Skip to main content

Six exceptional Curtin researchers awarded University’s highest honour

Media release

Six outstanding Curtin researchers have been recognised with the University’s highest honour by being named John Curtin Distinguished Professors in a special ceremony.

Professor Judith Finn, Professor Keith Hill, Professor Ottmar Lipp, Professor Peter O’Sullivan, from Curtin’s Faculty of Health Sciences, along with Professor Brian Evans and Professor Vishnu Pareek, from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, have been awarded the prestigious title.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry congratulated the recipients on receiving the honour, adding they had contributed greatly to the success of the University.

“The title of John Curtin Distinguished Professor recognises an academic’s significant and sustained contribution to the University and the wider community throughout their distinguished career,” Professor Terry said.

“I am delighted to acknowledge six new John Curtin Distinguished Professors as deserving recipients of the University’s highest honour because of the vital role they have each played in our commitment to transform lives and communities through education and research.”

The new recipients awarded the title of John Curtin Distinguished Professor are:

Professor Brian Evans, a multi-award-winning scholar of international repute, known for his research in geophysical seismic methods and petroleum engineering. Professor Evans has published more than 150 international journal articles, authored 27 major reports and generated an external research income of $29 million over the last 30 years. He led the Curtin science and engineering teams of four Cooperative Research Centres associated with exploration and carbon geosequestration. Professor Evans also played a key role in Curtin’s involvement with the University of Aberdeen, through his work in developing the Global Subsea University Alliance.

Professor Judith Finn, the Director of the Prehospital, Resuscitation and Emergency Care Research Unit in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine at Curtin University. She is also the Director of the Australian Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium – a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centre of Excellence. Professor Finn is internationally recognised for her expertise in resuscitation science and prehospital emergency care, appointed an honorary member of the European Resuscitation Council and a Fellow of the American Heart Association. Professor Finn has generated an external research income of more than $10 million over the past decade.

Professor Keith Hill, a physiotherapist and a senior researcher with 38 years of clinical and research experience in rehabilitation, falls prevention and ageing well. Professor Hill has extensive national and international research collaborations and has generated an external research income of more than $23 million. Several measurement tools developed in research led by Professor Hill have become well accepted tools in research and clinical practice in Australia and internationally. The Australian Association of Gerontology recognised Professor Hill with life membership in 2017, and is awarded to those with a long and distinguished record of service and contribution to the gerontology community

Professor Ottmar Lipp, a research Professor in Curtin’s School of Psychology who has received national awards for his research, teaching, and postgraduate supervision. Professor Lipp’s research, funded by the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council, is concerned with emotion, attention and their interaction. In 2012, he led the successful bid for the ARC-SRI: A Science of Learning Research Centre ($16 million). Professor Lipp has authored more than 170 papers in peer-reviewed, international journals and obtained more than $5.5 million in 30 competitive research grants.

Professor Peter O’Sullivan, a research Professor of Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy at Curtin University and a specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapist (as awarded by the Australian College of Physiotherapists 2005). Professor O’Sullivan and his team have an international reputation for clinical research investigating the development, classification and targeted management of persistent musculoskeletal pain disorders. He has developed a new management approach for disabling low back pain – called ‘cognitive functional therapy’ – and has published more than 120 papers with his team in international peer-reviewed journals.

Professor Vishnu Pareek, the Head of the Curtin WA School of Mines: Minerals, Energy and Chemical Engineering and a globally renowned researcher in the area of multi-phase flow and fluid dynamics. Professor Pareek is considered among the pioneers for his work on photocatalytic reactor modelling and design and fluid-particle modelling, with his research on 3D-printed process equipment also at the forefront of this field. Professor Pareek is a member of the Australian Research Council’s 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia Evaluation Committee. Collaboratively,  he has generated more than $20 million in research income to Curtin.

Three Curtin academics have also had their John Curtin Distinguished Professor titles renewed for a further five years. These include:

Professor Yong Hong Wu, from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, who has published more than 200 research articles in prestigious international journals. According to Web of Science’s recent list of highly cited authors in mathematics, he ranked within the top 200 in the world by the number of top papers in mathematics.  Professor Wu has won eight national competitive ARC research grants, and supervised 26 PhDs to completion. He has also made a substantial contribution to postgraduate courses coordination, curriculum development and the internationalisation of the mathematical science courses.

Professor Tony Lucey, from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, who is internationally recognised for his fundamental research in fluid-structure interaction and its applications in engineering and biomechanics. He has won a number of individual and team awards for education design and practice, and regularly chairs the accreditation of engineering programs in Australian universities. In 2007, he was listed by Engineers Australia as one of Australia’s top 100 most influential Engineers. Professor Lucey was also awarded the WA Division medal for service and leadership in the professional body of Engineers Australia in 2013.

Professor Kliti Grice, from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, who is the Director of the WA-OIGC (WA Organic and Isotope Geochemistry Centre) and leads a large team funded through her ARC fellowships and other ARC grants. As one of the youngest female Professors in Australia, she uses her position to actively encourage the progress of women and promote cultural diversity in science. She is a world-leading authority on molecular fossil and stable isotope geochemistry. She has more than 176 peer-reviewed publications that have been cited 5,716 times. Throughout her career, Professor Grice has collaborated extensively with Australian and international partners.

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.