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Curtin University honours six distinguished academics

Media release

Curtin University has awarded six outstanding academics the prestigious title of John Curtin Distinguished Professor, the highest honour the University awards its academic staff.

The title was introduced in 2005, and 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.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said the recipients were recognised for their ongoing academic success and significant contributions to the University.

“The new John Curtin Distinguished Professors come from a diverse range of fields including geoscience, statistical science, chemical engineering, psychology and cultural studies, and each have amassed both national and international reputations in their areas of expertise,” Professor Terry said.

“These six recipients epitomise everything that Curtin University strives for in innovative research and teaching, and it is fitting that we recognise the impact these academics have made as we celebrate 50 Years of Innovation.”

This year the accolade has been bestowed on Professors Nikos Ntoumanis and San Ping Jang from the Faculty of Health Sciences; Professor Suvendrini Perera from the Faculty of Humanities, and Professors Adrian Baddeley, Pete Kenny and Andrew Putnis from the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Professor Nikos Ntoumanis, specialises in factors that optimise motivation and promote performance, morality, psychological well-being and health-conducive behaviours. He is a Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences, and is a recipient of the John De Later Awards for Research Leadership.

Professor San Ping Jiang, is Deputy Director of the Fuels and Energy Technology Institute. He has extensive academic and industry experience having held positions at Nanyang Technological University, CSIRO Materials and Manufacturing Division and Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd.

Professor Suvendrini Perera, is Deputy Director of the Australia-Asia Pacific Institute and Research Professor of Cultural Studies in the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts. She has published widely on issues of social justice, including decolonisation, race, ethnicity and multiculturalism.

Professor Adrian Baddeley, is one of Australia’s leading researchers in statistical science. He develops statistical methodology for analysing spatial data and image data, and implements the methods in open-source software.

Professor Pete Kenny, is an influential geochemist and has the highest citation rate among Curtin’s geoscience researchers. His work includes studies of the Earth’s earliest crust, diamond formation in the Earth’s mantle, and timing of supercontinent formant and break-up.

Professor Andrew Putnis, is Director of Curtin’s Institute of GeoScience Research. His research concerns the mechanism of fluid-mineral interaction and its relationship to the strength and deformation of crustal rocks.

John Curtin Distinguished Professors are academics with exceptional research, teaching, creative or artistic achievements; a significant record of leadership and established international reputations.

Two Curtin academics also had their John Curtin Distinguished Professor titles renewed: Professor Anna Haebich, Faculty of Humanities, a multi-award winning scholar of international repute, well known for her leadership in interdisciplinary and cross-cultural research, and Professor Moses Tade, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Curtin’s Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor of Science and Engineering, he is well respected nationally and worldwide for his research in chemical engineering.