Each year in November, we celebrate the outstanding achievements of our people and partners at the CSIRO Awards and Medals Ceremony. In particular, we honour achievements of innovative solutions to industry, society and the environment that are solving our greatest challenges. This year, we recognised the following outstanding teams and industry partners.

The Entrepreneurship Award

This award recognises the application of an entrepreneurial approach under conditions of ambiguity and uncertainty. It celebrates those who use passion, persistence and resourcefulness to turn an opportunity into reality.

AWARDED TO: eShepherd Virtual Fencing Team

INDUSTRY PARTNER: Agersens

eShepherd™ is a world-first cloud-based, solar-powered, GPS-enabled virtual fencing system for cattle that lets farmers improve pasture utilisation, livestock management and protection of environmentally sensitive areas.

The team drew on expertise in animal behaviour, learning and welfare principles to design a system that ensured livestock recognised and stayed within virtual boundaries.

The technology itself, a device that livestock wear around their necks, operates from GPS, wireless communications and a series of cues and controls, operated by computer or smartphone.

Through a strategic commercial partnership with agribusiness, Agersens, key innovation hurdles including science and technical challenges, animal behaviour and welfare considerations, user preferences and market requirements were overcome. The technology has potential application across all livestock grazing systems globally.

[Music Plays]

Over ten years of research and a commercial partnership with Agersens has led to the successful commercialisation of eShepherd; a world-first virtual fencing system to manage livestock movements.

[A herd of cows stand across a grid field as the CSIRO and Agersens logos appear. The word eShepherd appears as we slowly zoom out, revealing a satellite in the sky.]

The technology uses a solar-powered GPS-enabled collar, remotely controlled by computer or smartphone, to manage livestock movements.

[A cow wears a blue collar. The solar-powered GPS system is placed on the collar, on the back of the cow’s neck as the icon for a computer and smart phone appear beside it.]

Animals are given an audio warning if they approach the perimeter and feel an electric pulse if they continue – one that’s far milder than an electric fence.

[A few cows stand in a grid field surrounded by a line of dots that represent the field perimeter.  A cow approaches the perimeter and the icon for sound appears. As the cow gets closer, a red warning icon appears and the cow turns away from the perimeter.]

The breakthrough is optimising grazing, labour efficiencies and enabling the protection of environmentally sensitive areas without the expense and inflexibility of physical fences. This has potential application across all livestock grazing systems globally.

[A herd of cows stand in the grid field as three icons appear, each show a cow grazing, a person building a fence and a leaf. We zoom out from the field to show a world map, each continent contains a series of dots that depict areas where livestock are commonly raised]

Congratulations CSIRO eShepherd team and Agersens for achieving outstanding impact with world-class science, innovation and industry collaboration

[We travel across the grid field, showing the herd of cows and the satellite as the logos for CSIRO and Agersens appear alongside the word ‘Congratulations.]

[The CSIRO logo appears on screen with the phrase ‘Australia’s Innovation Catalyst’ underneath.]


eShepherd

The Chief Executive Team CSIRO Award

This award recognises members of Team CSIRO who not only do excellent science, deliver brilliant solutions, and make life better for Australians – but for all of us here at CSIRO.

Christian Roth was awarded the Chief Executive Team CSIRO Award.  ©Leah Desborough (Leah Desborough (Photographer) - [None]

AWARDED TO: Christian Roth

Christian is at the forefront of one of Australia’s greatest challenges. He is making an incredible difference for our national treasure, the Great Barrier Reef.He has increased CSIRO's presence across a broad range of research domains including marine, climate and social sciences, as well as with government and philanthropic stakeholders.

He is an exemplary advisor and trusted collaborator who can still find the time to mentor and support junior staff.

The John Philip Award for the Promotion of Excellence in Young Scientists

AWARDED TO: Marcus Kunzmann

For outstanding contributions to our understanding of early Earth evolution and for developing new targeting concepts for sediment-hosted ore deposits

AWARDED TO: Karen Lee-Waddell

For significant contributions to the scientific commissioning of CSIRO’s ASKAP radio telescope, scientific leadership of its most technically challenging project, and for passionate involvement in science outreach.

Medal for Support Excellence

For our teams that support; through projects, initiatives or service delivery, the creation of value for our customers through innovation that delivers positive impact for Australia.

AWARDED TO: Lindfield Collaboration Hub

The Lindfield Collaboration Hub was created to open the doors to ‘deep tech’ start-up companies with technologies well aligned to our research capabilities.

