The Chair’s Medal for Science and Engineering Excellence
This Medal recognises teams who have made scientific or technological advances that contribute significantly to addressing a major challenge facing Australia.
Winner: Legume Engineering Team
The Legume Engineering Team’s Cowpea project is changing lives for the better.
Cowpea is a staple food for more than 200 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa, but farmers have faced ongoing challenges to their crops due to pests and disease. The impact is reduced harvest yields, leading to significant loss of income and threats to food security.
CSIRO scientists from the Legume Engineering Team developed an insect resistant variety – Pod Borer Resistant Cowpea – which is now available to farmers in Nigeria and Ghana, bringing food security and income for smallholder farmers and reducing the need for potentially dangerous insecticides.
This project is a great example of the pivotal role CSIRO plays in driving successful international collaborations in the field of food security. It also contributes to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, which the international community has committed to address by 2030.
Industry partners: African Agricultural Technology Foundation, Institute for International Crop Improvement, Institute of Agricultural Research, CSIR SARI
The Chief Executive Professional Development Award
This Award provides opportunities for people delivering support services to extend their professional development by gaining further experience related to their careers and work.
Winner: Jasmine Fellows
Over her 18 years with CSIRO, Jasmine has made a significant and ongoing contribution to youth science published, communication and education. She has inspired hundreds of thousands of young Australians through CSIRO’s Double Helix magazine, children’s science books and online content, as well as through outreach programs. She also spent two years with CSIRO Education and Outreach delivering hands-on science programs around the Northern Territory.
Many of these young Australians have gone on to establish careers in science.
Jasmine brings vibrancy, creativity and imagination to her roles helping CSIRO connect with a youth audience. She displays a combination of deep corporate knowledge, willingness to learn and openness to take on new challenges.
The CSIRO Trusted Medal
This Medal recognises and promotes significant contributions to enhancing our research and reputation as a trusted advisor, by engaging with and providing benefit to the Australian community.
Winner: Everyday AI Team
In January 2023, the ‘CSIRO Presents: Everyday AI’ podcast was launched.
Hosted by Data61 Director, Jon Whittle, the podcast brought together experts and adopters to unpack AI in an engaging, educational and hype-free way. Everyday AI aimed to position CSIRO as a trusted adviser and build digital literacy by explaining how commonly used AI works. Within 24 hours, it attracted more than 800 downloads. By July, that number had risen to 35,000.
Everyday AI reached #2 on the highly competitive Apple Australian Science Podcast Charts and achieved an engagement rating of 90 per cent.
Former Australian Human Rights Commissioner Ed Santow, wrote: “This sort of project helps to democratise an understanding of new technology”, while independent user reviews gave ‘‘Everyday AI’’ an average of 4.7 out of 5 with comments including: "Absolutely LOVE this podcast! Jon does a great job in making a complex topic easy and straight forward."
The Collaboration Medal
This Medal recognises and promotes the most outstanding cross-Business Unit project, incorporating individuals from three or more Business Units, to resolve a significant challenge for CSIRO.
Winner: Climate Services for Agriculture (CSA) Team
The Climate Services for Agriculture (CSA) program is developing an underlying platform and digital information products for farmers and their advisers with agriculturally relevant historical weather and future climate information. It’s helping better prepare for climate risks, adapt to climate variability, and increase the viability of their business.
The first digital product, My Climate View, delivers a range of complex climate information (including historical, seasonal, and future projections) covering Australia, on a 5km grid, represented in an agriculturally relevant manner that can be easily understood and acted upon by farmers and their advisers.
The project team has implemented an agile framework where insights across the team, and from hundreds of user engagements with farmers and advisers, were used to inform the successful design and content of My Climate View.
Industry partners: Bureau of Meteorology, FarmLink, Coutts JR
The Delia Muller Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award
This Award provides opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to extend their professional development by gaining career training and experience. The award recognises the extraordinary contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have made, and will continue to make, to all aspects of Australian life including culture, economy and science.
