Oceanographer named NSW Scientist of the Year, nominations open for PM's Prizes

Wednesday, 22 November, 2023

Oceanographer named NSW Scientist of the Year, nominations open for PM's Prizes

Emeritus Professor Trevor McDougall AC FRS FAA, from UNSW Sydney, has been named NSW Scientist of the Year. Receiving a prize of $60,000, McDougall was one of 10 exceptional researchers, innovators and educators honoured at the 2023 NSW Premier’s Prizes for Science & Engineering, held at Government House last week.

The NSW Premier’s Prizes for Science & Engineering seek to recognise excellence in science and engineering, and reward leading researchers for cutting-edge work that has generated economic, environmental, health, social or technological benefits for NSW. McDougall was recognised for his contribution to our understanding of the fundamental physics of the ocean, including how it moves and how it mixes.

McDougall’s groundbreaking research has impacted all of physical oceanography, including observational oceanography and ocean modelling, and he has also transformed the field of ocean thermodynamics. With a focus on the ocean’s role in climate, ocean mixing processes and the thermodynamics of seawater, his work has improved the modelling of the effects of climate change and has led to the discovery of several new ocean mixing processes, plus the development of new methods of analysing oceanographic data.

“The more we learn about how the climate system works on this planet, it become more obvious how fragile it is, and how important it is to decarbonise our economies,” McDougall said.

NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte congratulated McDougall as well as the winners of the nine category prizes, who received $5000 each, and thanked them for their outstanding contributions to science, engineering and education in NSW. The category winners can be viewed here.

With the state prizes over for another year, the search is now on for Australia’s most outstanding scientists, research-based innovators and science teachers, as nominations open for the 2024 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science.

The prizes recognise significant advancement of knowledge across a diverse range of science fields and the critical role teachers play in inspiring the next generation of scientists. The 2023 prizes celebrated Australia’s excellence in quantum computing and pharmaceutical innovation as well as outstanding science teaching.

Nominations for the 2024 prizes are open until 5 pm AEDT on 8 February and can be made by peers or colleagues. Prize money worth $750,000 will be distributed across the following categories:

  • Prime Minister’s Prize for Science
  • Prime Minister's Prize for Innovation
  • Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year
  • Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year
  • Prize for New Innovators
  • Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools
  • Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools

“The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science is Australia’s biggest annual opportunity to recognise and celebrate the important work of our scientists, innovators and STEM teachers,” said Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic.

“I always look forward to the opportunity to showcase Australia’s world-class science and research sector and I strongly encourage people to put their nominations forward for the 2024 prizes.”

For more information, visit https://industry.gov.au/PMPrizes.

Image credit: iStock.com/picharnyut

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