Flinders at forefront of science awards

From Excellence in Science and Industry Collaboration to Scientist of the Year, Flinders University innovation and excellence in research was at the forefront of several categories of the 2020 SA Science Excellence and Innovation Awards.

South Australia’s Scientist of the Year has been shared between Professor Colin Raston and Professor Sharad Kumar and the nation-leading South Australia’s Medical Device Partnering Program led by Flinders University Professor Karen Reynolds won the Excellence in Science and Industry Collaboration.

The awards, delayed by last year’s COVID-19 restrictions, were held on Friday 12 February at the Adelaide Botanic Garden.

Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling congratulated Professor Raston, Professor Reynolds and other finalists and winners.

The Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni said Professors Raston and Kumar are global

leaders in environmental and health research both making important scientific breakthroughs

during their brilliant careers.

Professor Raston’s pioneering Australia’s green chemistry movement in the 1990s continues

to focus on the development of clean technology, with research aimed at devising environmentally

friendly alternatives to toxic chemicals processing.

“The invention of the vortex fluidic device put Professor Raston’s work on the global stage, earning him

international recognition for the development of a new science,” Mr Pisoni said.

Professor Raston is a South Australia Premier’s Professorial Research Fellow in Clean Technology

and is the Professor of Clean Technology at Flinders University.

Professor Kumar holds a Research Professorship of Cell Biology, a Chair of Cancer Biology at the

University of South Australia and he co-founded leading medical research institute, the Centre for

Cancer Biology.

“The passion and dedication that Professor Raston and Professor Kumar have towards their craft is

an inspiration for the next generation of scientists,” Mr Pisoni said.

Their ground-breaking achievements are putting our state on the world stage and furthering the

Marshall Government’s goal of becoming the nation’s State of Science.”

The Medical Device Partnering Program, led by the Flinders University Medical Device Research Institute director Professor Karen Reynolds at Tonsley, is an incubator fostering collaborations between researchers, industry, end-users and government and develop medical technologies with global market potential.

Also based at the Tonsley Innovation District, Micro-X Ltd was named the inaugural South Australian Innovator of the Year sponsored by Novatech for developing and commercialising its “Nano” mobile X-ray unit which uses carbon nanotube technology.

The 2020 SA Science Excellence and Innovation Awards recognised the work of Science,

Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) leaders and teams working in

research and education institutions, schools, industry, and the community.

The awards encouraged people to become involved in science and innovation and to recognise the

depth and diversity of scientific endeavour and research in SA.

Scientist of the Year and the Innovator of the Year recipients received a prize to the value of

$25,000.

South Australia’s Chief Scientist Professor Caroline McMillen said that SA’s Science Excellence and

Innovation Awards demonstrate how STEMM researchers are working across the State to solve key

challenges facing communities across Australia and the world.

“Last year as the world lived through the COVID 19 pandemic and devastating bushfires, the value

of evidence based solutions driven by research and innovation became clear,” Professor McMiIlen said.

“Now is the time to shine a bright light on the excellent work of researchers, innovators, educators

and their industry collaborators in SA and beyond.

“The work of this year’s finalists in the SA Science Excellence and Innovation Awards provide

remarkable examples of world-leading research fuelling innovation in health, environmental

sustainability and new technologies supporting hi-tech industries.

“These awards also recognise exceptional, dedicated and passionate STEMM educators who every

day inspire bright and talented South Australians to be equipped for success in the workforce of the

future.”

Winners of the remaining four categories received a prize to the value of $10,000 to use towards

their career development.

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