Since 2015, 24 start-ups have established bases at Lindfield and have brought more than 300 people as employees, students and mentors.The most remarkable has been Baraja Pty Ltd, one of our first arrivals, which has grown from two co-founders in 2015 to more than 100 employees with offices now open in China and the USA.

Medal for Impact from Science

This award recognises exceptional individuals or research teams who have created value for customers through innovation that delivers impact for Australia.

AWARDED TO: Infrastructure Technologies - Fire Science Team

INDUSTRY PARTNER: Fire and Rescue NSW 

Awarded for the experimental design and completion of fourteen full-scale fire tests to evaluate the performance of sprinkler designs for residential apartments.

The research project provided the evidence base that supported changes to Australia’s National Construction Code for the mandatory installation of fire sprinklers in low rise residential apartment buildings, significantly contributing to improved life safety for occupants and firefighters.

The team’s collaboration with industry stakeholders through the experimental design and delivery phases was key to gaining broad acceptance of the research findings and translating research outcomes into regulatory change.

[Music plays]

In 2012, two young women were forced to jump from the fifth floor of an apartment building during a fire.

[We travel down the outside of a five-story apartment building, the phrase “in 2012, two young women were forced to jump from the fifth floor of an apartment building during a fire” appears on screen.]

Tragically, one died and the other suffered permanent disability.

The building did not have fire sprinklers, as buildings under 25 metres high weren’t required to have them.

[We zoom out to see the entirety of the building, a line measures the building as ‘below 25m = NO SPRINKLERS appears alongside it.

As a result, Fire and Rescue NSW and CSIRO’s fire science team began research into the installation of reliable, cost-effective sprinkler systems in all residential apartment buildings.

[The logos for Fire and Rescue NSW and CSIRO appear on screen, they disappear off screen as the words ‘reliable, cost effective, sprinkler systems’ replace them.]

Through fourteen full-scale fire tests, the team demonstrated effective sprinkler system designs that save lives and minimise costs.

[Red dots scale up to represent fire, as we travel overheard, blue dots representing a sprinkler swirl out, extinguishing the red dots.]

Broad stakeholder representation through all stages of experimental design was a key part of the research success.

[The sprinkler extinguishes all the red dots and a pair of hands appears, placing one on top of the other for teamwork.]

As a result, the industry partners drove changes to Australia's National Construction Code; which now mandates sprinkler systems in apartment buildings below 25 metres high.

[Volume one of Australia’s National Construction Code fades onto screen, it disappears as the apartment building comes back into view with the sprinkler alongside it. The line measure the building again and the phrase ‘Below 25m =’ fades in.]

The impact of this change is described as “the most significant shift in fire safety since 2006, when legislation mandated the installation of smoke alarms in all residential buildings...”.

[As the sprinkler and building disappear, the following phrase appears: “the most significant shift in fire safety since 2006, when legislation mandated the installation of smoke alarms in all residential buildings” – Paul Baxter, the commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW.

Congratulations to the CSIRO Fire Science Team and its industry partners for helping improve residential safety standards.

[‘Congratulations’ appears with the logos for CSIRO and Fire and Rescue NSW.]

[The CSIRO logo appears on screen with the phrase ‘Australia’s Innovation Catalyst’ underneath.]

Fire science

Chairman’s Medal for Science Excellence

This award recognises teams who have made significant scientific or technological advances that create value for our customers through innovation that delivers positive impact for Australia.

AWARDED TO: Tasmanian Atlantic Salmon applied breeding team

INDUSTRY PARTNER: Saltas and Tassal

A partnership between CSIRO and the Tasmanian salmon industry has taken selective breeding from concept to world-leading in little over a decade.

The breeding program now underpins the entire industry, which is Australia’s biggest seafood producer, and has been central to its continuous growth. Animals now grow 35 per cent faster and are 40 per cent more disease resistant, and gains continue to accumulate at four per cent to five per cent every year.

CSIRO researchers and industry worked hand-in-hand to build an applied breeding team, comprising salmon breeders and biologists, quantitative and molecular geneticists, data systems scientists, electronics engineers, and fish husbandry managers. A solid scientific base was the foundation.

New technology has been integrated and emphasis was placed on building systems to make sure research outcomes moved seamlessly to the industrial sector. Industry trusted the science and has constantly supported innovation and continuous improvement. This partnership has built an enduring platform to embed world-leading science into industry development, ensuring both are well placed to address future challenges.

