2016 Eureka Prizes Winners

 Learn more about the 2016 winners.

Fireballs in the Sky, Curtin University

Fireballs in the Sky, Curtin University
Photographer: Getty © Australian Museum

Research & Innovation

2016 NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Eureka Prize for Environmental Research


CSIRO Marine Debris Team
The CSIRO Marine Debris Team applied integrated research to identify the sources and distribution of marine debris at a national scale around Australia's coastline. By combining field data and laboratory analyses with oceanographic and ecological modelling, the team translated scientific information into effective policy and behavioural change, combining rigorous research with citizen science, outreach to government and media engagement.

Watch the CSIRO Marine Debris finalist video.

2016 UNSW Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research


TEPO, CODES - ARC Centre of Excellence, University of Tasmania; Flinders University; Russian Academy of Science; and University of California
The Trace Elements in Past Oceans (TEPO) project is a multidisciplinary research collaboration utilising analytical chemistry, geology, palaeontology, evolutionary biology and toxicology. The project is contributing to a step change in understanding the connections between plate tectonics, past ocean chemistry and the evolution and extinction of life on Earth.

Watch the TEPO finalist video.

2016 Scopus Eureka Prize for Excellence in International Scientific Collaboration


FANTOM5, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research; The University of Melbourne; University of Queensland; Translational Research Institute; Telethon Kids Institute; and RIKEN Japan
With 260 specialists from 20 countries, including 22 Australian researchers, the FANTOM5 project is mapping the sets of genes expressed in each of our cell types. The map is being used to interpret genetic diseases and engineer new cells for therapeutic use.

Watch the FANTOM5 finalist video.

2016 Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre Eureka Prize for Infectious Diseases Research


Professor Leann Tilley, Dr Nick Klonis, Associate Professor Julie Simpson and Associate Professor James McCaw, The University of Melbourne
Malaria kills nearly half a million children each year, and the emergence of resistance to the first-line antimalarial drug, artemisinin, is looming as a major global health crisis. Professor Leann Tilley and her team have made a number of key scientific discoveries leading to insights into how artemisinin resistance may be overcome.

Watch the Tilley et al finalist video.

2016 Johnson & Johnson Eureka Prize for Innovation in Medical Research


Professor David Huang, Dr Peter Czabotar, Associate Professor Guillaume Lessene and Professor Andrew Roberts, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
The work undertaken by Professor David Huang and his team has transformed a basic Australian research discovery into a new cancer therapy approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Central to the achievement is the development of a novel class of targeted anticancer drug, the BH3 mimetic compounds.

Watch the Huang et al finalist video.

2016 ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology

Professor Ewa Goldys, Macquarie University and ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics; and Dr Martin Gosnell, Quantitative Pty Ltd
The hyperspectral imaging technology, developed by Professor Ewa Goldys and Dr Martin Gosnell, enables the colour of cells and tissues to be used as a non-invasive medical diagnostic tool. This powerful approach is easily accessible and yields translational outcomes for patients and industry.

Watch the Goldys and Gosnell finalist video.

2016 Macquarie University Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher


Dr Michael Bowen, University of Sydney
Dr Michael Bowen’s research focuses on discovering and developing novel treatments for serious brain disorders. His research has established oxytocin and novel molecules that target the brain’s oxytocin system as prime candidates to fill the void left by the lack of effective treatments for alcohol-use disorders and social disorders.

Watch Dr Michael Bowen's finalist video.

2016 Defence Science and Technology Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia


Thales Australia
Traditional light weight military vehicles are susceptible to battlefield damage from Improvised Explosive Devices and small arms fire. The innovative new Hawkei, developed by Thales, provides Australian soldiers with potentially life-saving protection against roadside bombs and other threats by combining several existing technologies to produce a novel design.

Watch Thales Australia's finalist video.

2016 UNSW Eureka Prize for Scientific Research


Kidney in a Dish, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Kidney disease affects one in 10 Australians, with kidney failure increasing at six percent per annum. Recognising the urgent need for new treatment options, Professor Melissa Little and Dr Minoru Takasato have recreated human kidney tissue from stem cells, opening the door to disease modelling, drug screening, and ultimately replacement organs.

Watch Kidney in a Dish's finalist video.


