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Prizes for pursuing science

The annual quest for Australia’s top science and innovation minds has begun with the opening of nominations for one of Australia’s most prestigious awards, the 2017 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science.

Now in their 17th year, the prizes celebrate the achievements and successes of Australian scientists, teachers and innovators in Australia and abroad.

Nominees vie for a share of $750,000 in seven prize categories.

These include two innovation prizes recognising outstanding researchers who have put their knowledge to work, directly benefitting Australia’s economy, driving innovation and helping Australian industry thrive in a changing world.

2016’s recipient of the $250,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation, Professor Michael Aitken, developed services that help make global stock markets fairer and more efficient through rapid analysis to detect fraud in markets and systems.

His services have also been applied to identifying billion dollar frauds and inefficiencies in Australia’s health markets.

The $250,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science pays tribute to the contributions Australian scientists have made in Australia and globally, and acknowledges benefits and value of their work to the public good.

The 2016 prize went to evolutionary biologist Professor Richard Shine for his work to ensure Northern Australia’s peak predators – snakes and lizards – are more likely to survive the cane toad invasion.

Prizes for primary and secondary science teachers celebrate the critical role science educators play in inspiring and encouraging students to take an interest in science and consider science as a career.

The world-class calibre of the prize winners was demonstrated recently when Dr Ken Silburn of Casula High School in South West Sydney, the 2015 recipient of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools, was named among 10 finalists for the Global Teacher Prize for 2017.

Australia’s best early to mid-career scientists and innovators are recognised by the Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year, the Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year and the Prize for New Innovators.

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