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Premier Mark McGowan has announced the finalists in the 2017 Premier’s Science Awards.

The finalists have contributed to better treatments for cancer and other diseases, biodiversity preservation, advancements in the mineral and energy sectors, and discoveries about the origins of life on Earth and the beginnings of the universe.

Among them, nominated in the category of ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year, are two ICRAR PhD candidates from Curtin University and The University of Western Australia.

Ryan UrquhartRyanUrquhart

Ryan’s research focuses on how black holes consume matter—by combining observations from across the electromagnetic spectrum, he has achieved insights into the Universe’s most rapidly feeding black holes.

Ryan has discovered new black holes in nearby galaxies and his work has changed how astronomers view these sources. Studying these objects helps further understanding of how the first super-massive black holes that reside at the centres of galaxies evolved to shape the Universe we see today.

Ryan is also actively involved with scientific outreach within WA, regularly engaging with primary and high school students and mentoring undergraduate students.


David Gozzarddavidgozzard

David is completing a PhD in experimental physics, developing stabilised transmission systems to send atomic clock signals over long distances with improved precision. This research has direct application to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project and the Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space (ACES) mission.

David’s research has required significant collaboration with major national and international research organisations. He has had success at numerous national and international science competitions and devotes considerable efforts to science outreach.

David also promotes science to school and university students through presentations, demonstrations and social media, as well as through direct involvement with the Perth Astrofest and the Gravity Discovery Centre.

“These awards recognise the outstanding work of our local science community, both in research and engaging the community with science, and the people behind that work,” said WA’s Premier, the Hon Mark McGowan MLA.

“The finalists in this year’s Premier’s Science Awards boast an impressive range of achievements and are exemplars for the community and others in the science field,” he said.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on August 14, 2017, during National Science Week, Australia’s biggest annual celebration of science.

For more information, visit http://www.jtsi.wa.gov.au/what-we-do/science-and-innovation/science-award-programs/premier’s-science-awards/2017-finalists