The University of Newcastle, Australia

Third UON Laureate Professor named NSW Scientist of the Year

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Eminent University of Newcastle (UON) geotechnicalengineer, Laureate Professor Scott Sloan, has been named the 2015 New South Wales' Scientist of the Year this evening at the inaugural NSW Premier's Prizes for Science and Engineering.

Laureate Professor Sloan is the third UON researcher to receive the top honour in the last four years of the award's eight-year history.

Chemical engineer and inventor of the Jameson Cell Laureate Professor Graeme Jameson AO was awarded the title in 2013 and leading global authority on reproductive biology Laureate Professor John Aitken won in 2012.

UON's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen, said this is a tremendous achievement for Laureate Professor Sloan and a very proud trifecta for UON, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a young, vibrant research-intensive university.

Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President - Global Engagement and Partnerships, Associate Professor Kevin Hall, said "This prestigious achievement is a testament to the strength of research and innovation across the University."

"We are immensely proud of our world-class researchers and the translation of their work into internationally-significant innovations with local and global impact. Scott is a global leader in his field of geotechnical engineering and I am delighted his achievements have been recognised through such an outstanding peer award."

This has been an outstanding year of accomplishment for Professor Sloan who was also elected as a fellow to The Royal Society earlier this year, a fellowship of the world's most eminent scientific minds, and last month he was elected as one of only three International Fellows to the Royal Academy of Engineering for 2015.

Laureate Professor Sloan, who leads the Centre of Excellence for Geotechnical Science and Engineering at UON, is a pioneer of new methods that enable engineers to predict the collapse states of geostructures such as tunnels, dams, highways and foundations. These methods have delivered a new tool for engineers to design cheaper and safer civil infrastructure across the globe.

Laureate Professor Scott Sloan said he was thrilled at the news and highlighted it was a reflection of the quality of the research work in geotechnical engineering that has been achieved at UON over the past 30 years.

"Being named NSW Scientist of the Year continues a great year of acknowledgment of my career and research. It also acknowledges the great geotechnical team at Newcastle, who leads the world in its field and is home to a number of outstanding researchers of all ages," Laureate Professor Sloan said.

Premier Mike Baird congratulated Professor Sloan and said the benefits of his work would reverberate across the world.

"His research is being used widely in the construction of a range of infrastructure, including roads, railway lines, tunnels, building foundations, dams, port facilities, pipelines, mining operations, as well as offshore oil and gas facilities.

"Our State is in the midst of a multi-billion dollar infrastructure boom with a number of major projects currently underway – and Professor Sloan's research will result in those projects being completed more safely and more cost effectively," he said.

UON Emeritus Professor John Patrick in Biological Sciences also won the category for Excellence in Biological Sciences (Ecology, environmental, agricultural, organismal) at the awards.

Professor Patrick is recognised for his theoretical and experimental advances in the regulation of nutrient transport and partitioning in plants.

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