Victoria Prizes and Victoria Fellowships announced

8 October

2013 Victoria Prize recipeints Professors Lloyd Hollenberg and Alan Cowman with Minister Louise Asher

Professor Lloyd Hollenberg from the University of Melbourne and Professor Alan Cowman from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, have both been awarded the 2013 Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation – worth $50,000 each.

Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business Louise Asher presented the awards at a ceremony in Melbourne on Tuesday, 8 October 2013.

Receiving the Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation in the physical sciences category, Victorian physicist, Professor Hollenberg has been recognised for his ground-breaking discovery and application of a world first quantum sensing technology with sensitivities and resolution a million times greater than any conventional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) system in the world.

World leading biologist, Professor Alan Cowman received the Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation in the life sciences category for his work over the last two decades to understand how the malaria parasite causes the disease, and how it circumvents many of the anti-malarial drugs used to control and treat the disease.

Ms Asher said the Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation recognises and honours Victoria’s leading researchers, and celebrates their contribution to the community through research and innovation.

“I congratulate Professor Hollenberg and Professor Cowman for the significant contributions they have made to research and our community,” Ms Asher said.

“As world leaders in their respective fields, both researchers have established collaborative relationships and networks in the Victorian and international research communities.”

Ms Asher also announced the awarding of twelve Victoria Fellowships, each worth up to $18,000, to enable researchers in the early stages of their careers to undertake international study missions.

“Victoria Fellowships provide researchers with a once in a lifetime opportunity to gain a valuable insight into the research community abroad, bringing knowledge, new insights and expertise back to Victoria,” Ms Asher said.

The Victoria Prize and Victoria Fellowships were established by the Kennett Coalition Government in 1998, to support and celebrate the work of the people who drive Victoria’s science and innovation capabilities.

They now form the centrepiece of a group of state awards and fellowships that include the Premier’s Award for Health and Medical Research, the Victorian Postdoctoral Research Fellowships, and the veski Innovation Fellowships.

In the 2012 State Budget, the Coalition Government doubled the number of Victoria Prizes and Victoria Fellowships on offer each year, and in 2013 also appointed veski to deliver the Victoria Prize and the Victoria Fellowship on behalf of the Government.

The Victoria Fellows - physical sciences for 2013 are:

  • Dr Meenakshi Arora, The University of Melbourne – to develop a triple-bottom-line framework for integrating decentralised water supply systems using existing water service infrastructure, with minimal financial, environmental and social impacts.
  • Dr Nishar Hameed, Deakin University – to develop highly sensitive medical imaging agents which diagnose and distinguish diseased tissue from normal tissue and provide information on a disease state and monitor the effect of a treatment.
  • Associate Professor Bradley Ladewig, Monash University – to build a multinational, multidisciplinary research effort to develop and commercialise technology to deliver water more efficiently for Australians.
  • Dr Xiangping Li, Swinburne University of Technology – to investigate a new approach to nanophotonics-enabled super-resolution all-optical magnetic recording.
  • Associate Professor Timothy Rawling, The University of Melbourne – to develop a Sedimentary Basin Management Co-operative Research Centre, with visits to world-leading developers of 3-D geological models.
  • Dr Jin Zhang, Deakin University – to understand how the extremely light-weight, thin cocoons that protect the wild silkworms from physical attacks and extreme weather to develop new lightweight materials for personal protection, load bearing and energy absorbing purposes.

The Victoria Fellows – life sciences for 2013 are:

  • Dr Anil Kumar Asthana, Alfred Hospital – to develop skills to establish a Melbourne-based intestinal ultrasound scan service to help stem the significant productivity losses and premature death caused by inflammatory bowel disease, and make a Victorian centre for training Australian gastroenterologists.
  • Dr Ross Clark, Australian Catholic University – to meet with key collaborators overseas and investigate technologies to identify those amongst the elderly most at risk of falling, and to implement falls-prevention programs in Victoria.
  • Dr Natasha Holmes, The University of Melbourne – to investigate the immune system response in patients who have developed Golden Staph, with the aim of being able to predict which individuals may benefit from a more tailored treatment.
  • Dr Simon James, Australian Synchrotron – to attend international workshops and conferences supporting the use of the Australian Synchrotron to inform approaches to tackling Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Dr Arthur Nasis, Monash University – to inspect cutting-edge cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technique called equilibrium-contrast imaging - a world first, non-invasive method to detect and quantify heart fibrosis.
  • Dr Jennifer Pilgrim, Monash University – to take advantage of the similarities between Australia and Sweden’s nation-wide coronial case databases, to establish the world’s first international, evidence-based resource for toxic concentrations of drugs in humans.


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