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Young scientists awarded with Prime Minister's prizes.

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Media Release


Two outstanding young Australian scientists were tonight recognised with major prizes at the Prime Minister’s Science Awards in Canberra.

Federal Science Minister Peter McGauran congratulated Professor Marcela Bilek and Dr Joel Mackay on their world-leading achievements in science and research.

Dr Mackay won the prestigious Science Minister’s Prize (Life Scientist of the Year) while Prof Bilek won the 2002 Malcolm McIntosh Prize (Physical Scientist of the Year).

"Both are young scientists who have made an outstanding contribution to their particular areas of research," Mr McGauran said.

"Their extraordinary work is an inspiration to aspiring young scientists and I congratulate them both on their awards."

Prof Bilek and Dr Mackay each received a $35,000 cash prize as part of their awards.

"Dr Mackay is researching how our genes are controlled, essential work that could one day lead to cures of a large range of diseases like cancer and other debilitating conditions such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease," Mr McGauran said.

"His work focuses on the functions and possible uses of tiny molecular scaffolds known as zinc fingers.

"Prof Bilek has made substantial contributions to material science and is internationally recognised for her skills in the fabrication of super-tough, thin films and materials. Since being made the Professor of Physics at the University of Sydney at the age of 32, Prof Bilek’s work has led to three new patents in the field in just the last two years."

Mr McGauran said the high quality of nominees for this year’s awards was an indicator of the exciting future for Australian science and innovation.

"In a week where we celebrate the achievements of the Australian science community, the exceptional standard of the nominees for these awards sends a strong signal to commerce, industry and the general public," Mr McGauran.

"As a nation, we are capable of undertaking great science that will improve our quality of life, and help us to achieve our goals and aspirations as a community. Our scientists and researchers are world-class and the Prime Minister’s awards are fitting recognition for some great achievers."

For further information, contact Darren Chester (Mr McGauran’s office) on 62777440



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