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Award recognises "new breed" of young scientist.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

The Hon. Warren Truss, MP

Minister for Customs and Consumer Affairs

Deputy Leader of the House

 

28 April 1998

110/98

 

 

Award recognises “new breed” of young scientist

 

A young scientist studying the effects of long-term mining and power o perations on the rivers running into Macquarie Harbour in western Tasmania is the inaugural winner of the Young Water Scientist of the Year Award, the Minister for Customs and Consumer Affairs, Warren Truss, has announced.

 

Helen Locher, of the Cooperative Research Centre for Catchment Hydrology, impressed the judges with the combination of high quality research, excellent presentation skills and her high degree of understanding for the relevance of her research for industry.

 

Helen has turned the fruits of her CRC PhD research into a job as an aquatic scientist working for the hydroelectric power stations in the region. The results of her research are also being used in remediation strategies for the King River to ensure the future of Macquarie Harbour’s tourism and aquaculture industries.

 

“This award is given to a young scientist who combines top science with excellent presentation skills,” Mr Truss said. “The winner was selected from a field of outstanding post-graduate students working with a Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) related to water research.”

 

The CRC program brings together industry, research organisations, government instrumentalities and end-users who jointly fund and work on research projects. It aims to bring the best ideas of Australian science to commercial reality.

 

Mr Truss presented Helen Locher with a cheque for $2,000 and a commemorative scroll. The three runners-up each received $250.

 

He said that the Government appreciated the industry focus of the CRCs, which allowed young scientists to work closely with industry and gain appropriate skills to make them more employable.

 

“I want to congratulate the CRCs within the water forum for their initiative in establishing this award,” Mr Truss said. “It’s a clear signal to scientists that they need to combine top science with good communication skills and regular contact with industry.

 

“The CRCs are creating a new breed of young scientists who will help industry succeed in the entrepreneurial and highly competitive world of globalisation.”

 

Participants in the inaugural Young Water Scientist of the Year Award come from five CRCs:

 

* Catchment Hydrology

* Freshwater Ecology

* Soil and Land Management

* Waste Management and Pollution Control and

* Water Quality and Treatment.

 

Mr Truss acknowledged the role the research centres - and this award - would play in adding value to the qualifications of young scientists.

 

“CRC scholars combine excellent science with significant industrial experience, and understand the relationships between commercial requirements and research,” he said.

 

On behalf of the Australian Water and Wastewater Association, the Minister also presented the fourth Peter Hughes Water Award to the ACTEW Corporation in recognition of the CRANOS plant, an innovative compact sewerage treatment system.

 

CRANOS is a bold step in which fluidised bed technology has been used under pressure to create a very high rate, and hence extremely compact, sewage treatment system. The plant has been modularised so that it can be shipped and assembled quickly in an emergency, or in a cramped, urban or industrial site.

 

“ACTEW’s award was well deserved,” Mr Truss said. “The Corporation has an excellent track record for creating an environment in which its staff have been able to develop innovative technology.”

 

Contact:

Dr Paul Wellings, DIST, 02 6213 6350, 0419 248 100

Jenni Metcalfe, CRC - Water Forum, 07 3846 7111, 014 916 372

 

 

Contact:

Andrew Hall, Media Adviser, 02 6277 7790, 0419 996 766

Ref CMR1045

Email: ahall@dist.gov.au

Web sites: www.dist.gov.au and www.customs.gov.au