how we can protect it. From the development of software that unravels the secrets to evolution to technical advancements that facilitate renewable energy projects, our collective futures depend on their contribution to build a resilient, sustainable world.”
The University of Sydney’s Dr Stephanie Partridge won the Eureka Prize for ‘Emerging Leader in Science’ for her work on adolescent health and wellbeing.
In her research, Partridge uses online technologies like texting and apps to help young people live a healthier lifestyle.
The other two leadership prizes went to University of Sydney professors Michael Kassiou and Renae Ryan.
In the research and innovation category, the NSW-based Waterbirds Aerial Survey Team from the University of NSW and the NSW planning and environment department won the applied environmental research Eureka Prize.
The award recognises one of the world’s largest and longest running wildlife surveys. The work has informed the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, the nomination and management of Ramsar-listed wetlands and contributed to the gazettal of three new national parks.
The other 9 research and innovation awards recognised a broad range of scientific endeavours including medical research relating to cancer, endometriosis, COVID-19, DNA and cystic fibrosis; renewable energy and climate solutions research; defence communication systems; and orchid conservation.
Four engagement awards recognised the work of science communicators and journalists.
Award-winning journalist Jo Chandler was awarded the Eureka Prize for Science Journalism for her longform essay ‘Buried Treasure’ on the Antarctic quest for the million year ice core, published in Griffith Review. Chandler is well known to Cosmos readers (here, here, here, and here).
Other engagement awards recognised citizen science program ‘1 Million Turtles’, radio show and podcast ‘That’s What I Call Science’ and Professor Toby Walsh for his work communicating about artificial intelligence through television, books and forums. Walsh is also a contributor to Cosmos.
Two Sydney-based school students took out the primary and secondary school science prize categories. Anna P from PLC Sydney won the primary prize for her video on green infrastructure and coastal erosion. Darcy B from Ashfield Boys High School won the secondary award for his video about chlorophyll.
The Australian Museum Research Institute Medal, awarded alongside the Eureka Prizes, was presented to Dr Jodi Rowley for her work at the Australian Museum on amphibian and reptile conservation, and as co-founder and lead scientist of citizen science project FrogID.