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Curtin announces 2021 Research and Engagement Award winners

Media release

Curtin University has announced the winners of the 2021 Research and Engagement Awards.

The winners of the 2021 Research and Engagement Awards.

The awards, held on November 23, acknowledge research excellence and outstanding media engagement across different career stages and research disciplines.

The awards ceremony also saw the bestowal of the inaugural Jean-Pierre Macquart Memorial Scholarship, established in honour of the late Associate Professor Macquart, a valued member of the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy and broader research community, who unexpectedly passed away last year.

The 2021 John de Laeter Award for Research Leadership was awarded to Associate Professor Debbie Silvester-Dean from the Faculty of Science and Engineering.  Associate Professor Silvester-Dean has made outstanding contributions to chemistry research, publishing over 30 peer-reviewed journal articles, generating more than $1 million of research income and winning several prestigious national and international awards in the three-year assessment period.  Associate Professor Silvester-Dean is recognised for her world-leading research in gas sensing and electrochemistry, working on fundamental research that is delivering solutions to real-world problems. She is an outstanding mentor, spearheading initiatives to improve the careers of students and early career researchers in STEM.

The 2021 Early Career Researcher of the Year award went to Dr Kefyalew Alene from the Faculty of Health Sciences.  Dr Alene joined Curtin University in 2019, as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Within two years, he has attracted nearly a million dollars in external research funding. He has established his research team and currently supervises eight PhD students, working with them to build confidence, develop research skills, and guide them to be future public health scientists. Dr Alene was selected by The Australian’s Research Magazine as a rising star and the leader of the future and was listed among the top five young Australian researchers in the Health and Medical Sciences in 2020.

The Researcher of the Year finalists, and winners of the Researcher Discipline Awards were:

The finalists for the Early Career Researcher of the Year award, and winners of the ECR Researcher Discipline Awards were:

  • Business Society and Communities (Joint Winners) – Dr Joanna Moullin (Faculty of Health Sciences) and Associate Professor Crystal Abidin  (Faculty of Humanities)
  • Creative PracticeDr Michael Gray (Faculty of Humanities)
  • STEM – Dr Kefyalew Alene  (Faculty of Health Sciences)

The 2021 Research Team Award is in recognition of a team that supports inclusive behaviours, fosters research performance, increases collaboration across Curtin and with external partners and has achieved an exceptional outcome.  The recipient of the 2021 Research Team Award was the Binar-1 Space Program Team, led by John Curtin Distinguished Professor Phil Bland, from the Faculty of Science and Engineering.  The Binar-1 Space Program is revolutionising access to space, drastically reducing costs through highly integrated design and advanced manufacturing to lower the barrier of entry for start-ups and researchers to develop and test their technology in space. The team designed, built, and launched the first Western Australian satellite. The Binar-1 CubeSat was entirely made at Curtin, by Curtin undergraduates, postgraduates, technical and academic staff.  The team secured a launch place on a resupply mission to the International Space Station, where astronauts have very recently deployed the satellite into orbit.

Finalists for the 2021 Research Team Award were:

  • ARC Centre for Mine Site Restoration Team;
  • Volunteer Management Research Team;
  • Language and Literacy in Young People (#LaLYP) Team;
  • Binar-1 Space Program Team;
  • Navigating Urban Spaces Team;
  • Work Systems Design Team; and the
  • School of Education Research Team;

The inaugural Jean-Pierre Macquart Memorial Scholarship, established in honour of the late Associate Professor Macquart, was awarded to Mr Callan Wood, to undertake PhD research on ‘Real-time imaging of jets from accreting black holes’. Mr Wood will be supervised by Professor James Miller-Jones, and will be generously supported by scholarship while undertaking his PhD research.

The winners of the 2021 Curtin Media Awards were also announced, in recognition of the researchers who have played the greatest role in raising the profile of the university in the media. The winners include:

Most Outstanding Research News Story

John Curtin Distinguished Professor Phil Bland and the SSTC Binar-1 Team

Most Prolific Media Commentator for the Faculty of Health Sciences

John Curtin Distinguished Professor John Mamo

(Finalists – Professor Archie Clements, Professor Jaya Dantas, Dr Jacqui Hendriks, Professor Gavin Pereira)

Most Prolific Media Commentator for the Faculty of Science and Engineering

John Curtin Distinguished Professor Phil Bland

(Finalists – John Curtin Distinguished Professor Kingsley Dixon, Professor James Miller-Jones, Dr Hadrien Devillepoix, Associate Professor Bill Bateman)

Most Prolific Media Commentator for the Faculty of Business and Law

Associate Professor Rebecca Cassells

(Finalists – John Curtin Distinguished Professor Alan Duncan, Dr Elizabeth Jackson, Professor John Phillimore, Associate Professor Hannah McGlade)

Most Prolific Media Commentator for the Faculty of Humanities

Adjunct Professor Joe Siracusa

(Finalists – Professor Tama Leaver, John Curtin Distinguished Professor Peter Newman, Associate Professor Alexey Muraviev, Professor Katie Ellis )

Highest Contribution to The Conversation

Professor Tama Leaver

Highest readership of an article on The Conversation

Dr Denis Fougerouse

Highest Contribution to the Australian Science Media Centre

John Curtin Distinguished Professor Peter Newman

Media Relations Highly Commended

Associate Professor Htwe Htwe Thein

Associate Professor Billy Sung

Associate Professor Crystal Abidin

Media Relations Best New Talent

Dr Daniela Scaccabarozzi

Dr Mingming Cheng