2016 3M Eureka Prize for Emerging Leader in Science


Associate Professor Sharath Sriram, RMIT University
The work of Associate Professor Sharath Sriram harnesses the functionality of materials and objects at extremely small scales. His leadership transcends science, to include team mentorship, the establishment of a $30 million research facility and national science advocacy for early- and mid-career researchers.

Watch Associate Professor Sriram's finalist video.

2016 CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science


Professor Gordon Wallace, ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, University of Wollongong
Professor Gordon Wallace is an internationally renowned researcher in the field of electromaterials science and has cultivated a research vision in the area of ‘intelligent polymers’. Through his leadership and ability to inspire, his collaborative team has pioneered the use of nanotechnology and additive fabrication in renewable energy and medical science.

Watch Professor Wallace's finalist video.

2016 University of Technology Sydney Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers


Professor Patricia Davidson, University of Technology Sydney
Professor Patricia Davidson is highly regarded amongst her peers and mentees for her generous nature and strong commitment to the development of early- and mid-career researchers. She creates an inclusive and safe learning environment for researchers to develop as scholars, and has continued to mentor and work collaboratively with many of her students once they have established their own research careers.

Watch Professor Davidson's finalist video.

Science Communication

2016 Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Eureka Prize for Innovation in Citizen Science


Fireballs in the Sky, Curtin University
Fireballs in the Sky is an innovative Australian citizen science program that connects the public with the research of the Desert Fireball Network. This research aims to understand the early workings of the solar system, and Fireballs in the Sky invites people around the world to learn about this science, contributing fireball sightings via a user-friendly app. To date, more than 23,000 people have downloaded the app world-wide and participated in planetary science.

Watch Fireballs in the Sky's finalist video.

2016 Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research


Dr Lisa Harvey-Smith, CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science
Dr Lisa Harvey-Smith is a black hole hunter and a dynamic communicator bringing astronomy and its real-world impacts to life. It is the strong engagement that Dr Harvey-Smith fosters with schools, institutions and her public audience, particularly girls and indigenous students, which sets her outreach apart.

Watch Dr Harvey's Smith's finalist video.

2016 Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Eureka Prize for Science Journalism


Wain Fimeri, Sonya Pemberton, Dr Derek Muller and Steve Westh
Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail is an Australian made series, an epic journey through nine countries and more than a century of stories, to discover the element that shaped the modern world. Join physicist Dr Derek Muller as he reveals the story of the most wondrous and terrifying rock on Earth.
Produced by Genepool Productions. Broadcast on SBS, 9, 16 and 23 August 2015

Watch Fimeri, Pemberton, Muller and Westh's finalist video.

School Science

2016 University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize
Primary School Category


Hayden Ingle, Year 6, Banksmeadow Public School, NSW
Hayden was inspired to create his film after discovering a glaucus atlanticus on the beach, and wondering what it was and what it ate. In The Bluebottle and the Glaucus, Hayden uses some of his own underwater footage to share his love and experience of the ocean with the viewer.

Watch The Bluebottle and the Glaucus.


Rosanna Cartwright and Elli Rugg, Year 5, Santa Sabina College, NSW
Seeing Red tests the theory that wearing red might give a competitive edge. In the film, Rosanna and Elli explain how the eyes and brain work together to see colour and take to their local swimming pool with red-lensed goggles to test out their hypothesis.

Watch Seeing Red.

2016 University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize
Secondary School Category


Claire Galvin and Anna Hardy, Year 10, St Monica’s College Cairns, Qld
Owl Pellets: A Postal System to Scientists is an investigation of the Barn Owl’s adaptations, features and the formation of owl pellets. Claire and Anna explain how these owl pellets are used by scientists to gather data for conservation efforts, animal population studies and ecosystem monitoring.

Watch Owl Pellets: A Postal System to Scientists.


Tom Downie and Harry Bebbington, Warrandyte High School, Vic
In No Place for Race, Year 11, Tom and Harry explore how and where our ape-like ancestors developed into one species – Homo sapiens – through creation myths, fossils, dating methods, evolution and the migration of hominids. They also explain why the concept of race is irrelevant.

Watch No Place for Race.


Meg Paterson, Year 9, The Scots School Albury, NSW
Taking inspiration from the old wives’ tale ‘You’ll catch your death of cold’, Meg’s film Sniffles, explains why we have created such a strong association with catching a cold, and being cold.

Watch Sniffles.

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Kate Smith
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