[Music plays]

Atlantic Salmon is Australia’s largest seafood sector with an annual value of $500 million.

[A fish egg floats within a blue space; the egg dissipates and forms into a salmon]

In the past 16 years, the sector has achieved growth of over 350%. Tasmania is the largest primary producer of salmon in Australia.

[As the salmon swims away, a school of salmon follow after it. An arrow pointing upwards appears alongside ‘350 per cent’. A salmon swims across screen and the map of Tasmania comes into focus.]

CSIROs Tasmanian Atlantic Salmon applied breeding team and industry partners SALTAS and Tassal, have been instrumental in this growth by taking on and commercialising a world leading aquaculture-breeding program.

[The map fades out and is replaced with the logo for CSIRO. This is joined by the logos for SALTAS AND Tassal.]

Key performance traits are identified through genomic selection. This has resulted in 35 per cent accelerated growth in fish, 40 per cent improvement in disease resistance and better quality salmon. The entire industry is now underpinned by this program.

[A school of salmon swim across screen to reveal a DNA strand. One molecule on the strand lights up, revealing a tick icon. The phrases ‘35 per cent Accelerated growth in fish’, ‘40 per cent improvement in disease resistance’ and ‘The Entire Industry is now underpinned by this program’ appear one after another above the DNA strand.]

Congratulations to CSIRO Tasmanian Atlantic Salmon applied breeding team,  SALTAS and Tassal for improving food security and growing Australia’s salmon industry.

[The DNA strand disperses back into the salmon; above it reads ‘Congratulations’ as the logos for CSIRO, SALTAS and Tassal appear beneath it.]

[The CSIRO logo appears on screen with the phrase ‘Australia’s Innovation Catalyst’ underneath.]


Salmon breeding program

Medal for Lifetime Achievement

Robin Wark, winner of the Medal for Lifetime Achievement Award

This award recognises individuals who have a record of sustained and meritorious achievements in science, technology and innovation or the support of science, technology and innovation.

AWARDED TO: Robin Wark

For nurturing generations of Australian and international astronomers: teaching them how to observe with CSIRO telescopes and looking after people, our invaluable instruments and the irreplaceable science archives.

AWARDED TO: Andrew Ash

Andrew Ash winner of the Medal for Lifetime Achievement Award

Andrew changed our understanding of rangeland management, his leadership developed climate adaptation science in Australia, and his legacy endures in the capability built and the staff he mentored.

Medal for Health, Safety and Environment Achievement

Recognises and promotes the significant impact made by our people to the health, safety or environmental performance of a customer/partner or CSIRO activity.

AWARDED TO: Composites Resin Infusion Project Team

Composites Resin Infusion Project Team, winner of the Medal for Health, Safety and Environment Achievement

INDUSTRY PARTNER: Boeing

The Composites Resin Infusion Project Team has successfully developed a safe and robust new resin processing technology for manufacturing composites, which has now been adopted by Boeing. Light-weight, carbon fibre reinforced composites are widely used for manufacturing complex and integrated aircraft products but the manufacturing process used to result in the handling of hazardous resins and generated a large amount of chemical waste into the environment.

The Team revolutionised the process and built an industrial scale demonstrator at CSIRO to demonstrate and validate this approach.

CSIRO conducted successful lab-scale and industrial-scale trials that demonstrated the feasibility and robustness of the new methodology as aligned with Boeing’s strict requirements.

New safety procedures were also developed during this project.This technology significantly improves OH&S operations in handling and processing hazardous resin chemicals, minimises the generation of chemical waste, and leads to significant cost‑savings for composite production at Boeing.

Medal for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement

This medal recognises the achievements of our people in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement, participation, service delivery and research services.

AWARDED TO: Atlas of Living Australia - The Tracks App

The Tracks App team, winner of the Medal for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement

INDUSTRY PARTNER: Central Land Council

The Tracks App is a collaborative software development project involving the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) and the Central Land Council (CLC) on behalf of many Indigenous Ranger Groups and communities throughout Australia’s sandy desert regions.

The App simplifies the collecting and sharing of standardised field data, enabling a more timely and comprehensive understanding of threatened and pest species across a region of Australia which is generally very data-poor. This is helping to inform more responsive and effective management strategies for Australia’s sensitive desert ecosystems by Traditional Owners.

