29 October 2020

ARC-funded researchers shine at PM’s Prizes for Science

Australian Research Council (ARC) Chief Executive Officer, Professor Sue Thomas, congratulates all 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science award recipients, including the research team at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery who took out the overall Prime Minister’s Prize for Science for their role in the important discovery of gravitational waves in 2015.

The recipients announced last night include those whose outstanding research has received support from the Australian Government through the funding schemes of the ARC’s National Competitive Grants Program.

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, awarded annually, are considered amongst Australia’s most esteemed awards to recognise and celebrate outstanding successes and achievements in scientific research, research-based innovation and excellence in science teaching.

“On behalf of the ARC, I extend congratulations to all the recipients, recognised for their extraordinary research contributions, and who are to be commended for their incredibly important work,” said Professor Thomas.

In particular, Professor Thomas extended congratulations on behalf of the ARC to:

  • ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) collaborating researchers, Emeritus Professor David Blair (The University of Western Australia), Professor David McClelland and Professor Susan Scott (The Australian National University), and Professor Peter Veitch (The University of Adelaide), who received the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science for their part in the international efforts that led to the first detection of gravitational waves in 2015.
  • Current Discovery Project Chief Investigator and previous Discovery Early Career Researcher, Associate Professor Justin Chalker from Flinders University, who received the Prize for New Innovators for his invention of a new class of polymers that turn waste plastics into global sustainability solutions including removing mercury from polluted water and soil, and more effective slow-release fertilizers. 
  • Multiple ARC grants recipient and previous Future Fellow, Professor Thomas Maschmeyer from The University of Sydney, who was presented the Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation for his research developing commercially viable processes to recycle mixed plastics and for a new low-cost battery technology to store renewable energy.
  • Current ARC Future Fellow, Scientia Associate Professor Xiaojing Hao from The University of New South Wales, who received the Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year for developing world-leading thin-film photovoltaics for more environmentally friendly and efficient solar cell technologies.

“All of the researchers recognised in these awards have made remarkable contributions to Australian research and science, delivering crucial outcomes in areas of national importance.

“I am delighted that ARC-funded researchers have been recognised and pleased the ARC has helped to support their ground-breaking research.” 

For more information about all 2020 prize recipients and their research endeavours, visit the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science website. For more information about ARC funding schemes, visit the ARC website

Media contact:
ARC Stakeholder Relations, 0412 623 056 or communications@arc.gov.au