PhD Candidate awarded prestigious ATSE scholarship

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

University of Newcastle PhD candidate Hayden Robertson has been awarded the Ezio Rizzardo Polymer Scholarship from ATSE (Australian Academy of Technology & Engineering).

Image Hayden Robertson

Presented at a ceremony on June 10, this nationally prestigious award recognises Australian excellence in polymer research innovation and technology.

The Ezio Rizzardo Polymer Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding PhD candidate in polymer science or Engineering.

Hayden is a PhD candidate in the Discipline of Chemistry at the University of Newcastle who is exploring responsive polymers, and how they can be used for a range of purposes such as targeted drug delivery, protecting boat hulls from barnacles and other hitchhikers, or to coat artificial implants (such as hip replacements) to prevent infection.

Working under the supervision of Professors Erica Wanless and Grant Webber, Hayden aims to use fundamental science to solve real-world problems. “I’m really focussed on the fundamental science as a whole. It’s pretty cool doing something that nobody’s done before.”

Professor Wanless is renowned for her commitment to collaborating with her research higher degree students. “Science is collaborative, and Hayden is a wonderful member of our research team which includes colleagues from ANSTO and several other universities” Professor Wanless notes. “It’s so exciting to see Hayden’s hard work rewarded with this prestigious award that will allow him to continue his research in this field.”

Professor Webber, whose research spans the interface from polymer fundamentals to applications, said that "Hayden is developing new methods for studying and analysing polymer systems which will have appeal to researchers across a broad range of science and engineering disciplines."

Due to COVID restrictions, this year’s awards featured simultaneous viewing parties around the country. Hayden attended the ceremony in Sydney at the QVB, where his research was beamed around to the Academy and guests.

“It is a real honour to receive this accolade, and it’s absolutely incredible to be recognised in this way”, Hayden said.

This scholarship will enable Hayden to continue to unravel the mysteries of polymers and hopefully provide a valued solution that will ultimately benefit communities across Australia, and the world.

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