SYDNEY, Nov. 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Elsevier, the global information analytics business specializing in science and health, are pleased to announce the winners and runners-up for their 2019 Scopus Researcher Awards. The awards were handed out last night at a ceremony at the University of New South Wales, John Niland Scientia Building in Sydney, Australia.
The awards recognize research in two areas, including excellence in creating a sustainable future and outstanding early career research (ECR). Each award winner receives $1,000 AUD in prize money; the runners-up in each category receive $500.
Excellence in research impacting a sustainable future
Melanie Zeppel, PhD from Macquarie University took home the top prize for her research program that provides new insights and understanding on a plants’ responses to climate change. The research has facilitated better management of water resources for humans, agriculture and native landscapes, developing a better understanding of the processes that determine water movement through ecosystems.
Dr. Zeppel is passionate about addressing climate change and its impacts and has advanced both fundamental and socially relevant understandings of how heat waves and drought have impacted forest mortality. Her research to date has also addressed gender equality, reinforced by her invited Position Statement on gendered impacts of climate change, submitted to the National Foundation of Australian Women. This also included a Social Policy Position paper, commenting on the government’s federal budget and federal policy leading up to the 2019 General Election, held earlier in May.
Professor Vivian Tam of Western Sydney University was the runner up in this category. Prof. Tam’s research focuses on sustainability in construction, particularly on life-cycle analysis, green buildings and recycled concrete. Her invention, C02 concrete, has the potential to enable the use of recycled concrete with the strength of virgin concrete, and addresses the issue of carbon capture and storage.
Excellence in outstanding early career research
This year’s ECR winner, Yang Bai, PhD, of the University of Queensland, was recognized for his important work in the highly competitive area of quantum dots, perovskite photovoltaics and LEDs. Dr. Bai’s work will significantly contribute to high-end knowledge in functional materials science and nanotechnology, where Australia enjoys a competitive advantage.
Beyond photovoltaics, these quantum dot materials also significantly influence a number of other applications of local and global importance, including: lighting, display, and X-ray imaging, which will help position Australia at the forefront of smart optoelectronics.
The disruptive technologies developed by Dr. Bai hold great promise to deliver skills for the new economy and help maintain Australia’s current lifestyle, while reducing carbon emissions.
Runner up, Qilin Wang, PhD, of the University of Technology Sydney, has made high-quality contributions to waste water treatment with the potential to shift sewage treatment plants from energy consumers into energy producers. Dr. Wang has developed an innovative technology called “Free Ammonia Technology”, which maximizes energy recovery from sewage using a freely available by-product of sewage treatment: ammonia.
The awards submissions were judged by an esteemed group of academic panelists representing some of Australia and New Zealand’s most prestigious institutions. Headed by two chief panelists, Professor Aidan Byrne of the University of Queensland and Dr. Anders Karlsson, Vice President, Global Strategic Networks, Elsevier. The panel also included Professor Deborah Sweeney of Western Sydney University; Professor James Metson, University of Auckland; and Edith Cowan University’s Professor David Suter.
“The Scopus awards celebrate the significant contribution made by some of Australia’s most promising young and emerging researchers,” said Prof. Byrne. “This year’s awards highlight both researchers at the beginning of want I am certain will be illustrious careers and researchers who are contributing to the creation of a more sustainable planet.”
Dr. Karlsson said, “Both the awards in the sustainability category, as well as the early career research category, demonstrate their strength in innovation and societal impact potential.
“The awardees have addressed topics such as the development of more efficient solar cells, more efficient waste water treatment, how plants can handle heat waves and drought, and the development of stronger recycled concrete using the injection of carbon dioxide.”
Regional Director at Elsevier, Richard Baskus said, “This year’s winners and runners-up come from a wide range of disciplines and once again highlight the global contribution of Australian and New Zealand scientists, and their commitment to applying their research to the benefit of society.”
Elsevier is a global information analytics business that helps scientists and clinicians to find new answers, reshape human knowledge, and tackle the most urgent human crises. For 140 years, we have partnered with the research world to curate and verify scientific knowledge. Today, we’re committed to bringing that rigor to a new generation of platforms. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, SciVal, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, 39,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray’s Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. www.elsevier.com
Jason Chan, Global Communications