A world leader in agricultural science from The University of Western Australia was last night named WA Scientist of the Year while three other UWA researchers won their categories in this year’s Premier’s Science Awards.
Hackett Professor Kadambot Siddique AM, Director of The UWA Institute of Agriculture has taken out the top award, after being selected as a finalist two years in a row.
Professor Britta Regli-von Ungern-Sternberg and Professor Hongqi Sun have been named joint winners of the Mid-Career Scientist of the Year category and Dr David Gozzard was named Early Career Scientist of the Year.
Professor Siddique has worked closely with the agriculture and food industries to significantly improve cereal and grain legume production in dryland environments, resulting in new crop varieties and agronomic packages for grain growers.
He is an outstanding ambassador for WA and UWA, promoting sustainable agriculture and addressing global food security through his prolific research output, leadership, and collaboration.
In his acceptance speech, Professor Siddique said the award was a humbling and life-defining honour that he dedicated to his family in Perth and India.
“It is momentous times such as these that inspire us to reflect on our life’s journey,” he said.
Professor Siddique said he was especially thankful to his expansive network of colleagues, PhD and Master’s students, and research collaborators at UWA and universities and research institutions across WA, Australia and the world.
Foundation Chair of Paediatric Anaesthesia at UWA, co-lead of the Perioperative Medicine research program at Telethon Kids Institute (TKI) and a specialist paediatric anaesthetist at Perth Children’s Hospital, Professor Regli-von Ungern-Sternberg is a global research leader in paediatric anaesthesia and perioperative medicine.
Image: 2023 Mid-Career Scientist of the Year Joint Winner: Professor Britta Regli von Ungern Sternberg
Professor Sun, from the UWA School of Molecular Sciences, has significantly advanced energy and environmental catalysis by exploring novel nanomaterials and has been a Clarivate highly cited researcher since 2019.
Image: 2023 Mid-Career Scientist of the Year Joint Winner: Professor Hongqi Sun
Dr Gozzard, from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, is an experimental physicist developing laser measurement and communication technology for spacecraft and his research has the potential to make WA a world-leader in satellite communications.
Image: 2023 Early Career Scientist of the Year: Dr David Gozzard
Anti-bullying champion, Emeritus Professor Donna Cross OAM, was also inducted into the WA Science Hall of Fame for her long-term contribution to child and youth mental health. Before becoming Emeritus in 2022, Professor Cross was Head of the Health Promotion and Education research program at TKI, Senior Honorary Fellow at UWA, and WA Node Director for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families Over the Life Course.
Image: Western Australian Science Hall of Fame Inductee: Emeritus Professor Donna Cross OAM
UWA’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Amit Chakma said the University was very proud of its award-winning scientists.
“Our researchers care passionately, think deeply and work with immense energy and dedication to ensure that we are making a difference,” Professor Chakma said. “Their research is helping solve many global challenges faced by humanity.”
The awards, a State Government initiative, were established in 2002 to honour the outstanding achievements of WA’s science and innovation community.