The Award is for an early to mid-career science or technology graduate working in academia/research or industry R&D who demonstrates substantial ability to foster research-industry collaboration and knowledge transfer for the benefit of Australia.
The award honours Professor David Henry Solomon AC FTSE, who is a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering and who has been supported in his career by his wife, Valerie.
The award is made available through a generous donation from David and Valerie Solomon and will be presented tonight (Friday 29 November) at a gala Academy event in Melbourne.
Associate Professor Hill will receive $15,000 and 12 months mentoring from a senior entrepreneur/industry Fellow of the Academy, with $5000 travel expenses to enhance this mentoring experience.
Academy President Professor Hugh Bradlow FTSE congratulated Associate Professor Hill.
“The David and Valerie Solomon Award recognises the importance of building links between researchers and industry and Associate Professor Hill’s work make him a fitting inaugural winner.
“I’d like to pay tribute to Professor Solomon and his wife, Valerie, who have contributed so much to the Academy since its formation in 1976.
“This award will ensure that their contribution will continue long into the future.”
Associate Professor Hill is with Chemical Engineering at Monash and is Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO Manufacturing. He has a PhD from UNSW (2006).
He and his team have developed materials known as metal organic frameworks (MOFs). These are the world’s most porous materials – they are almost entirely made of holes. One teaspoon of a MOF may have as much surface area as an entire football field hidden inside it.
Like a sponge, MOFs can store and release molecules such as hydrogen on demand, such as fertilisers or fuels; or like a sieve, the pore sizes can be used to separate one thing from another, such as natural gas from impurities or carbon dioxide from an exhaust stream.
MOFs were originally made only in test tubes but Associate Professor Hill has invented a new chemical processing technology to produce MOFs at 10kg per hour, enabling commercial use.
Associate Professor Hill is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and the winner of a 2014 Australian Prime Minister’s Prize for Science. Other honours include the 2010 Victoria Fellowship and CSIRO Julius Career Award, 2011 Eureka Prize Finalist, 2011 Victorian Young Tall Poppy of the Year, and the 2012 Australian Leadership Award, and 2012 Eureka Prize for Emerging Leadership in Science.
He has 105 publications, 4150 citations (h-index 35), 13 patents (two licences granted) and involvement in 43 projects worth more than $20 million.