Skip to main content

Curtin honours its distinguished academics

Media release

Curtin University has recognised the distinguished service of two of its professors by awarding them the highest honour the University can award its academic staff.

Professors Kingsley Dixon and Steven Tingay from the Faculty of Science and Engineering have both been awarded the title of John Curtin Distinguished Professor.

Professor Kingsley Dixon, is an eminent botanist in Curtin’s Department of Environment and Agriculture. His discovery of the specific chemical in smoke that causes seeds to germinate finally explained why the Australian bush blooms after fire. He was named WA Scientist of the Year at the 2016 Premier’s Science Awards, where he was recognised for his efforts in conservation science, restoration ecology and plant science.

Professor Steven Tingay, is the founding Director of the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy (CIRA), and is well known for his work on the landmark billion dollar Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project and delivering the Murchison Widefield Array. Over the last ten years he has been an international influencer in the global radio astronomy community. He has recently returned to Perth from Italy where he was seconded to Italy’s National Institute of Astrophysics to take up the position of Executive Director of CIRA.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said both recipients had made significant contributions to the University and have richly-deserved and esteemed reputations within both the national and international community.

“Professors Dixon and Tingay are both leaders in their fields, having gained significant international recognition and accolades for their research achievements and leadership,” Professor Terry said.

“At Curtin we continually strive to be leaders in innovative research and teaching, and these two recipients have contributed greatly to the University’s success in these areas, and we are privileged to have them as part of our Professoriate.”

Professor Charles Watson from the Faculty of Health Sciences has also been bestowed with the title of John Curtin Distinguished Emeritus Professor, which is conferred in perpetuity.

Professor Charles Watson, has been recognised for his commitment to the University in research and leadership of the former Division of Health Sciences at Curtin. His research has focused on gene expression in brainstem development, and he is widely known for his atlas on the mapping of the rat brain, first published in 1982.

Professor David Treagust, from the Faculty of Humanities has also had his title of John Curtin Distinguished Professor renewed for a further five years. Professor Treagust is recognised nationally and internationally as a leading researcher in science education, and has received $3.6 million from 12 Australian Research Council large grants and the Qatar National Research Fund.

This year’s recipients are honoured during the University’s ‘50 Years of Innovation’ celebrations – recognising the combined history of the Western Australian Institute of Technology (WAIT), which opened its doors to students in 1967 and evolved into Curtin University in 1987.

John Curtin Distinguished Professors are academics with exceptional teaching expertise, research skills, or scholarly, creative or artistic achievements; a significant record of public service and an established national or international reputation.