A University of Wollongong researcher known for his groundbreaking work fusing robotics with human biology has been named the NSW Scientist of the Year.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Professor Gordon Wallace was one of 10 leading researchers, innovators and educators who was honoured at the 2017 Premier’s Prize for Science and Engineering at Government House tonight.
Professor Wallace, who will receive a prize of $60,000, was honoured for his groundbreaking work, which could pave the way for implantable 3D-printed structures containing living cells to regenerate damaged cartilage, bone and even organs.
Ms Berejiklian says the Prizes recognised the contribution the scientists and engineers made to our everyday lives.
"A strong and dynamic research and development system is critical to driving innovation in the state's economy," Ms Berejiklian said.
"This year's Prizes again demonstrate NSW has some of the world's best and brightest scientists and technologists across a diverse range of disciplines right here in our own backyard.
Through their inspiring ingenuity and innovation this year's winners have delivered economic, environmental, health, social and technological benefits for the global community," she said.
Professor Wallace said the prize was a tribute to the work of his team at University of Wollongong.
“It is a great honour to have our research recognised in this way. We will continue to strive to ensure that our most fundamental discoveries are translated into real applications to the benefit of our communities in the most effective way possible,” he said.
NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer Mary O’Kane also paid tribute to this year’s winners.
“The standard of nominations for this year’s Prizes was again very high,” Professor O’Kane said. I congratulate all of this year’s winners and thank them for the outstanding contribution they have made to science and engineering in NSW.”
The nine category prizewinners, who will each receive $5,000, are:
1. Excellence in Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry and Physics
Professor Trevor McDougall FAA, FRS (UNSW Sydney)
2. Excellence in Biological Sciences (Ecology, environmental, agricultural and organismal)
Professor Edward Holmes FAA, FRS (The University of Sydney)
3. Excellence in Medical Biological Sciences (Cell and molecular, medical, veterinary and genetics)
Professor Sally Dunwoodie (Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute)
4. Excellence in Engineering and Information and Communications Technology
Associate Professor Sarah Johnson (University of Newcastle)
5. Energy Innovation in NSW
Dr Brett Hallam (UNSW Sydney)
6. NSW Early Career Researcher of the Year
Dr Susan Hua (University of Newcastle)
7. Leadership in Innovation in NSW
Professor Maria Kavallaris FAAHMS (UNSW Sydney and the Children’s Cancer Institute)
8. Innovation in NSW Public Sector Science and Engineering
Dr Wayne O'Connor (NSW Department of Primary Industries)
9. Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education in NSW
Mr Brett Mckay (Kirrawee High School)