Recognising Australian scientists, innovators and educators

Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Distinguished Professor Jenny Graves AO and Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP at the PM’s Prizes for Science 2017 awards ceremony

A date has been set for the announcement of Australia’s most prestigious and highly regarded science awards.

The 2018 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science will be presented at a black-tie event on Wednesday, 17 October in the Great Hall of Parliament House, Canberra. The event will be attended by parliamentarians, distinguished scientists, STEM educators, and prominent leaders of the science, industry and education communities.

The Prizes recognise the achievements and success of Australian scientists and innovators, as well as the critical role that science educators play in inspiring and encouraging students to take an interest in STEM as a career.

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science consists of seven prizes awarded for science and innovation and the teaching of science, mathematics and technologies. Its predecessor, the Australia Prize, was an international prize awarded from 1990-1999.

Last year, Distinguished Professor Jenny Graves AO FAA, received the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science for her pioneering investigations of the genetics of sex. Not only has Professor Graves had an extensive and illustrious career in science, she was the first individual female winner in the prize’s 19-year history.

Professor Graves’ work has focused on using marsupials and monotremes to help understand the complexity of the human genome. Her work has transformed scientists’ comprehension of how humans and vertebrate animals evolve and function.

Her research has deepened scientific understanding, specifically around the predicted decline of the Y chromosome and the working of the immune system, prion diseases and blood proteins. It has also helped scientists understand the tumour affecting the Tasmanian devil, and how bearded dragons change sex in response to temperature.

In addition to her many scientific achievements, Professor Graves is also a role model for girls and women in science. In her former position as Secretary of Education at the Australian Academy of Science she advanced inquiry-based school science programs in Australian schools. And, she introduced measures to remove gender bias from Fellowship elections, and promoted gender equity in science both here and internationally.

You can follow this year’s event as it happens via social media on Twitter @ScienceGovAu, and the ABC.

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