2015 Eureka Prizes Winners

View this year's winners.

Research & Innovation

2015 NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Eureka Prize for Environmental Research

  • The IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Team, University of New South Wales

Professor David Keith and his team have developed the first global standard for assessing risks to ecosystems. Already illuminating risks to terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems in Australia and overseas, this method is laying the foundations for better strategies for averting the collapse of threatened ecosystems worldwide.

Watch the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Team's finalist video.

View the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Team's media release.

University of New South Wales Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research

  • Professor Dayong Jin, University of Technology Sydney; Macquarie University; and ARC Centre for Nanoscale Biophotonics; Professor Tanya Monro, University of South Australia; University of Adelaide; and ARC Centre for Nanoscale Biophotonics; and Professor Bradley Walsh, Minomic International Ltd and Macquarie University

The diverse impact of Super Dots technologies – from non-invasive cancer diagnosis and rapid pathogen detection to invisible coding for authentication of pharmaceuticals, passports and banknotes – is based on advances in diverse fields: material chemistry, optical physics, nanotechnology, biotechnology, computational modelling and instrumentation engineering.

Watch Professors Dayong Jin, Tanya Monro and Bradley Walsh's finalist video.

View Professors Dayong Jin, Tanya Monro and Bradley Walsh's media release.

Scopus Eureka Prize for Excellence in International Scientific Collaboration

  • Professor Dacheng Tao, University of Technology Sydney

Professor Dacheng Tao collaborates with an international network of academic and industry-based peers to help computers better interpret data captured from the real world. Together, the team has invented subspace learning models that meaningfully reduce the complexity of captured data. Their theoretical and algorithmic findings have diverse applications, from video surveillance to consumer electronics.

Watch Professor Dacheng Tao's finalist video.

Watch Professor Dacheng Tao's media release.

Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre Eureka Prize for Infectious Diseases Research

  • Pellegrini and Ebert Team, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

There is no cure for Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Current therapies suppress HBV production but must be taken life-long. The Pellegrini and Ebert Team have developed the first therapy to eliminate HBV infected cells, resulting in clearance of the virus in pre-clinical models. The therapy has now entered clinical trials in Australia.

Watch Pellegrini and Ebert Team's finalist video.

View Pellegrini and Ebert Team's media release.

ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology

  • Associate Professor Frank Bruno, Dr Martin Belusko and Dr Steven Tay, University of South Australia

Associate Professor Frank Bruno and his team have combined a number of innovations to provide an inexpensive alternative for storing electricity to be used for cooling. These innovations include concepts such as dynamic melting, ’coil-in-tank’ and a low-cost storage medium, all of which can be integrated with renewable energy sources.

Watch Professor Bruno, Drs Belusko and Tay's finalist video.

View Professor Bruno, Drs Belusko and Tay's media release.

Macquarie University Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher

  • Associate Professor Michael Biercuk, University of Sydney

Associate Professor Michael Biercuk is internationally recognised for his outstanding contributions to one of the most exciting and impactful disciplines in modern physics: quantum science. He has built a record of transformative discoveries driving the development of a new generation of advanced technologies based on quantum physics, with important practical outcomes.

Watch Associate Professor Michael Biercuk's finalist video.

View Associate Professor Michael Biercuk's media release.

Defence Science and Technology Group Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science for Safeguarding Australia

  • Northrop Grumman M5 Network Security

The Secure Communications System developed by Northrop Grumman M5 Network Security in conjunction with the Australian Government remediates ageing secure communications capabilities. The system aims to build and overcome the challenge of extending classified networks into the mobile arena, improving usability for the end devices and maintaining secure communications.

Watch Northrop Grumman M5 Network Security's finalist video.

View Northrop Grumman M5 Network Security's media release.

Rural Research and Development Corporations Eureka Prize for Rural Innovation

  • Professor David Raftos, Macquarie University

Professor David Raftos works with the Australian oyster industry, finding solutions to increasing problems due to disease and environmental stress. Professor Raftos’ research has led to the most comprehensive understanding of disease resistance in oysters worldwide, with his team now implementing that knowledge in an innovative breeding program to produce disease-resistant, environmentally tolerant oysters.

Watch Professor Raftos' finalist video.

Watch Professor Raftos' media release.

University of New South Wales Eureka Prize for Scientific Research

  • Professor Peter Currie, Phong Nguyen, Monash University; and Dr Georgina Hollway, Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Professor Peter Currie and his team have identified, for the first time, a mechanism in the body that triggers hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) production. Unravelling the mystery of HSC generation could see it used to cure a range of blood disorders and immune diseases.

Watch Professor Currie, Phong Nguyen and Dr Hollway's finalist video.

View Professor Currie, Phong Nguyen and Dr Hollway's media release.


3M Eureka Prize for Emerging Leader in Science

  • Dr Phillip Urquijo, University of Melbourne

Driven by his passion for fundamental research, Dr Phillip Urquijo leads the international Belle II experiment’s physics program and Australian teams to discover new physics phenomena. One of the youngest leaders in this field, his work galvanises over 500 physicists and shapes one of the world’s most important collider experiments.

Watch Dr Phillip Urquijo's finalist video.

View Dr Phillip Urquijo's media release.

CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science

  • Professor Michelle Simmons, University of New South Wales

Professor Michelle Simmons' leadership and groundbreaking research program in the development of atomic scale electronics have positioned Australian researchers as world leaders in classical and quantum computing technologies in silicon. Her track record is exceptional and is the product of leading considerable multidisciplinary teams in Australia and internationally.

