Department of State Development

Congratulations to the 2018 South Australian Science Excellence Awards finalists.

More than 70 entries were received across the six categories. Finalists include recent PhD graduates and researchers, innovators, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals and educators.

South Australian Scientist of the Year

  • Professor Sharad Kumar, leading Australian biomedical scientist and Co-Director, of the Centre for Cancer Biology, University of South Australia
  • Professor Anton van den Hengel, international leader in theoretical and applied machine learning and Director of the Australian Institute for Machine Learning, University of Adelaide
  • Professor Richard Hillis, globally recognised geologist, former Chief Executive Officer of Deep Exploration Technologies CRC and Adjunct Professor at the Australian School of Petroleum, University of Adelaide
  • Professor Jozef Gecz, leader in genetics and biology of childhood onset neurodevelopment disabilities, University of Adelaide

PhD Research Excellence

  • Dr Katharina Richter, PhD in novel treatments to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria, University of Adelaide
  • Dr Michelle Sun, PhD in tissue engineering techniques for application in ophthalmic conditions, University of Adelaide
  • Dr Ysabella Van Sebille, PhD in reducing side effects of cancer treatments, University of Adelaide
  • Dr Dana Michalski, PhD in facial recognition algorithms to assist security agencies in identifying and rescuing children from danger, University of Adelaide

STEM Educator of the Year – School Teaching

  • Ms Sue O’Malley, Head of Robotics and teacher of multimedia, mathematics, and digital technology, and Senior Leader, Trinity College Senior
  • Ms Jacqueline Heaney, Senior Leader for Science, Digital and material Technologies and Senior Leader, Blackwood High School
  • Ms Anthea Ponte, Specialist STEM Teacher and Senior Leader, Hawthorndene Primary School
  • Ms Christie Evans, STEM Coordinator, Seaview Downs Primary School

STEM Educator of the Year – Tertiary Teaching

  • Dr Justin Chalker, Senior Lecturer, School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Flinders University
  • Prof Mario Ricci, Director of eLearning, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Adelaide
  • Professor Katrina Falkner, Deputy Dean (Students), Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences, University of Adelaide

Excellence in Research Collaboration

  • SA Meningococcal B Vaccine Herd Immunity Study, partnership between SA Health, the University of Adelaide, Local Government, SA Pathology, the Independent Schools Association, Catholic Education, The Department for Education, The Women’s and Children’s Health Network, SA Health and Medical Research Institute, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Flinders University and the University of South Australia
  • The Aboriginal Heritage Project, partnership between the local members of the Aboriginal community, the SA Museum, the University of Adelaide, the University of New South Wales
  • Shellfish Restoration Project, at Windara Reef, partnership between the University of Adelaide, South Australian Government (Department for Environment and Water, PIRSA, The Nature Conservancy, The Australian Government, the Yorke Peninsula Council, The Ian Potter Foundation, and the Australian Research Council

STEM Professional

  • Professor Zbigniew Michalewicz, Chief Scientist and Co-founder of Complexica, which specialises in sales optimisation software based on Artificial Intelligence
  • Dr Scott Edwards, a Project Manager for R&D at Motherson Innovations, whose role is to grow and diversifying Australian companies into new exports markets
  • Dr Paul Smith, Senior Program R&D Manager at Wine Australia, the body responsible for co-investment of Industry and Commonwealth funding to the grape and wine community in Australia

Unsung Hero of SA - Science

  • Jan Bell, University of Adelaide
  • Dr Katia Ferrar, University of South Australia
  • Dr Joanna Woodcock, University of South Australia

Unsung Hero of SA - Science Communication

  • Dr Heather Bray, University of Adelaide
  • Dr Shelley Paull, Department for Environment and Water
  • Dr Liz Reed, University of Adelaide

Tall Poppy of the Year

  • Dr Catherine Attard, Lecturer in Molecular Ecology, Flinders University
  • Dr Lewis Mitchell, Lecturer in Applied Mathematics, The University of Adelaide
  • Dr Benjamin Sparkes, Lecturer in Photonics, The University of Adelaide
  • Associate Professor Emma Thomas, Lecturer in Advanced Social Psychology, Flinders University

Major sponsors

Department for Education

Flinders University

University of Adelaide

University of South Australia

Support sponsor


Temple Bruer Wines