Winners announced for 2021 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes

Tuesday, 12 October, 2021

Winners announced for 2021 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes

The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes, claimed to be Australia’s most comprehensive national science awards, have been awarded once again, honouring excellence across the areas of research and innovation, leadership, science engagement and school science.

Presented annually in partnership with some of the nation’s leading scientific institutions, government organisations, universities and corporations, the Eureka Prizes raise the profile of science and science engagement in the community by celebrating outstanding achievement.

Since the prizes were established in 1990, a total of 434 Eureka Prizes and more than $4 million in prize money have been awarded. This year’s prize winners can be found below.

Research & Innovation

NSW Environment, Energy and Science (DPIE) Eureka Prize for Applied Environmental Research

NSW Bushfire Hub: University of Wollongong, Western Sydney University, University of Tasmania and UNSW

The NSW Bushfire Hub undertook extensive research into the devastating Black Summer bushfires, with their findings addressing major knowledge gaps relating to droughts, fuel dynamics and the social and environmental impacts of the fires.

Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research

Lindell Bromham, Felicity Meakins, Xia Hua and Cassandra Algy: Australian National University, The University of Queensland and Karungkarni Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation

By studying Gurindji, an Indigenous language of northern Australia, the team’s research is developing new ways to understand the processes of language change and factors that help keep Indigenous languages strong and vibrant.

Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre Eureka Prize for Infectious Diseases Research

Professor Julie Bines: Murdoch Children's Research Institute and University of Melbourne

Professor Julie Bines is leading the development of RV3-BB, a safe, effective and affordable newborn rotavirus vaccine that will prevent rotavirus gastroenteritis from birth, potentially saving thousands of lives.

ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology

Professor Justin Gooding, Professor Maria Kavallaris AM, Dr Julio Ribeiro, Dr Aidan O'Mahony, Dr Robert Utama and Dr Lakmali Atapattu: UNSW, Australian Centre for NanoMedicine, Children’s Cancer Institute and Inventia Life Science

The team developed a breakthrough bioprinting system that can rapidly produce 3D cell structures with apparently unprecedented cell viability and tuneability — a game changer for cancer research and therapeutic development.

Macquarie University Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher

Dr Emma Camp: University of Technology Sydney

Dr Emma Camp’s discovery of corals thriving in extreme conditions is informing new adaptive management solutions in both Australia and abroad. She is developing improved management strategies for coral reefs worldwide, while using her work as a platform to advocate for action on climate change.

Defence Science and Technology Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia

Cross Domain Desktop Compositor: University of Melbourne, Defence Science and Technology Group, UNSW and CSIRO’s Data61

By combining a secure operating system with novel hardware architecture, the Cross Domain Desktop Compositor team has defied the trend of increasing complexity in computing technologies to enable a new method for keeping sensitive information secure from internet attacks.

UNSW Eureka Prize for Scientific Research

Associate Professor Diane McDougald and Dr Gustavo Espinoza Vergara: University of Technology Sydney

Associate Professor Diane McDougald and Dr Gustavo Espinoza-Vergara discovered that the bacterium responsible for cholera, Vibrio cholerae, becomes more virulent when passaging through a previously unknown vector. Their finding reveals where pathogenic bacteria hide before causing infectious disease outbreaks.


AstraZeneca Eureka Prize for Emerging Leader in Science

Associate Professor Kristin Carson-Chahhoud: University of South Australia

Driven by her commitment to lung health and vision for a smoke-free Australia, Associate Professor Kristin Carson-Chahhoud is using innovative augmented reality technology to disrupt health communication.

Eureka Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science

Dr Dana M Bergstrom: Australian Antarctic Division and University of Wollongong

Dr Dana M Bergstrom has championed evidence-based science in biodiversity, biosecurity and the impacts of climate change. Skilled at science translation and distilling complexity, she has led the exploration of ecosystem collapse from Australia’s tropics to Antarctica.

University of Technology Sydney Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers

Dr Melina Georgousakis: Franklin Women

Through the establishment of Franklin Women, Dr Melina Georgousakis is providing the infrastructure for a sector-first mentoring program for women, delivering events and building a community to foster the establishment of new mentoring relationships.

Science Engagement

Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Eureka Prize for Innovation in Citizen Science

AUSMAP: Total Environment Centre and Macquarie University

The Australian Microplastic Assessment Project (AUSMAP) is a national citizen science program in which participants are educated on the prevalence of microplastics around our waterways and trained to collect scientifically valid data that is used to design effective mitigation strategies for plastic pollution.

Finkel Foundation Eureka Prize for Long-Form Science Journalism

Dr Dyani Lewis

In 2020, a little-known field of science was behind pandemic policies that upended life as we knew it. In ‘Role Models in a Time of Pandemic’, published by Cosmos, Dr Dyani Lewis explains how the fledgling discipline of mathematical disease modelling grew into the influential field it is today.

Celestino Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science

Dr Niraj Lal: Australian National University and Australian Energy Market Operator

Through mediums including prime-time television, groundbreaking podcasts and a popular children’s book about gravity, Dr Niraj Lal has increased understanding and appreciation of science among Australians of all ages.

Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Science Journalism

Patient Zero: Australian Broadcasting Corporation

‘Patient Zero’, published by ABC Radio National, tells stories of disease outbreaks: where they begin, why they happen and how we found ourselves in the middle of one. From the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to medical mysteries of the past, this eight-part series provides a new lens through which to view pandemics.

Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Eureka Prize for STEM Inclusion

Corey Tutt and Team DeadlyScience

Corey Tutt and Team DeadlyScience are committed to increasing STEM participation among Indigenous Australians. Together, they have provided thousands of culturally appropriate science resources to schools in remote communities and connected nearly 10,000 young Indigenous people with mentors.

School Science

University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize – Primary

Scarlett O and Scarlett P: Oak Flats Public School, NSW

If a super volcano erupted, the impacts would be widespread and catastrophic. In their film ‘Super Volcanoes’, Scarlett and Scarlett demonstrate the science behind these high-magnitude eruptions and explain how they could be used as a source of power, providing green energy for future generations.

University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize – Secondary

Jonathan D: Townsville Grammar School, Qld

In ‘Rewilding Earth’, Jonathan discusses the implications of climate change and investigates how enhancing biodiversity could help address this pressing issue. Through a series of interviews, he shares community concerns about the future of climate change then draws on research to explain the process of rewilding.

Image caption: Associate Professor Diane McDougald and Dr Gustavo Espinoza Vergara won the UNSW Eureka Prize for Scientific Research. Image ©University of Technology Sydney.

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