Winner: Bernadette Melton
Bernadette has been a valued and important member of the science team at the Cotton Research Facility in Myall Vale, New South Wales since 2018. She played an important role in adding value at all levels of the Australian cotton industry, including molecular biology, plant breeding, crop management and post-harvest processing.
She made extensive contributions to science and technology excellence at the site through her lab work and her mentorship of other employees. Of note is the work she has undertaken developing an innovative molecular tool for the monitoring of resistance in the significant crop pest Helicoverpa sp.
Bernadette is both a leader in her workplace and a leader in her community and she brings a unique spirit of collaboration to everything that she does.
The CSIRO People Award
This Award recognises significant contribution and excellence from individuals and teams in the areas of workplace safety, wellbeing, diversity, inclusion and leadership.
Winner: Data61 Diversity Growth Hiring Campaign Team
In 2021, Data61 had an ambitious talent agenda - to recruit approximately 70 science roles across 10 distinct technology capabilities. At the time, Data61 was falling short of its gender diversity targets, with only 21 per cent of its workforce identifying as female and only 17 per cent of those in research roles.
To address this, Data61 developed an innovative, unique, and ultimately successful strategic hiring approach to increase diversity, inclusion and female leadership across the business unit.
This included understanding what changes to existing practices could be supported by existing CSIRO hiring systems and processes, working with other Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) groups across CSRIO, and researching best practice in attracting and hiring diverse talent.
This new hiring approach was a collaborative, “People First” process between the Data61 DIB Committee and Human Resources (Talent Acquisition), with strong support from Data61 Director, Jon Whittle.
Data61 hopes to increase gender diversity across its programs, particularly research, to 40 per cent female staff by FY25-26.
External contributors: Lisa Watson, Leisa McGuinness, Jane Mukome, Liz Hall
The CSIRO Medal for Support Excellence
This Medal recognises teams or individuals who support, through projects, initiatives or service delivery, the creation of value for our customers through innovation that delivers positive impact for Australia.
Winner: Lawrence Toomey
Lawrence Toomey has been making a positive impact in our Space & Astronomy team since 2013.
He’s the connector turning our team’s outstanding engineering developments into a real and trusted data observing system for users of Murriyang, our 64-metre Parkes radio telescope on Wiradjuri Country.
In the past few years, Lawrence has significantly improved how users access data collected using our facility. Lawrence is the primary contact between telescope users around the world and CSIRO operations teams.
It’s impossible to list all of Lawrence’s achievements but he’s been vital to many key science results and is frequently acknowledged, thanked, or credited as a co-author on papers.
Researchers studying fast radio bursts notably thanked Lawrence for his support around the software environments using CSIRO’s high-performance computers, and international astronomers hunting signals from merging black holes specifically mention Lawrence’s help was crucial to their own high profile data release.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Impact Excellence Medal
This Medal recognises a team that has created value and impact for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities with engagement, participation, service delivery and research services.
Winner: CSIRO Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy
The Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy (the Academy) is changing the lives of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women while creating a unique connection to STEM, culture and skills for life.
The Academy is the first program in the world of its kind, with a laser sharp STEM education focus whilst recognising and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia’s first scientists, first engineers, and first mathematicians.
It provides young women with the tools to succeed in studies and careers related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
The Academy is designed to provide each student with individualised support from their dedicated Academic Coordinator.
It is long term support from Year 8 through to tertiary studies and into STEM careers. It offers a catalogue of STEM extension activities, camps, networking with industry, and academic professionals, as well as a safe space for exploration of their own cultural journey.
Academy students are inspired to dream big and create new pathways for themselves. Their Academic Coordinators facilitate journeys by creating local networks, developing peer support, nurturing interests and providing support to chase opportunities for educational, cultural and social experiences.
Industry partners: Career Trackers and the National Indigenous Australians Agency
External contributors: Karen Rodrigues, Amy Fuller, Jacqui Allen, Mary Mulcahy, Aunty Kaye
The CSIRO Entrepreneurship Award
This Award promotes entrepreneurial approaches to customers by recognising teams or individuals that have turned an opportunity into reality through curiosity, adaptability and courage.