With smart-features and multi-lingual functionality, the Tracks App is providing Indigenous communities with a means to participate in valuable scientific work using their first language and traditional tracking practices, and to pass on these skills and knowledge to future generations. It has reduced technical barriers and made the tools more accessible to more communities.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Delia Muller Study Award 

This award fosters the professional development of an individual who has achieved in areas relating to the engagement, participation, service delivery or research activities with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people and/or communities.

AWARDED TO: Andrew Gard

Andrew Gard has implemented the architecture of our future Indigenous talent needs by increasing the employee experience through improved attraction, growth and retention.

Included in the suite of projects was a Talent Management Framework to improve the management of appointment, career development and growth opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; building pipelines to careers in key disciplines, including STEM, through scholarships across a number of universities and increased funding and collaboration to support retention of our Indigenous cohort.

Significant support measures were also created within CSIRO though the identification and training of a unique network of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peers. This enables “in time” culturally sensitive support on a broad range of issues to ensure maximal support to our staff, in particular where work and personal cultural issues intersect.

Collaboration Medal

Our Collaboration Medal acknowledges an outstanding cross-business unit project involving staff members from three or more Business Units to resolve a significant challenge.

AWARDED TO: Australian National Outlook 2019

INDUSTRY PARTNER: National Australia Bank

The Australian National Outlook 2019 team is the winner of the Collaboration Medal

The Australian National Outlook 2019 (ANO 2019) was the result of a  two year, highly collaborative and unique process that combined CSIRO’s integrated modelling and research with the input of 50 leaders from more than 20 leading Australian industry, not-for-profit and education sector organisations.

ANO 2019 brought together science, business, research and community leaders to identify what will make the biggest difference to Australia’s future prospects; explore nationally significant issues, risks and opportunities; and how we might respond to secure future prosperity.

The project aimed to guide all decision‑makers – business, universities and other research institutions, community groups, and government – in developing actions to ensure Australia has prosperous and globally competitive industries, inclusive and enabling communities,and sustainable underpinning foundations including natural resources, environment, public institutions and social capital.

The project report was released June 2019 receiving significant national media coverage and was underpinned by a 468-page Technical Report.

Project partner National Australia Bank allocated $2 billion of funding over five years to help emerging technology companies build and grow their businesses as a commitment that directly addressed one of the economic challenges identified in the Australian National Outlook 2019.

CSIRO Medal for Diversity and Inclusion

The medal recognises and promotes outstanding work in diversity and inclusion, either by directly advancing our diversity and inclusion objectives or by demonstrating impact arising from inclusive and diverse teams. 

AWARDED TO: Transgender Awareness in CSIRO, TJ Lawson and Annie Archer

TJ Lawson is a transgender member of staff. They have been a CSIRO employee for more than ten years. TJ worked with HR Manager Annie Archer to co-develop a training program on inclusion for transgender staff. The four half-day information sessions were conducted in early 2019 to more than 50 CSIRO leaders at the Hobart site.

TJ was brave enough to stand up and tell their story, which had a profound impact on all attendees as they learnt about the challenges facing transgender colleagues, not only in the workplace but in life generally. The course was described as a powerful development program with overwhelmingly positive feedback.

TJ showed great courage and Annie showed great leadership, and together great determination. United they have driven a step‑change improvement in CSIRO’s culture of awareness, action and inclusivity. They have both played an integral role in driving organisational and cultural change.

Chief Executive Professional Development Awards

Elle Shepherd, winner of Chief Executive Professional Development Award

Awarded to three passionate people that provide exceptional support to our scientists. These recipients are given an opportunity to extend their professional development through further training and experience related to their careers and work in CSIRO.

AWARDED TO: Elle Shepherd

For significant contributions to CSIRO education and outreach programs that strengthen Australia’s STEM talent pipeline.

AWARDED TO: Kopal Kapoor

Kopal Kapoor, winner of Chief Executive Professional Development Award

For shaping CSIRO’s response to legal challenges presented by emerging digital technologies, through structured training and engagement with thought leaders in this field.

AWARDED TO: Ayush Dutta

Ayush has aided the  implementation of CSIRO's Impact Evaluation framework as well as supporting key global strategic initiatives; involvement with the Chilean office, growth opportunities and Global Showcase. He is a leading advocate for a vibrant and inclusive culture within CSIRO’s work environment.

Ayush Dutta, winner of Chief Executive Professional Development Award

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