Watch Professor Michelle Simmons' finalist video.

View Professor Michelle Simmons' media release.

University of Technology Sydney Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers


  • Professor Marilyn Renfree AO, University of Melbourne

Over three decades, Professor Marilyn Renfree has provided inspirational supervision and long-term career mentoring for young researchers, particularly for women working in the field of life sciences. Her passion for science has a profound, positive and enduring influence on young researchers, shaping the way they conduct themselves in their own careers and in their lives. Professor Renfree is genuinely committed to training and encouraging bright young minds, and her protégés are now making significant contributions to the science community both in Australia and overseas.

Watch Professor Marilyn Renfree AO's finalist video.

View Professor Marilyn Renfree AO's media release.

Science Communication & Journalism

Department of Industry and Science Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research

  • Professor Emma Johnston, University of New South Wales

Professor Emma Johnston is a leading authority in the field of coastal ecology. Through a broad range of influential leadership, outreach and advocacy initiatives – from internationally broadcast television series to grass-roots community activities – Professor Johnston has been instrumental in promoting research and greater understanding of Australia’s fragile coastline.

Watch Professor Emma Johnston's finalist video.

View Professor Emma Johnston's media release.

Department of Industry and Science Eureka Prize for Science Journalism

  • Dr Elizabeth Finkel, Cosmos Magazine

Male and over 50? Take statins to stave off heart attacks and strokes, say health authorities in the UK and USA. It may sound like a harmless bit of medical advice but it has triggered open warfare among doctors and journalists. A Statin a Day provided a major journalistic challenge in the adjudication between different camps.
Published in Cosmos Magazine, 29 December 2014

Watch Dr Elizabeth Finkel's finalist video.

View Dr Elizabeth Finkel's media release.

New Scientist Eureka Prize for Science Photography

  • Soft Coral, Gary Cranitch, Queensland Museum

Soft corals are more diverse and widespread than hard corals, but much less is known about their overall contribution to coral reef biodiversity. About one-third of the world's soft coral species are found on the Great Barrier Reef, with our limited knowledge of these species an indication of how much we still have to learn. Through his beautiful image, Gary Cranitch highlights this true ‘indicator’ species.

Watch Gary Cranitch's finalist video.

  • Thorny-Headed Worm, Aileen Elliot, Murdoch University

Seeing amazing life forms, such as this thorny-headed worm (phylum Acanthocephala), has the power to turn a mundane day in the lab into one of sheer brilliance. While dissecting a bland peritoneal cyst from an Eel Tailed Catfish, Tandanus tropicanus, Aileen Elliot was surprised when out popped this incredible little worm. With this image, Aileen gets to share her modern day Darwinian moments of discovery with others and hopes to excite and inspire the next generation of budding parasitologists.

Watch Aileen Elliot's finalist video.

  • Saltwater Crocodile, Justin Gilligan

Exploring the coral reefs of Kimbe Bay in Papua New Guinea is like being caught in a literal time warp, where the hours pass by like fleeting moments. For Justin Gilligan, this juvenile saltwater crocodile presented the perfect opportunity for a close encounter on a glistening natural stage. When taking this stunning image, Justin focused on the raised eyes and nostrils and the camouflaged skin – all adaptions this crocodile needs to live a life both above and below the water surface.

Watch Justin Gilligan's finalist video.

View the New Scientist Eureka Prize for Photography media release.

School Science

University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize

Primary School Category

  • Cry Stoppers, Georgia (Gigi) Souyave-Murphy and Ella Woods, St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School, Qld

Detectives Gigi and Ella believe that science is about understanding our world, answering questions and definitely having fun. Their film Cry Stoppers investigates why onions make us cry and gives us some practical tips to stop the tears when confronted with this kitchen culprit!

Watch Cry Stoppers.

  • Why is Seaweed Brown? William Martin, Trinity Grammar Junior School, NSW

Excited by the result of a class project, William was inspired to make his film Why is Seaweed Brown? Using a number of experiments, William demonstrates the properties of light, how plants need to absorb light to grow and how this happens in a limited light environment, thereby uncovering the hidden green of seaweed.

Watch Why is Seaweed Brown?

View the University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize - Primary School Category media release.

Secondary School Category

  • The Secret of the Appendix, Paige Bebee, Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School, Vic

Throughout history, human understanding of the appendix has been limited to the knowledge of painful inflammation that requires urgent surgery. In The Secret of the Appendix, Paige explains that the appendix does much more than we give it credit for, and is a vital component of a healthy gut. It’s time to spread the word about this misunderstood organ.

Watch The Secret of the Appendix.

  • Why are Concussions Bad for You? Luke Cadorin-Taylor, St Aloysius' College, NSW

Luke’s creative film Why are Concussions Bad for You? explores the serious topic of sports injuries to the brain. Using claymation, Luke describes the structure and function of the brain, and explains the potential consequences of a knock to the head, which can include injury, permanent brain damage or even death.

Watch Why are Concussions Bad for You?

  • Gravity Sucks, Tom Downie and Harry Bebbington, Warrandyte High School, Vic

Tom and Harry explain gravity, what it is and what it does. Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity and Newton’s force law are explained by this talented duo, who ‘rap’ it all up in their entertaining Gravity Sucks.

Watch Gravity Sucks.

View the University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize - Secondary School Category media release.

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Vanessa Gardos , Manager, Education
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