Winner: Livestock Genomics team
CSIRO’s Livestock Genomics team is kicking goals in supporting Australia’s livestock industry.
Cattle producers are under increasing pressure to be more sustainable and to do so through evidence-based systems.
The team’s analysis of cattle performance in a feedlot environment showed the top 25% of cattle differ from the bottom 25% because you can’t distinguish the productive potential of animals just by looking at them. An animal could grow by 3 kilograms per day and be disease resistant, or by 1kilogram per day and be susceptible to disease.
In collaboration with Angus Australia and the Australian Wagyu Association, CSIRO scientists from the Livestock Genomics team conceived, developed, and commercially deployed genomic tools that provide insights into the health, production, and reproduction of individual commercial animals to drive a step change in the sustainability of Australia’s largest and highest value cattle breeds: Angus and Wagyu.
Industry partners: Angus Australia, Australian Wagyu Association
The Sir Ian McLennan Impact from Science and Engineering Medal
This Award honours one of the pioneers of Australian industry and perpetuates the kind of achievements Sir Ian McLennan promoted and encouraged from scientific research. The recipient team or individual will have demonstrated outstanding practical contributions to industry and created value for customers through innovation that delivers impact for Australia.
Winner: SuperBMS Team
Working with Energy Renaissance, an Australian-owned and operated lithium-ion battery manufacturer, CSIRO scientists from the SuperBMS team are supporting the expansion of Australia’s domestic battery manufacturing industry.
Providing an Australian solution to a global problem, the team are helping ensure the nation’s energy security through the development of a Battery Management System for Australian conditions.
The system uses a combination of hardware and software securely connected to the internet to ensure batteries operate safely, even in the extreme heat of the Australian outback.
Showcasing CSIRO’s unique ability to truly provide end-to-end research and development, the team also upskilled Energy Renaissance’s workforce and helped to identify local supply chains.
This technology and skills transfer has enabled Energy Renaissance to become Australia’s first at-scale battery storage system manufacturer at the nation’s first battery gigafactory and underpins the growth of a company that is anticipated to create up to 700 jobs and generate $500 million in revenue within 5 years.
Industry partner: Energy Renaissance
The CSIRO Medal for Lifetime Achievement
This Medal recognises individuals who have a record of sustained and meritorious achievements in science, technology and innovation or the support of science, technology and innovation.
Winner: Andrew Stammer
Andrew Stammer is the Director of CSIRO Publishing, Australia’s leading science and technology publisher of books, journals and magazines. The success of the business and the impact it has achieved over the past 27 years is testament to Andrew’s passion, knowledge, skill and dedication to CSIRO Publishing over the multiple roles he has held during that time.
Under Andrew’s leadership, CSIRO Publishing has expanded its suite of scientific journals from 14 to 27 through establishing new journals and securing agreements with national and international societies. He has driven the journals program to adopt Open Access in order to meet the evolving needs of the research community and increase the impact of its published outcomes.
Andrew has overseen expansion of the books program including a multi-award-winning children’s publishing list to inspire a future generation of science champions. His skill and experience as a scholarly publisher and his contribution to the industry is recognised both within Australia and internationally and he is widely respected for his strategic vision, deep publishing experience and commercial acumen.
Winner: Bernadette Sloyan
Bernadette Sloyan is a world-leading physical oceanographer who has made transformative contributions to marine and climate science. Her research on oceanic change – with over 100 publications in top-ranked international journals – and establishment of ocean observing systems has profoundly shaped our understanding of ocean circulation. Her early work on Southern Ocean dynamics and its connection to the global ocean brought about a paradigm shift in the understanding of role of the Southern Ocean in the global ocean circulation.
Collaborating with domestic and international partners, Bernadette has led long-term monitoring programs to establish the baseline strength (heat and volume transport) of the global ocean through the Global Ocean Ship-Based Hydrographic Investigation Program (GO-SHIP) and for two of the planet’s most climatically important ocean currents: the East Australian Current (EAC) and the Indonesian Throughflow (ITF).
Bernadette’s impact on oceanography is far-reaching and her work leaves a lasting legacy for CSIRO and the climate community.